Mustangs meet Service in first round of playoffs
Service has several weapons, but none more potent than C.J. Toomer.
The Cougars senior quarterback leads the Cook Inlet Conference with more than 2,000 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes.
Containing Toomer is essential if Chugiak wants a repeat of Week 4 when the Mustangs edged Service 27-26.
“He’s the catalyst on the team,” Chugiak head coach Duncan Shackelford said.
Fourth-seeded Chugiak (4-3) plays No. 2 Service (5-2) on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Dimond Alumni Field at 2 p.m.
Due to injuries and suspensions, Service was missing nine starters in their first meeting of the season.
Had Chugiak won its regular-season finale, the Mustangs would have secured second place in the conference. However, Bartlett scored 32 unanswered points to down Chugiak 32-9 at its homecoming game Saturday, Oct. 5 at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
Two major factors that contributed to the loss were turnovers and injuries.
“We just ran out of players,” Shackelford said of the Mustangs, who committed five turnovers.
Three Chugiak running backs — Karson Forbush, Dylan Timberlake and Tyler Carnahan — were sidelined, and quarterback Ben Stewart sat out the second half with a shoulder injury. That put Mustangs’ top running back, Gabe Mingledorff, under center.
The rash of injuries hamstrung Chugiak, Shackelford said.
“It’s like playing football on one leg,” he said.
Shackelford said he expects Stewart to play this week.
Chugiak owned a 9-0 lead after the first quarter — a period in which the Mustangs prevented Bartlett from getting a first down or positive yards on offense.
Bartlett scored three times in a 2 minute, 19 second span to take an 18-9 lead into the half.
Bartlett’s defense sparked the scoring spree. The Golden Bears put together a 99-yard scoring drive after stopping Stewart’s quarterback sneak attempt on fourth-and-goal. The 13-play drive was capped off when Bears quarterback Zyrelle Jones connected with Dustyn Belgarde on a 26-yard strike.
Mingledorff fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Bartlett recovered, setting the Bears up at Chugiak’s 19. Jones took a 2-yard run into the end zone five plays later.
Bartlett’s Edress Irving took a 5-yard swing pass from Jones to the house two plays after Isaiah Masina picked off Stewart and returned it to Chugiak’s 14.
A short punt (15 yards) and successful fake punt set up Bartlett’s fourth TD. After taking over at Chugiak’s 39, Bartlett’s Chris Lega converted his second fake punt of the game on a 9-yard run to keep the drive alive. Four plays later, Jones connected with Belgarde on a 27-yard pass for the score.
Masina ripped off a 30-yard score with 1:41 to go to round out the scoring.
Stewart scored on a 1-yard run and Tyler Tulare nailed a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter for Chugiak.
East downs Eagle River
East earned its first win of the season with a 34-8 victory over host Eagle River on Saturday, Oct. 5. The Wolves finished the season 1-7 overall and 1-6 in the CIC.
Eagle River committed five turnovers — two fumbles that turned into East touchdowns. The T-Birds led 21-0 at the half and added two more TDs in the fourth quarter.
Collin Metzel scored Eagle River’s lone touchdown on a 29-yard pass from Alani Collins in the third quarter.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected].