Chugiak blasts Wasilla to set up clash with Colony
Flashing brilliance from beginning to end, Chugiak remained undefeated with a dominant 42-6 Railbelt Conference football victory over Wasilla on an explosive night Veterans Memorial Field in Wasilla.
Now the real fireworks begin.
“We need to bring this energy into Colony,” said Chugiak’s Derryk Snell, who scored four touchdowns Saturday night to help spoil Wasilla’s homecoming.
Seconds after the final whistle, teams and fans were treated to an impressive fireworks display that lit up the cloudy skies above the stadium in downtown Wasilla.
The victory set up a Thursday, Sept. 28 showdown for the Railbelt championship against the Knights, who like the Mustangs are 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the RBC.
With a short week to prepare for the game, Chugiak quarterback Hunter Harr said the Mustangs will have to spend a lot of time in the film room in the days leading up to the game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
“We’re going to have to study them up a lot this week,” said Harr, who was 8-for-13 with two touchdown passes in Saturday night’s romp.
The Mustangs — who entered the game ranked No. 1 in the statewide Division I media poll — used a nearly unstoppable offense and stifling defense to roll the Warriors from the get-go Saturday. Chugiak racked up 327 yards of offense while holding Wasilla to just 126 total yards and seven first downs.
Snell said the Mustangs’ high-flying offense gets the headlines, but it’s the defense that makes the team tick.
“We’re a big powerhouse on offense for sure, but we win games because of our defense,” said Snell, who has scored 28 touchdowns in seven games this season while playing a starring role on offense and defense.
Chugiak’s defense set the tone almost immediately, as Ace Chapple recovered a fumble on the Warriors’ second play from scrimmage to set up the Mustangs deep inside Wasilla territory. Six plays later, Snell barreled across the goal line from four yards out to make it 7-0 less than three minutes into the game.
“He’s a big playmaker for us,” Snell said of Chapple, a senior cornerback.
The Mustangs made it 14-0 late in the first quarter when Snell scored his second touchdown of the game, this time a 23-yard run on which several Wasilla players either whiffed or bounced off Chugiak’s star as he rumbled into the end zone.
Chugiak needed just one play to score on its next drive after a disastrous Wasilla punt set the Mustangs up with a first-and-goal on the Warriors’ 8-yard-line. Chugiak cashed in quickly, getting an 8-yard strike from Hunter Harr to Ramal Maad to make it 21-0 less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Chugiak stretched its lead to 28-0 shortly before halftime when Harr lofted a perfect fade for Snell, who sprinted past the defensive back to haul in his third score of the half.
Chugiak captain Terry Park said overlooking Wasilla was a big fear in the week leading up to the game. So before the game, he said he gathered the team together to let them know not to take anything for granted.
“I just said, ‘We’ve got to take care of business, boys,’” Park said.
Hunter Harr said the message was one every player took to heart.
“We made sure and made a point that we had to take care of business here first,” he said.
Business continued to be good in the second half for Chugiak. Austin Harr got onto the score sheet early in the third quarter, capping a 5-play, 65-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the half. The key play of the drive was a 53-yard pass from Hunter Harr to Ramal Maad, who nearly went all the way after several impressive jukes along the sideline.
Snell finished the scoring for Chugiak with his fourth touchdown of the day, a 4-yard scamper with 5:41 left in the third quarter that would turn out to be his last offensive play as the Mustangs began to empty their bench.
Wasilla busted up Chugiak’s shutout with 30 seconds left when quarterback Aeron Milliron broke loose for a 51-yard scamper against Chugiak’s backup defense on the game’s final offensive play. Underscoring Chugiak’s dominance on defense, Milliron’s run accounted for 40 percent of Wasilla’s offensive output for the entire game.
With a chance to win back-to-back conference championships and earn a No. 1 seed in the state Division I playoffs on the line Thursday, Chugiak coach Roger Spackman said he told his team to enjoy the next week of preparation.
“That’s what I told the kids: ‘This doesn’t happen all the time — you guys are in a really cool position so you’ve got to take advantage of that,’” he said.
Hunter Harr said he and his teammates can’t wait to strap on the pads against the team ranked No. 2 in the latest media poll.
“It’s the two best teams going head-to-head for a number one spot,” he said. “We’re excited.”
WOLVES FALL ON PENINSULA
Eagle River fell Saturday in Soldotna with a 42-8 loss to the Stars at Justin Maile Field.
The Wolves (2-5 overall, 0-3 NLC) will try to win their first conference game of the season in the finale Saturday, Sept. 30 at Kodiak.
Soldotna won its 56th consecutive game — extending its state record — and clinched its 12th straight Northern Lights Conference title.
Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected]
MUSTANGS 42, WARRIORS 6
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2017
Veterans Memorial Field
Chu — Derryk Snell 4 run (Cameron Peck kick), 9:20
Chu — Snell 23 run (Peck kick), :37
Chu — Ramal Maad 8 pass from Hunter Harr (Peck kick), 10:30
Chu — Snell 25 pass from H. Harr (Peck kick), 5:41
Chu — Austin Harr 10 run (Peck kick), 9:46
Chu — Snell 4 run (Peck kick), 5:41
Was — Milliron 51 run (run failed), :30
First downs 14 7
Rushes-yards 31-160 38-107
Comp-att-int 10-16-0 1-4-0
Passing yards 167 19
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 9-90 3-23
Punts-avg. 1-51.0 4-21.0
Return yards 48 6
RUSHING — Chugiak: Snell 9-50, A. Harr 7-41, Chase Wedel 7-30, H. Harr 4-19, Aaron Tomosoulo 2-12, Ramal Maad 1-5, Jacob Oshesky 1-3. Wasilla: Aeron Milliron 11-45, Matthew Trask 9-38, Sean McDermott 12-12, Jordan Quenga 1-8, Wyatt Helton 5-4.
PASSING — Chugiak: H. Harr 8-13-0—138, Tomosoulo 2-3-0—29. Wasilla: Milliron 1-4-0—19.
RECEIVING — Chugiak: Snell 4-58, Maad 2-61, Chapple 1-15, A. Harr 1-14, Ty Carlos 1-9, Wedel 1-9. Wasilla: McDermott 1-19.