This past week saw sensational individual and team performances across the Alaska sports landscape at both the prep and collegiate level. On the high school football front, Juneau stayed undefeated with a statement win over an out-of-state opponent, while Colony ran past Palmer, cruising to a win over its rival. The University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball team carried over its hot start to the season into conference play with a pair of sweeps, the second of which featured a record-breaking outing by their senior sensation.
Headlines and highlights
A week after North Creek High flew up to the Last Frontier from the state of Washington and returned victorious with a commanding 41-16 win over Bettye Davis East High, Juneau prevented West Valley High of Yakima, Washington, from doing the same in the state capital. The Huskies and Rams played a tightly contested game in which neither team led by more than a touchdown. The home team managed to come away with a 21-14 victory despite not having star running back Jamal Johnson to finish the game due to a leg injury. The triumph extend their winning streak and keeps their record unblemished at 5-0 with a Cook Inlet Conference matchup with winless South Anchorage up next.
The West High Eagles shut out and ran all over the Dimond Lynx in a 22-0 win on Friday night. Junior Mason Tanoa made big plays on both sides of the ball with a pair of rushing touchdowns on offense and an interception on defense.
The Bartlett Golden Bears dominated the Service Cougars in a 62-26 win on Saturday afternoon in which they spread the love on offense and didn’t have a single player score more than one touchdown, according to head coach Chance Matsuoka.
At the same time across town, the East High Thunderbirds had a pair of upperclassmen step up and propel them to a 20-12 victory over the South High Wolverines. With their starting quarterback out with an injury, the defending Division I state champions turned to junior Austin Johnson to take his place. Johnson, a converted wide receiver, connected with senior and fellow receiver Deshawn Rushmeyer for a pair of touchdowns, one in each half.
Lathrop stayed on top of the ASBN poll for Divisions II and III in football for the fifth week in a row with Soldotna hot on the trail. At 5-0, the Malemutes are one of three unbeaten teams in the poll, along with the 5-0 Stars and Houston at 4-0. Homer (4-1) and Eagle River (3-2) round out the top 5.
Colony stayed in the top 5 of the most recent poll with a dominant 55-3 win over Palmer. The running game carried the day for the Knights as Evan Hernandez rushed for 133 yards and two scores, while quarterback Jack Nash added 95 yards and two TDs on the ground.
On the flag football front, South handed Dimond its first loss of the season in a 21-19 victory. Service, which upset South the week prior, continued to stay hot by shutting out both Eagle River and Bartlett with a combined point differential of 72-0. Starting quarterback Geta Helgeson threw for 210 passing yards and four touchdowns in the team’s 52-0 win over the Wolves.
Dimond girls swimmer Maizy Kass finished first in the girls 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard IM and also helped the Lynx 200-yard freestyle relay team finish first in a victorious dual meet with Bartlett.
The UAA volleyball team got its first taste of Great Northwestern Athletic Conference action this past week and swept both Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon 3-0. The most impressive feat of the two-game homestand wasn’t handing the previously undefeated Saints their first loss of the season on Thursday night. It occurred Saturday night when star senior outside hitter Eve Stephens broke the conference record for career kills by leading the team with nine to bring her total to 1,630. The previous record was 1,628 which was reached by former Western Washington star Abby Phelps who played in the GNAC from 2015-18.
The first ever Diaper Dash 5K took place Saturday where participants walked and ran in the event hosted by the Alaska Adoption Services to help raise awareness for the Community Diaper Pantry. Legendary Alaskan endurance athlete Scott Patterson of Anchorage came in first in the men’s division by more than three minutes with a mark of 16 minutes, 31 seconds. Carlee Merriner of Anchorage finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Marcie Stavich with a time of 25:03 to win the women’s race.
The second annual Scotty Gomez 5K Run down on the Ship Creek Trail was held the same day and was also for a good cause. The Scotty Gomez Foundation uses this run and other events to raise funds to make hockey more affordable for underprivileged youth in Alaska. Lawson Sims of Anchorage finished over two minutes ahead of the second-place finisher with a time of 17:03 for the top male and overall mark. Hallidie Phillips finished 63 seconds faster than Tori Hickel to come in first in the women’s division with a time of 21:34 seconds.
Last Week’s Results
Eagle River 42, West Valley 7
North Pole 60, Eielson7
West Anchorage 22, Dimond 0
Soldotna 55, Chugiak 21
Juneau 21, West Valley (Washington) 14
Homer 52, Redington 12
Colony 55, Palmer 3
East 20, South 12
Bartlett 62, Service 26
Houston 44, Barrow 0
North Pole JV 33, Seward 18
Bartlett 12, Chugiak 0
South 21, Dimond 19
Service 52, Eagle River 0
West 26, East 20
Service 20, Bartlett
Chugiak 25, Eagle River 7
South 22, East 8
Dimond 27, West 0
South 5, Bartlett 3
Dimond 8, Eagle River 1
West 9, Chugiak 0
West 9, Dimond 0
Service 8, Chugiak 1
Dimond vs. Bartlett
Dimond, 135 Bartlett, 19
Dimond 135 Bartlett, 6
Eagle River vs. South
South 56, Eagle River 39
Eagle River 61, South 31
Dimond 3, Bartlett 0 (25-6, 25-13, 25-14)
Chugiak 3, South 2 (25-20, 25-23, 25-16, 25-23, 15-11)
West 3, South 1 (25-16, 25-23, 15-25, 26-24)
Service 3, Chugiak 0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-12)
UAA 3, Saint Martin’s 0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-23)
UAA 3, Western Oregon 0 (25-21, 25-11, 25-18)
Three things to watch for this week
Two top five showdowns
Colony at Bartlett, 7 p.m. Friday
On paper, this matchup between the No. 2 ranked Golden Bears and the No. 3 ranked Knights looks to be the best game of the entire weekend. Both teams have one loss on their record as each fell to top-ranked Juneau by double-digits earlier in the season. Each of them are coming off commanding victories and will be looking to keep their momentum going down the final stretch of the season. Bartlett bounced Colony from the playoffs in the quarterfinals last year in a 32-19 victory before being dispatched by eventual runner-up Juneau in the semifinal round.
West at East, 3 p.m. Saturday
The defending state champion Thunderbirds made their return to the ASBN polls this week at No. 5 after snapping a three-game losing streak and will host their crosstown rivals who remain in the fourth spot coming off their second straight win. This is another regular season rematch of last year’s semifinal playoff showdown that went into overtime and ended in a 34-32 win for East.
Dimond at Service, 5 p.m. Friday
Family and friends of both schools will be treated to a football double feature as their varsity football and flag football teams will play games in succession on the Cougars home turf. Flag football will get it kicked off with the second meeting of the two teams this season, and the home team will be looking to split the season series after dropping the first matchup 34-6 on Aug. 23.