The pecking order at the top of Alaska’s Division I level of high school football became abundantly more clear Friday when Bartlett steamrolled Colony 46-7 to claim its fourth straight win.
The Golden Bears and Knights came into the highly anticipated matchup with records that mirrored each other. Each team had just one loss to top-ranked Juneau.
Bartlett, ranked No. 2, put together a complete performance in the win over No. 3 Colony.
“We run hard, our defense is good and we’re fun to watch and fun to coach,” Bartlett coach Chance Matsuoka said.
On Bartlett’s homecoming night, the home team asserted its will and dominated on both sides of the ball.
“It means a lot,” Bartlett senior Zuriel Guzman said. “All my years of high school, I never beat them in a regular-season game, so to be able to do it in the regular season, homecoming, and senior year means everything.”
While the team fell short of matching its gaudy 62-point performance from the week before, Bartlett still spread the love on offense and nearly outscored its opponent by 40 points for a second week in a row. The Golden Bears had five different players reach the end zone but unlike last week, they had had a pair of seniors score more than once.
James Siaosi scored the first points of the game on a two-yard run and ran in the team’s fifth touchdown from 15 yards out. Guzman crossed the goal line twice as well with his first being from three yards out and his second on an eight-yarder. He nearly had a hat trick on what would’ve been the longest run of the night but his 50-yard touchdown got called back due to a holding penalty.
“Once those first few plays opened up and we saw what was good and what wasn’t there, we just kept rolling with it,” Guzman said. “It got to the point where even our second and third (string players) were just as good as our first. That’s how we like to do it here at Bartlett.”
The other Golden Bears that scored were senior Carl Colavecchio on a one-yard quarterback sneak, sophomore Makisi Poleo on a 46-yard burst up the middle, and junior Manu Satele for the final score of the game on a five-yard rumble.
“Some of the plays that worked the last two games didn’t work this game, and we had to adjust and find something that works,” Matsuoka said. “I don’t have to worry about egos when I’m calling plays.”
Bartlett’s defense continued to prove it’s one of the best and stingiest in the state. Outside of the occasional solid gain, Bartlett bottled up Jack Nash, the Knight’s dynamic dual-threat quarterback.
“It starts with our (defensive) line every time putting that pressuring on (Nash), because he’s a great quarterback,” Guzman said. “(Without) putting that pressure on him, it’s not going to happen.”
Their defensive front harassed Nash and came away with three turnovers, which included a pair of interceptions and fumble recovery.
Colony’s only points came in the first half and kept the Knights within striking distance when Nash connected with his favorite target, junior wide receiver Jayce Underwood for a 14-yard touchdown with just under six minutes left in the second quarter.
“It was a battle all game,” Matsuoka said. “I think the scoreboard lies a little bit. I felt like we were on the ropes for the first half. Colony always puts together a good team and always plays us hard.”
Given both teams fell to top-ranked Juneau by double digits earlier in the season, Guzman said many people questioned whether the Golden Bears deserved to be ranked ahead of the Knights.
“Today, we proved all those questions wrong,” Guzman said. “We showed them that we’re the better team and no matter what’s happening in the game or off the field, we’re going to face adversity and come out on top.”