It was almost a year to the day that Silver Maake saw his freshman campaign succumb to a broken leg.
Calling his return to the site of that season-ending injury — Lathrop Football Stadium — triumphant would be an understatement.
The Juneau-Douglas sophomore was simply golden Saturday, racking up 178 yards, including a game-changing 64-yard run, as the Crimson Bears (2-0 overall, 1-0 Railbelt Conference) dominated the second half to down the Malemutes 44-6.
In two games this season Silver Ma'ake has racked up 364 yards on 27 carries with six touchdowns.
“I knew this was going to come up,” the soft-spoken back said of the injury. “It wasn’t on my mind. I was just focused on running.”
With the Crimson Bears breaking in a new quarterback in Bubba Larson, the Malemutes (0-2, 0-1) had their focus on Maake — to little avail.
“That was just execution. He’s running off tackle — we know where he’s going to run. Juneau doesn’t run any reverse, you didn’t see reverses tonight, trickery like that,” Lathrop coach Pat Romans said. “They just execute well and we don’t on certain areas. … When we don’t do that right, it’s very apparent because he’s off for 40, 50 (yards).”
Maake’s biggest run came midway through the second quarter.
With the Malemutes holding a 6-3 lead after quarterback Freddy Richard’s 39-yard strike to an uncovered Matt Sparks, Maake took a handoff off tackle to the left side before cutting back towards the middle of the field and turning on the jets, outsprinting fleet-footed Malemutes AJ Allen and Kenny Lewis for the 64-yard score.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete. Last year he had a broken leg and this preseason he’s been in and out of good moods because he’s been so anxious to play some good football,” Juneau coach Bill Chalmers said. “It was really good to see him, the first play he touched the ball against Kodiak, he went 79 yards. That gave us a feeling he might be what we were looking for, and he is. He’s fast and he’s smart and he’s extremely strong.”