Mustangs rebound from crushing off-field defeat
Win against West helps dull pain of lost season
Chugiak’s Justin Schneider tackles West wide receiver Marcel Dion.
STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH
You can’t keep a good team down.
Just two days after getting word that their three previous victories would be wiped away due to the use of an ineligible player, the Chugiak Mustangs played their best game of the season in a 34-32 victory over West at Anchorage Football Stadium on Sept. 23.
“I’ve never been prouder of a group of kids,” Chugiak coach Duncan Shackelford said after his team improved to 1-6 overall and 1-5 in the Cook Inlet Conference.
Justin Schneider ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns to lead Chugiak, which also got touchdown runs from Jake Wenzl and Dane Prince and an 81-yard scoring pass from Prince to Tyler Rohde.
Rohde also had an interception and a fumble recovery for the Mustangs, who forced five West turnovers.
Chugiak lineman Kody Trombley said the team took the field with a sense of purpose after receiving the news that their playoff hopes had been dashed by an administrative mistake.
“We definitely felt robbed,” Trombley said.
Eagles quarterback Conor Feckley threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles (4-3 overall, 3-3 CIC).
West scored on the opening play of the second quarter to open the scoring, getting a 2-yard Nathen Sailele touchdown run that was set up by a 75-yard interception return by Desmond Corpuz.
Chugiak struck back less than a minute later when Dane Prince hooked up with Tyler Rohde for and 81-yard touchdown pass.
West went up 14-7 midway through the second quarter after Jake Faualo intercepted Prince in Chugiak territory to set up an 8-yard Feckley run.
Chugiak recovered West’s ensuing onside kick and marched 49 yards on five plays, finishing the drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Jake Wenzel. Chase Wilson’s extra point was blocked to make it 14-13 with 5:29 left in the first half.
West led 20-13 at halftime, but Chugiak exploded for three touchdowns in the first six minutes of the second half to build a 34-20 lead. West nearly tied the game after a 1-yard plunge by Feckley with 5:09 to go, but the Eagles’ subsequent conversion pass failed to connect.
Chugiak then ran the clock out behind Schneider, who had 61 yards on Chugiak’s final drive.
Without a playoff spot to fight for, Schneider said Chugiak’s players have elected to treat their final two games of the regular season as if they were post season contests.
“This was a playoff game for us,” he said.
Next up for Chugiak is a season-ending clash with East on Saturday, Oct. 1 at noon at Anchorage Football Stadium.
Schneider said the Mustangs plan to play even harder against the T-Birds.
“We’re not going to give up,” he said.
Shackelford said the East game will give the Mustangs one last to chance to prove that they belong.
“That’s our state championship game,” he said.
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org