Service draws blood
Mustangs left limping after Cougars’ Week 3 mauling
Chugiak’s Wayde Snell (44), Justin Benzel (arm on ball) and Sam Brownlee (24) team up to bring down Service’s Matthew Ilalio. Chugiak fell to 2-1 in the Cook Inlet Conference. Service improved to 2-0.
STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH
Blood squirted from Travis Craig’s nose like water escaping a pinhole leak in a water balloon.
He got off easy.
Craig’s broken nose forced him out of Saturday’s Cook Inlet Conference bloodbath at Anchorage Football Stadium in the first quarter, leaving him safe from further punishment as Service handed the Mustangs a 42-6 loss that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated.
“Their fast guys were faster than our fast guys,” Chugiak coach Duncan Shackelford said.
That about sums it up. Service dominated every facet of the game, racing up and down the field with abandon. The Cougars piled up 664 yards of offense (while holding Chugiak to just 90) and held a 23-7 advantage in first downs. Service quarterback Amu Aukisitino threw for 452 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more, as Chugiak’s defense struggled to keep up with the 5-foot-10 junior.
Shackelford said the Mustangs had no answer for Service’s dynamic quarterback.
“He’s just a great athlete,” he said.
The Cougars also piled up nearly twice as many penalties as Chugiak and had a player ejected in a penalty-filled game that included a rare mid-game summit between officials and the head coaches from each team.
“Both sides were warned to keep their cool and keep their composure,” said Service head coach Jason Caldarera.
Caldarera called the game physical on both sides, and said his players are taught to play hard and within the rules.
“We would never advocate anything that is inappropriate,” he said.
Shackelford said he thought his team did a good job of not retaliating after Service penalties, and said he planned to watch the game tape to see if anyone on his side was out of line.
“I told my kids, ‘If I see anything cheap out there I’ll yank your butt and stick you on the bench for the next 45 days,’” he said. “You know, I don’t play that, sorry. I still believe you play hard, you play by the rules and if you knock the heck out of somebody you knock the heck out of somebody and you do it fair and within the rules.”
Shackelford said considers the matter closed, and trusted that Caldarera would have a similar talk with his team.
“I’m sure Jason will go back and tell the same thing to his guys,” he said.
Chugiak actually began the game with a good break, recovering a Service fumble on the Cougars’ first play from scrimmage. But the gift turned into the first of many drives to nowhere, ending in a turnover on downs.
From then on it was a video game. Service scored on three drives of 86 yards or more and hit for several huge passing plays. Their touchdowns included 56- and 75-yard bombs to Alan Busey, who finished 11 catches for 295 yards. Nick Butler also caught two touchdown passes for Service, including a 20-yarder from Christopher Toomer.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock due to the 35-point mercy rule.
Chugiak’s lone bright spot came courtesy of defensive back Deven Ferriss, who scooped up a Service fumble late in the second quarter and raced 96 yards for a touchdown that cut Service’s lead to 21-6 at halftime. Ferriss’ score was the speedy junior’s second long return for a touchdown this season.
It was one of the few positive moments for the Chugiak defensive backfield, which struggled against Service’s tall, speedy receivers all night. The Mustangs were beaten for five deep passes, and by the end of the game DB’s Travis Craig (nose) and Tyler Rohde (leg) were watching from the sideline with injuries.
Chugiak linebacker Wayde Snell said he thinks the best way for Chugiak to get past the brutal loss will be to take their frustrations out on the practice field.
“We’re going to work harder than ever,” Snell said.
The senior captain said the team must forget the loss and wipe the slate clean in advance of their showdown Sept. 3 against Bartlett (1-1 CIC, 2-1 overall).
“We have to,” he said. “We can’t think about it. It’s over.”
Bartlett bounced back from a Week 2 loss with a 48-21 win Aug. 27 over Eagle River,
“It looks like they haven’t missed a beat,” Shackelford said.
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or email@example.com