East ends Chugiak’s season

Mustangs fall 38-7 in finale


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Chugiak’s Justin Benzel knocks East’s Diego Su’a Te’o off his feet during the Thunderbirds’ 38-7 Cook Inlet Conference win at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak. The Mustangs finished the season 2-6 overall.

MATT TUNSETH

Chugiak’s football season came to a disappointing end as the Mustangs fell 38-7 to East in the regular season finale at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium on Friday, Sept. 28.

Despite the outcome, Mustangs coach Duncan Shackelford said he was proud of the effort his squad gave in the season’s home stretch, which saw the Mustangs win two of their final three games.

“I’m really proud of these guys,” said Chugiak coach Duncan Shackelford, whose team had a chance to make the state playoffs with a win. “They never gave up.”

Chugiak blew a golden opportunity after East fumbled deep inside its own territory on the game’s opening drive. The Mustangs failed to capitalize, however, fumbling the ball back on first-and-goal from the East 1-yard-line.

“That really hurt us,” Shackelford said.

East capitalized with back-to-back touchdown drives, going up 12-0 on a 48-yard pass from Jesse Vanilau to receiver Jarred Laws.

Laws finished with eight catches for 131 yards and three scores to lead East, which finished with a 448-147 advantage in total yards.

Senior Tyler Rohde responded with the biggest play of the game for the Mustangs, taking the ensuing kickoff back 81 yards to make it 12-7 with 10:29 left in the second quarter.

The Mustangs never got any closer, as East added two more touchdowns to push its lead to 26-7 at the midway point.

Sophomore running back Josh Capers and junior quarterback David Mayhew each rushed for 40 yards to lead Chugiak offensively. Rohde and Karson Forbush each caught two passes from Mayhew, who went 5-for-14 with no interceptions.

Following the game, the team recognized its 16 graduating seniors in a rainy ceremony at midfield.

Chugiak finished the season 2-6 overall and 2-5 in the CIC.

Had Chugiak secured a victory (and allowed fewer than 14 points), the Mustangs would have earned a berth in this weekend’s state playoffs.

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