Chugiak football holds off Eagle River
The largest wind gust on a stormy Saturday, Sept. 15 didn’t come courtesy of Mother Nature, but from the hundreds of Chugiak football fans who breathed a simultaneous sigh of relief after their team held on for a heart-stopping 13-7 homecoming win over Eagle River at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
Mustangs defensive end Matt Oldenkamp hauled down Wolves quarterback Alani Collins deep inside Chugiak territory as time expired to dash the hopes of an Eagle River team desperate to finish on the winning side of the scoreboard for the first time against their arch rivals.
“We let one slip away,” said Eagle River senior Jachi Madubuko, who led all players with 65 yards rushing.
Two plays before Oldenkamp’s game-ending sack, the Wolves pulled off what nearly became the biggest play in school history. Trailing 13-7 with under a minute left, Wolves quarterback Parker Eiler heaved a Hail Mary in the direction of tight end Corbin Duxbury. Chugiak’s Tyler Rohde leaped over everyone in an attempt to knock the ball away, but instead launched it skyward with his helmet. Eagle River’s Josh Oberlander came down with the 41-yard reception and was tackled at the Chugiak 7-yard-line with 34 seconds to go.
But time simply ran out on Eagle River's dream finish.
Eagle River’s next play was a run to Madubuko, who was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. With precious seconds ticking off the clock, Wolves coach Jason Brewer said he wanted Collins to spike the ball. Instead, the sophomore snapped the ball and tried to sprint around the left end — where he found Oldenkamp waiting.
“All week we’ve been talking about that naked boot they run and Matt Oldenkamp squatted and put himself in the right position to make the play,” said Chugiak coach Duncan Shackelford.
Chugiak improved to 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the Cook Inlet Conference. Eagle River dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-5 in the CIC.
“It’s just nice to get one in the win column,” Shackelford said.
Early on, it appeared Chugiak — which is now 6-1 against Eagle River (last year’s CHS victory was later forfeited due to an ineligible player) —would again dominate, taking a 13-0 lead on a 6-yard Dane Prince run in the first quarter and a pair of Chase Wilson field goals in the final 2:44 of the half. Chugiak outgained Eagle River 117-25 in total yards in the first and had a 10-1 advantage in first downs.
“We have to play two halves of football,” Madubuko said.
But the Wolves stormed back in the second, eventually outgaining the Mustangs 247-162 in total offense. The Wolves did so despite getting limited production from injured quarterback Peter Kott (toe) and running back Ed Hall, who hurt his ankle and was held to just four carries.
“That was the new Eagle River that second half,” Madubuko said.
Eagle River’s two backup quarterbacks, Collins and Eiler. racked up 161 passing yards to minus-7 for Chugiak, which saw two of its three completions go for negative yards — including one pass legally completed to an interior lineman.
The Wolves cut the lead to 13-7 heading into the fourth quarter on a 21-yard pass from Collins to Corbin Duxbury, who caught three passes for 51 yards.
Although this year’s game was the closest Eagle River has come to earning an on-field victory over their cross town foes, Madubuko said the Wolves still don’t feel they’ve earned the right to call the annual showdown a rivalry.
“It’s not really a rivalry until we get a win against them,” he said.
As the Mustangs celebrated on the opposite side of the field, however, it was clear Chugiak now takes the Wolves plenty serious.
“This is the game we feel we must win every year,” Prince said.
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or [email protected]
MUSTANGS 13, WOLVES 7
Sept. 15, Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium
ER 0 0 7 0 — 7
Chu 7 6 0 0 — 13
Chu — Prince 6 run (Wilson kick), :41.5
Chu — Wilson 32 FG, 2:44
Chu — Wilson 36 FG, :00
ER — Corbin Duxbury 21 pass from Collins (Patin kick), :02.9
First downs 10 13
Rushes-yds 27-86 43-169
Passing yards 161 (-7)
Comp-att-int 9-19-0 3-9-0
Punts-avg. 6-35.3 5-34.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Return yards 10 24
Penalties-yds. 12-105 5-40
Rushing — Chugiak: Capers 10-63, Prince 5-30, Timberlake 14-29, J. Benzel 8-23, Mayhew 4-17, Carnahan 1-4, Rohde 1-3. Eagle River: Madubuko 11-65, Hall 4-9, Oberlander 4-8, Kott 1-5, Eiler 1-4, Ireland 1-4, Collins 5-(-9).
Passing — Chugiak: Mayhew 3-9-0—(-7). Eagle River: Collins 6-14-0—81, Eiler 3-5-0—80.
Receiving — Chugiak: Timberlake 1-6, Thompson 1-(-4), Prince 1-(-9). Eagle River: Corbin Duxbury 3-51, Oberlander 3-47, Dunn 2-50, Madubko 1-13.