Young Mustangs gallop past West Valley
Chugiak’s football future appears bright. The Mustangs’ present isn’t looking too shabby, either.
Sophomore quarterback Ben Stewart earned his first high school win to lead the Mustangs to a bruising 17-6 nonconference win over West Valley Saturday at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
“I love starting the year with a win,” said Chugiak coach Duncan Shackelford, who notched his 87th career victory.
Stewart was starting in place of David Mayhew, who is dealing with an eligibility issue and hasn’t yet been cleared to play.
Stewart completed just four of 13 passes for 16 yards, but he appeared calm and steady while managing the Mustangs’ ground-based attack.
“I liked the way his confidence developed as the day went on,” Shackelford said.
Stewart was injured during much of his freshman season on junior varsity, and lost the games he did play in. But the youngster was all smiles after going 1-0 at the varsity level.
“It’s an exciting feeling,” he said.
Making the win even more special was the fact that three other sophomores — Tevin Cormier, Kenny Lee and Bauer Hall — also played significant minutes Saturday.
“It feels great having played with those guys for a bunch of years,” Stewart said.
Senior lineman Jake Brownlee, who had two sacks and a fumble recovery for Chugiak, said he was proud of the effort Chugiak’s youth corps displayed.
“It’s nice to see them taking to heart what we’ve been working on in practice,” Brownlee said.
Chugiak (1-0 overall, 0-0 CIC) led 3-0 at the end of the first half. Mustangs junior kicker Tyler Tulare capped a 10-play opening drive with a 35-yard field goal with 6:31 left in the first quarter
Marcus Gamble ended West Valley’s best drive of the first half when he picked off Charles Sudduth’s pass deep in Chugiak territory midway through the second quarter. The first half ended with the Mustangs up 3-0 after Sudduth intercepted Stewart’s desperation heave toward the goal line as time expired.
Led by Dylan Timberlake and Gabe Mingledorff, the Chugiak ground game wore down West Valley as the game went on. The Mustangs finished with 225 yards rushing, including 129 in the second half. Timberlake finished with 83 yards on 10 carries, including a 24-yard third quarter score that gave the Mustangs a 9-0 lead. Mingledorff added 76 yards on 12 carries for Chugiak, which also got 29 rushing yards from Garrett Quigley and 20 from Tyler Carnahan.
Chugiak’s defense held West Valley (0-1 overall, 0-0 Railbelt Conference) to only 72 yards rushing. Senior lineman Jake Brownlee said shutting down West Valley at the point of attack was key to the win.
“We really stepped it up big today,” he said.
Chugiak put the game away in the fourth quarter with a methodical 13-play, 60-yard drive that took almost eight minutes off the clock and ended in a 1-yard Stewart plunge. A Zach Bensel conversion run made it 17-0 and effectively ended any hopes of a West Valley comeback. The Wolfpack got a late touchdown pass from Sudduth to Dv’nn Cooks, but the 19-yard strike with 44 seconds left was merely cosmetic. Cooks was West Valley's lone bright spot on the day, catching six passes for 101 yards and a TD.
Chugiak’s Cook Inlet conference season begins Friday, Aug. 23 with a 7 p.m. clash with West at Huffer Stadium. The Eagles fell 24-14 to Wasilla on Saturday.
In other season-opening football action Saturday, Eagle River fell 40-8 to nonconference North Pole (1-0 overall, 0-0 Southeast Conference) in North Pole. The Wolves (0-1 overall, 0-0 CIC) open their conference season Saturday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. against Dimond at Eagle River.
MUSTANGS 17, WOLFPACK 6
Saturday, Aug. 17
Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium
Chugiak 3 0 6 8 — 17
West Valley 0 0 0 6 — 6
Chu — Tyler Tulare 35 FG, 6:31
Chu — Dylan Timberlake 24 run (kick failed), 8:02
Chu — Ben Stewart 1 run (Zach Bensel run), 3:39
WV — Cooks 19 pass from Sudduth (run failed), :44.8
First downs 10 10
Rushes-yds 41-225 26-72
Comp-att-int 4-13-1 8-13-1
Passing yards 16 141
Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-2
Punts-avg. 2-38.5 4-35.3
Return yds 48 0
Penalties-yds 9-65 10-77
Rushing — Chugiak: Timberlake 10-83, Mingledorff 12-76, Quigley 6-29, Carnahan 5-20, Stewart 5-7, Williams 2-6, Bensel 1-4. West Valley: Sudduth 10-34, Evanger 9-31, Lerandeau 1-4, Damario 5-2.
Passing — Chugiak: Stewart 4-13-1—16. West Valley: Sudduth 8-13-1—141.
Receiving — Chugiak: Timberlake 1-9, Williams 1-6, Oldenkamp 1-1, Mingledorff 1-0. West Valley: Cooks 6-101, Connell 1-26, Evanger 1-9, Kelley 1-5.