Jack Nash has grown up around the Colony High School football program.
His older brothers, Kody and Dawson, both played for Colony, and Kody is now an assistant coach. His dad, Robbie, spent time as an assistant, and has been the head coach of the program for the past four years..
Colony football has been a big part of Jack Nash’s life.
Now a junior, Nash helped Colony make school history.
The star quarterback scored on a 10-yard yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in regulation to help the Knights score a 14-7 win over Juneau and win the program’s first state football title during the ASAA/First National Bowl Division I state football championships Oct. 21 at Service High School in Anchorage.
“I’m in awe right now,” Nash said. “This is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid watching my brothers play under the Friday night lights. I’m honored to lead Colony to its first ever state championship.”
The Knights — Nash and fellow junior Cole Hamilton in particular — enjoyed a big fourth quarter. Nash’s touchdown capped a 10-play, 77-yard game winning drive that included a pair of receptions by Hamilton.
Hamilton also had a tip for Nash as the Knights held the ball at the 10-yard line.
“I’ve got to give props to Cole Hamilton. He said that (he) can pick up this dude on the left side. That’s what we did. I just followed him. It was wide open,” Nash said.
Colony head coach Robbie Nash praised his team’s improved communication.
“The communication they have on the field is incredible,” the fourth-year head coach said.
It was also Hamilton who helped set up Colony’s game-winning drive. With Juneau facing fourth down on Colony’s 20-yard line, Hamilton sacked Juneau quarterback with 3:30 left in the fourth.
“He’s incredible,” Robbie Nash said of Hamilton. “He’s like the utility player of the year for us. The kid never complains. He’s a team player. Cole Hamilton will do anything the coaches need.”
Juneau entered the game averaging 34 points per game, and had outscored opponents 91-27 during the first round of the playoffs. Colony entered the game averaging 33 points per game, and outscored its first two playoff opponents 96-67.
But the two teams with staggering offensive numbers were locked in a defensive battle.
“I knew it was going to be a dogfight. Juneau is a very hard team to stop,” Jack Nash said.
The Juneau offense, and its run-heavy attack, finished with 237 yards on the ground. Senior Jamal Johnson led the Huskies with 157 yards and an 11-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Colony finished with 218 yards on the ground and 358 yards of total offense. Jack Nash rushed for 150 yards and threw for another 140.
The Knights had another big scoring play, Nash’s 49-yard strike to junior Jayce Underwood in the first quarter. But the Knights grinded it out on the ground with 44 rushing attempts.
“We did what we had to do,” Robbie Nash said.
Robbie Nash said a difference came in the trenches, praising a group he calls his “warhorses.”
“My linemen on the offensive and defensive side. They’re the selfless heroes,” Robbie Nash said. “Those kids do exactly what we ask them to do.”
Nash said overall effort was also a difference-maker.
“These kids, they never give up,” Nash said. “They fight for each other to the end. That made the difference.”
Friday marked Colony’s third trip to an Alaska state title game, and first in 16 years. Dimond beat the Knights in 2000 and South Anchorage got past Colony in 2006.
Colony became only the second Mat-Su team to win a large-schools Alaska state football championship in 27. Palmer beat Chugiak in the 1995 state title game when football was a single classification sport in the state. Houston (2019) and Redington (2021) have won Division III state football titles.
With the win, Colony also rebounded from a 42-13 loss to the Huskies midway through the regular season.
“I knew we got a lot better from the last time we played them,” Underwood said. “I’m proud of my team for sticking through it the whole game.”
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.