Chugiak and Eagle River football teams suffer big losses
With a first week of the season against non-conference foes, Eagle River and Chugiak varsity football teams were dealt a harsh welcome to members of their Cook Inlet Conference ranks, losing by a combined 144-12 Saturday.
More specifically, Eagle River lost to Service, 72-0, in action at the Anchorage Football Stadium, while host Chugiak lost to early-season favorite South Anchorage, 52-12.
Chugiak coach Roger Spackman had nothing but praise for the loaded Wolverine squad.
“We were outsized by them. They have a lot of good players,” said the coach Sunday as he reflected on the game.
The Mustangs did not help themselves much, fumbling the ball seven times, losing three of them, to thwart several drives.
“We only lost three fumbles,” said Spackman, with a bit of astonishment in his voice. “I thought it was five. It felt like five fumbles.”
The game did have some high points and some low, none lower than late in the second quarter, when the Mustangs took possession on the 1-yard line, yet failed to score, even with a field goal.
“That was a killer. We missed a golden opportunity to get back into the game,” Spackman lamented.
Still play picked up for the Mustangs in the second half, compete with two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter.
Spackman noted the rushing of junior running back Kenny Lee (7 carries, 39 yards), the receptions of freshman receiver Derryk Snell (4 catches, 72 yards) and overall performance from junior QB Ben Stewart (5-of-16 completions, no interceptions, 85 yards passing).
“There were times that Ben was back their scrambling for his life,” said the coach of the juniors’ 13 carries for a minus 24 yards. “He showed a lot of composure by not just throwing the ball up for grabs when he was under pressure.”
Spackman said the game revealed some deficiencies in the team. “We struggled with some bad snaps and some timing issues,” he added.
The coach said the team needs to focus on the basics, and get better at each position as they prepare for Bartlett this coming weekend.
Eagle River High coach Matt Turner just needs his team better, physically, following a second straight week where a player has sustained a concussion.
In week one, running back and linebacker Leroy Banks suffered a concussion, thereby missing the Service game. His re-evaluation takes place Wednesday, with Turner hopeful of a quick return to lineup, perhaps for Thursday’s game against East Anchorage.
Against Service, junior defensive end and offensive tackle Dylan Smith took a helmet to the back of his head and was tended to for 20 minutes prior to being taken off the field on a stretcher by medical staff. And that was only five minutes into the game.
Turner said that while the young Wolves, with eight seniors, four juniors, 11 sophomores and one freshman on the roster, came fired up for the game and the injury to fallen teammate exacted an emotionally toll.
“We lost all our fire, all drive after that,” he said, unsure as to the player’s return.
Three interceptions, each returned for touchdown, did much to contribute to the score.
Turner praised the play of senior John Wilson on both sides of the ball, as running back, and linebacker. Junior punter Jeremiah Clarke was called upon often, averaging 44.8 yards on eight punts.
Prior to the varsity game, Eagle River suited 24 players for the JV game, also against Service, and lost 50-0.
“We have all freshman and sophomores on that team, with one junior,” said Turner.
The coach said the team has a short week of practice this week as they ready themselves to take on East Anchorage on Thursday.
“We look forward to playing them,” said Turner.