Weekend Preview: Falcons host Kayhi football, volleyball starts with away games


TMHS (2-1), Ketchikan (2-1)

Both the Falcons (2-1) and the Kings (2-1) suit up tonight at the Thunderdome in an attempt to overcome tough losses. Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan face off at 7 p.m. in the first conference game of the season for TMHS.

Kenai served the Falcons their first loss last week, bringing a ground-and-pound game that wore Thunder Mountain’s defense to a nub. Without the ball for much of the game, TMHS went scoreless for three quarters, losing

Ketchikan attempted to make history in a home game against Juneau-Douglas High School last week, which would have been their program’s first win over the Crimson Bears, but the Kings couldn’t break the mold fell by a field goal 22-25 in an overtime heartbreaker.

After the loss to Kenai, Thunder Mountain fell in the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network polls. After previously being ranked second in the state to powerhouse Soldotna, the Falcons fell out of the top five for the first time this season.

TMHS coach Randy Quinto has been playing his cards close to his chest so far this season, opting to reserve portions of their playbook for important division matchups in an effort to make it back to the state tournament. If Ketchikan forces Quinto’s hand, the Falcons may open the playbook up in their first division game.

“There’s still stuff we need to save for our conference games coming up,” Quinto said after the loss to Kenai. “We’ll be there, these guys are hungry and we’ll get back on track.”

The Falcons started their season with two blowout wins over JDHS and Nikiski and will look to reestablish their confidence by notching their first conference victory. Ketchikan has shown an ability to score in bunches, putting up 34 points in their opener at Seward High School and 58 in a home game against Redington High School.

The Thunder Mountain-Ketchikan game will be live streamed at the Empire online starting at kickoff. A full game story will appear in Sunday’s paper.


JDHS (1-2) Homer (0-3)

JDHS spent the week “resting and recovering,” in the runup to a Saturday game at Homer, according to coach Kevin Hamrick. The Crimson Bears are coming off a victorious battle of attrition at Ketchikan last week, a four possession overtime game in which JDHS upheld their undefeated all-time record against the Kings by a field goal.

The Crimson Bears will travel with 22 healthy players out of their 27-man roster. Some of the Crimson Bears, including Hamrick, will battle through a sickness acquired during the ferry ride back from Ketchikan.

“We only had 16 guys in full gear yesterday. … Some of the kids wanted to do tackling drills, but I had to say no because of our numbers,” Hamrick said. “They sometimes don’t realize the importance of having guys on the field for gameday.”

The win in Ketchikan was a big boost for the Crimson Bears program, who are looking to even their record at 2-2 despite injuries and low roster numbers this year.

“Wins make everybody believe in what you’re doing,” Hamrick said.

Coverage of JDHS’ game against Homer will be online and in the Tuesday paper.


Cross country: JDHS, TMHS test new course in Petersburg

JDHS cross country is coming off a breakout showing at their first meet in Ketchikan last week and will attempt to sustain their success on a new course at the Petersburg Invitational this Saturday.

Two freshmen girls finished in the top three for the Crimson Bears at the Ketchikan invitational with all seven of their varsity girls making the top ten.

With a time of 19 minutes, 55.97 seconds, freshman Sadie Tuckwood took the Kayhi meet for the JDHS girls, who finished first as a team. Another Freshman, Anna Iverson, placed third with 20:49.34.

“For a first run of the season, that time was OK,” Tuckwood said. “It’s not my best, but I am happy with it.”

The Crimson Bears boys, led by a second place finish by sophomore Arne Ellefson-Carnes, took second as a team in Ketchikan.

TMHS junior Erin Wallace led the Falcons girls to a second place team finish with a time of 20:02.83 while the Falcons boys took third as a team, thanks to a fifth place finish from junior Jonah Penrose and an eighth place finish from senior Justin Sleppy.

At this weekend’s race, the Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain girls contend with one another and a surging Petersburg team. The Petersburg girls finished third last week, only one point behind Thunder Mountain at 62 to 63 (cross country is scored similarly to golf with lower scores being better than high scores; first place nets one point, second place nets two, etc).

The TMHS and JDHS boys will chase reigning state champions Sitka, who placed first at the Ketchikan Invitational, while

“Sitka has a lot of top-end athletes and probably has a state winning team this year,” Ellefson-Carnes said. “We’re working on getting our fifth and sixth or fourth and fifth runners ahead of a Thunder Mountain pack. If we can do that, we can win regions.”

The new course at Petersburg features a lot of ups and downs, according to JDHS coach Merry Ellefson, a course she describes as a “true cross country course.”

Results will be available online and in the Tuesday paper.

Volleyball TMHS (0-0), Sitka (0-0); JDHS (0-0), Ketchikan (0-0)

Both of Juneau’s prep volleyball teams start their seasons away this weekend with Juneau-Douglas heading to Ketchikan and Thunder Mountain to Sitka. Matches are best of five.

Sitka is in the 3A designation and TMHS’ games against the Wolves will not count towards Southeast standings. JDHS, which beat Ketchikan twice in a preseason jamboree, will look to establish a positive Southeast Region V standings with their Saturday games against the Kings.

JDHS lost several key starters to graduation but has a strong junior class with the varsity experience. TMHS split two close games with JDHS at the jamboree and also shut Ketchikan out. The Falcons are looking to capture their first state tournament berth this year.

Region V consists of Ketchikan, Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas. Coaches and players expect the battle for the Southeast’s lone state tournament berth to be contentious this year.

Volleyball coverage will be available online and in the Tuesday paper.

• Contact Sports and Outdoors reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or kevin.gullufsen@juneauempire.com.

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