Mustangs run past Wolves

Eagle River loses head coach to deployment


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Chugiak head football coach Duncan Shackelford, right, hugs Eagle River head coach Jason Brewer after the Mustangs earned a 44-28 win over the Wolves on Saturday, Sept. 21.

MIKE NESPER

There were plenty of tearful hugs for Eagle River head football coach Jason Brewer following the Wolves homecoming game Saturday, Sept. 21.

But coming up on the losing end of a 44-28 score to Chugiak wasn’t the reason. Brewer’s National Guard unit was called up earlier in the week and he left for training in Colorado about 12 hours after the Mustangs cruised to their seventh victory in the teams’ eight meetings. (Eagle River’s lone victory over Chugiak came via forfeit two years ago).

Brewer — whose deployment can last anywhere from six weeks to a year — gave his team the news following the game. He said he waited so as not to be a distraction during the week.

The loss is a big blow to Alaska football, Chugiak head coach Duncan Shackelford said.

“He is a class act,” Shackelford said.

Assistant coach Jim Reeves will serve as interim head coach for the Wolves’ final two games, ERHS principal Marty Lang said. If Brewer’s assignment lasts an entire year, a new head coach will take over next season, he said.

Running was the theme of the day, as both teams combined for nearly 700 rushing yards.

Gabe Mingledorff, who rushed for 178 yards, and Ben Stewart (114) did all the damage for Chugiak on the scoreboard. Each reached the end zone three times.

Eagle River’s Ed Hall (142 yards) and Peter Kott (100) also racked up triple-digit yardage on the ground.

The Wolves marched 75 yards and scored on the opening drive of the game, which ended when Alani Collins ran in an 8-yard score.

Chugiak answered immediately. The Mustangs covered 53 yards in seven plays capped off by a 1-yard TD run from Stewart just 1:18 later.

Chugiak regained possession quickly after Tevin Cormier picked off Collins setting the Mustangs up at the Wolves’ 36. Chugiak took the lead six plays later when Mingledorff scored on a 3-yard run.

It was a lead the Mustangs never relinquished.

Chugiak’s linemen were the difference, Shackelford said.

“We established the line of scrimmage,” he said.

Brewer agreed, and said the Wolves had trouble dealing with Chugiak’s size.

After crossing the goal line on his second 1-yard quarterback sneak, Stewart took off down the left sideline for a 45-yard TD to put Chugiak up 27-8 with 5:17 to go in the first half.

Kott connected with Collin Metzel on a 63-yard strike as time expired to cut Chugiak’s lead to 13 at halftime.

The Mustangs added a 20-yard field goal by Tyler Tulare and a 4-yard run by Mingledorff to put the game out of reach in the third quarter.

Hall scored on runs of 7 yards and 1 yard in the final quarter. Between Halls touchdowns, Mingledorff ripped off a 62-yard run to the house.

Brewer said he was pleased with his team’s offense, which gained more than 430 yards.

Penalties hamstrung Eagle River early on. The Wolves racked up more than 100 yards in penalties in the first half and finished with 130 yards total.

Eagle River, which fell to 1-4 in Cook Inlet Conference play and 1-5 overall, needs wins in its final two games to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Wolves will look to break a sixth-place tie with Bartlett (1-4) on Saturday, Sept. 28 when the two meet at Anchorage Football Stadium at 7 p.m.

Chugiak (3-2 CIC, 4-2 overall) is tied with Dimond (3-2) for fourth. South and Service are atop the conference both at 4-1 followed by West (4-2) in third. East (0-5) sits in last place.

The Mustangs take on the winless T-Birds on Friday, Sept. 27 at AFS at 7 p.m.

While Shackelford is preaching a one-game-a-time mentality to his team, he’d like to finish 6-2.

“We win our last two and we’re in great shape,” he said.

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