Shackelford’s coaching career ends where it began

Service ousts Chugiak football in first round of playoffs


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Chugiak head coach Duncan Shackelford talks to his team following a 55-34 loss to Service in the first round of the playoffs Saturday, Oct. 12 at Dimond Alumni Field. It marked Shackelford’s last game as a head coach — a position he’s held for 20 seasons.

MIKE NESPER

Duncan Shackelford has served as a high school head football coach the past two decades. His career came to an end Saturday, Oct. 12 on the same field where it began — Dimond Alumni Field.

Service racked up 41 first-half points en route to a 55-34 win over Chugiak in the first round of the large-schools playoffs.

Shackelford reflected upon his 177 games as a head coach as he looked upon the field where it all started 20 years ago.

“I still remember my first football game,” he said. “I couldn’t eat. I was so nervous.

“It’s good to end my career here,” Shackelford said.

Shackelford guided the Lynx to consecutive state titles in 2000-01 and a 48-40 record in 10 seasons. In 10 seasons at the helm of Chugiak’s program, Shackelford, known as “Shack” to everyone in the halls at CHS, went 43-46 and made the postseason six times — including a loss in the championship in 2009.

At the beginning of the season, Shackelford announced it would be his last at Chugiak. A special education teacher at Chugiak High, Shackelford is retiring at the end of the school year.

Tentative play in the first half allowed Service to build a lead too great for Chugiak to recover from, Shackelford said.

After an early 6-6 tie, Service scored five straight touchdowns to take a 35-point lead into halftime.

Enter Gabe Mingledorff.

The Chugiak senior made it a two-possession game after reaching the end zone three times in a third quarter dominated by the Mustangs. During the 12-minute span, Chugiak scored 20 points and picked off Service quarterback C.J. Toomer three times.

After scoring on a 40-yard run, Mingledorff broke free for an 88-yard touchdown run two plays after Kenny Pegues intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Mingledorff scored 37 seconds later on a 27-yard pick-six.

The windy afternoon was full of big plays, including six touchdowns of 40 or more yards — four of which came from more than 50 yards out.

Incredible individual efforts were almost as frequent.

Toomer racked up 349 yards through the air, three passing touchdowns and one rushing TD while teammate Eric Jones hauled in 149 receiving yards, rushed for 115 more and scored three times.

Mingledorff outshined everyone.

He rushed for a staggering 278 yards — 53 more than all Service rushers combined — had 104 receiving yards and scored four times.

Shackelford said it was one of the best individual performances he’s ever seen.

“I don’t think I’ve been more proud of a young man than you today,” he told Mingledorff as they embraced following the team’s post-game meeting.

For Shackelford, the best part of coaching was working with his players through all of the ups and downs that came with every season.

“I’ll miss the kids,” he said. “I’ll miss yelling and screaming at them. Laughing and tears

“It’s just a good time,” he said. “Football is supposed to be fun.”

Mingledorff will miss his coach.

“It’s just an honor to play with coach Shack,” he said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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