Chugiak football stumbles against West Valley heading into conference opener
FAIRBANKS — The players on the West Valley High School football team can stick another feather in their caps after another convincing victory.
The Wolfpack dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and used their strength up front throughout Friday night’s 22-7 victory over the Chugiak Mustangs at West Valley High School.
With the win, West Valley improves to 3-0. The team already has more wins than it did last season, when the Wolfpack finished the year 2-6.
Chugiak (0-3) is the second Division I opponent West Valley has beaten this season. The Wolfpack stunned Division I foe Service, 40-35, in their opener before rolling to a 41-20 win at Eielson in Week 2.
Though Chugiak is still winless nearly a month into the season, the Mustangs have yet to play a Chugach Conference game. That’s set to change on Friday, Aug. 31, when the Mustangs host 1-2 Wasilla in the conference opener for both teams. Game time is 7 p.m. at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
West Valley ran for almost 300 yards on the ground, with the rushing attack producing 293 of the team’s 339 yards of total offense.
The team held Chugiak’s feared option attack to just 84 yards, as the Mustangs finished with 202 altogether.
“Chugiak is a great option team,” Allison said. “That’s one thing we wanted to make sure we controlled. We just wanted to force them into doing some things that were uncharacteristic of them, and I thought we did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage for the most part.”
Maiden ran wild, finishing with 148 yards on 17 carries. The senior signal-caller put the Wolfpack ahead, scoring a 45-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw with 53 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Senior running back Preston Damario extended the lead to 12-0 with a 63-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. It was the longest run of the night for Damario, who rumbled for 101 yards on 14 carries.
Another senior running back, Isaiah Warner, finished with 44 yards on nine carries.
It wasn’t Maiden’s best passing night — he completed three of his 10 attempts for 46 yards and two interceptions — but it didn’t matter much. The Wolfpack defense helped seal the win.
West Valley junior Avery Weston intercepted Chugiak quarterback Jacob Oshesky and ran it 82 yards for a touchdown with 47 seconds left. Weston’s pick, which came before senior kicker Ethan Raygor made an extra point to make it 22-7, was the exclamation point the Wolfpack needed.
“Stars show up in big games and make plays. He’s doing it,” Allison said of Weston.
Raygor gave the team a little wiggle room when he made a 20-yard field goal with 3:04 remaining. Even though Raygor missed two extra points after West Valley’s first two touchdowns, Allison said he had faith in the kicker to make it when it mattered most.
Chugiak’s lone score was a 29-yard touchdown pass from Oshesky to Kody Carlson. Thomas Sitz made the extra point, cutting West Valley’s lead to 12-7 with 3:25 left in the third quarter.
The Mustangs showcased a balanced rushing attack, though it was Tyler Huffer (11 carries, 55 yards) and Carlson (four carries, 19 yards) who led the way.
Oshesky finished with 118 passing yards after going 11 for 19 with a touchdown and an interception.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal at 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMSportsGuy.