Juneau-Douglas received three touchdowns from Demetrius Campos in notching a 42-15 victory over Kenai Central on Saturday in the First National Bowl medium-schools semifinal at Dimond Alumni Field in Anchorage.
Campos had touchdown runs of 80 and 46 yards in rushing 20 times for 208 yards, and added an 85-yard kickoff return, for the Crimson Bears, who move on to face Soldotna for the medium-schools title Saturday at noon at Anchorage Football Stadium. Juneau will be looking to add a medium-schools crown to large-schools crowns won in 2005 and 2007.
The Kardinals, winners of five small-schools titles and a medium-schools title, were able to keep the game close early.
“We came out with a good game plan, we put the kids in position to make plays and obviously they have some speed and they have some good football players,” Kenai assistant coach Jim Beeson said. “They have athletes.”
Kenai took half of the first quarter on its first drive, but had to punt and Juneau took over at its 20.
On the first play from scrimmage, Campos took a direct snap and bolted 80 yards. Eric Nordgren ran in the conversion for an 8-0 lead.
After both teams exchanged punts, Kenai fumbled on its next drive due to a missed handoff exchange and Hunter Hickock recovered for Juneau.
However, the Crimson Bears returned the favor and Zack Koziczkowski recovered for Kenai on the Juneau 19.
The Kardinals got to the 3-yard line on a diving catch by Jace Daniels on a desperation pass from quarterback TJ Wagoner.
Daniels, who had 43 rushes for 160 yards, then scored a 1-yard touchdown. The conversion failed for a 8-6 score with 5:24 left in the second quarter.
“We were trying to control the clock, work it to our advantage in the first half,” Beeson said. “It was 8-6 for a long time and we were right there.”
On the next drive, the Kards had the Bears at 4th and 5, but Kenai jumped offside. Nordgren then scored on a fake punt, taking a pass from Adam Empson 44 yards for a 14-6 lead at the half.
Juneau continued to win the special-teams game on the opening play of the second half, when Campos returned the kick 85 yards for the score and a 22-6 lead. He had returned four kicks for touchdowns in the regular season.
“You take out the first offensive play, the fake punt and the kickoff return, I mean we made them work for everything,” Beeson said. “That’s the thing we take pride in.”
However, Kenai came right back, with Daniels returning the kick to the Juneau 49. Chase Logan scored on a 2-yard run with 8:21 left in the third to cut the gap to 22-13.
“We responded, we kept coming back and playing hard,” Beeson said. “For three quarters it was a pretty competitive football game. I mean, they scored a touchdown and we got the football back and drove right back down the field and scored.”
On the ensuing drive, the Kards had the Bears facing 3rd-and-20, but a horse-collar tackle extended the drive. Empson would cap the drive with an 18-yard catch from quarterback Dorian Isaak.
Kenai’s offense would not score the rest of the game, while the Bears score on runs from Campos and Nordgren.
Kenai’s final points of the game came when Nordgren fielded a punt deep in his territory, and was tackled in the end zone by Kyle Hunter for a safety.
“Of course, we’re happy we made the playoffs but our ultimate goal was to be playing next weekend, and we’re never happy with losing, but we are happy to get here,” Beeson said. “This is a positive thing for this group of kids and we’ve got a good group coming back next year.”
Crimson Bears 42, Kardinals 15
Kenai 0 6 7 2 —15
Juneau 8 6 14 14 —42
Juneau — Campos 80 run (Nordgren run), 5:43.
Kenai — Daniels 1 run (run failed), 5:24.
Juneau — Nordgren 44 pass from Empson (kick failed), 1:38
Juneau — Campos 85 kickoff return (Campos run), 11:48.
Kenai – Logan 2 run (Scarlett kick), 8:21.
Juneau – Empson 17 pass from Isaak (kick failed), 4:07.
Juneau — Campos 46 run (Maake kick), 11:51.
Kenai – Nordgren tackled in end zone by Hunter, 10:33.
Juneau – Nordgren 23 run (Maake kick), 5:51.
First downs 15 13
Rushes-yards 55-198 28-271
Passing yards 45 104
Return yards 89 144
Passes 4-11-0 6-14-0
Punts 6-34.2 1-37.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-35 11-70
RUSHING — Kenai: Daniels 43-160, Wagoner 6-29, Logan 6-9. Juneau: Campos 20-208, Nordgren 8-63.
PASSING — Kenai: Wagoner 4-11-0—45. Juneau: Isaak 5-13-0—60, Empson 1-1-0—44.
RECEIVING — Kenai: Logan 1-19, Van De Grift 1-15, Daniels 1-11, Baker 1-(-1). Juneau: Hill 3-40, Nordgren 1-44, Empson 1-17, Campos 1-9.