Mustangs roll in Railbelt opener
FAIRBANKS — It didn’t matter if the West Valley High School football team was on offense or defense, very little went the Wolfpack’s way when they hosted Railbelt Conference rival Chugiak in their home opener Friday night.
The visiting Mustangs torched West Valley on the ground. They torched them through the air, too. The Chugiak defense even got into the act, turning two West Valley fumbles into touchdowns during a lopsided 60-12 beatdown of the Wolfpack.
With the loss, West Valley falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the Railbelt. The Mustangs improved to 3-0 (1-0 Railbelt).
“It just felt like we couldn’t get anything going,” West Valley defensive coordinator Devin Robinson said. “We couldn’t get stops on defense. We couldn’t get into any rhythm offensively. It just spiraled for us.”
The Wolfpack were playing without head coach Kyle Allison, though Robinson said he should be back with the team before Friday’s game at Wasilla.
No information about Allison’s absence was available.
Chugiak showcased its dual threat offense, as senior running back Derryk Snell led the way with 152 rushing yards on 10 carries. He scored two touchdowns, including a 49-yard score that gave the Mustangs a 53-12 advantage late in the third quarter.
The senior’s other touchdown — an 11-yard run — capped off Chugiak’s 12-play, 72-yard scoring drive on its opening possession.
“Derryk is a known commodity,” Mustangs head coach Roger Spackman said. “He’s been doing this for four years now, and we’re really glad he plays for us.”
Although Snell was a star in the win, he said he was just happy to see Chugiak win its first Railbelt contest of the season.
“Getting our first win in our first conference game is big,” he said. “We came out here and did our thing. It showed on the scoreboard.”
Snell wasn’t the only Mustang to run wild against West Valley. Senior quarterback Hunter Harr ran for 128 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, while sophomore running back Austin Harr finished with 75 yards on nine rushes.
Hunter Harr completed nine of his 15 pass attempts for 149 yards and two scores.
Senior wide receiver Ramal Maad hauled in touchdown passes of 30 and 59 yards, while senior Ty Carlos and Austin Harr also added touchdown grabs.
Austin Harr’s score came from 14 yards out, as he brought in a pass by Chugiak’s backup quarterback, Aaron Tomosoulo, late in the second quarter.
The Mustangs took a 34-6 lead into halftime.
One of West Valley’s lone bright spots before the intermission came when Preston Damario returned a kickoff for a 70-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
In the third quarter, Wolfpack quarterback Maurice Maiden plunged into the end zone for a 2-yard score on a keeper. But even that wasn’t enough to slow down Chugiak.
“Even though we were 2-0 in our first two games, we hadn’t played a complete game before tonight,” Spackman said. “That was our goal tonight; to do well in all aspects of the game. Our offense and defense really played great.”
After the Mustangs’ offense shined during the first two quarters, the defense broke the game open in the third quarter.
West Valley coughed up the ball on its first two drives, and Chugiak returned both fumbles for touchdowns.
Ace Chapple came up with the first loose ball in the end zone when the Wolfpack had a bad snap on the opening play of the second half, while Ty Carlos scooped a second fumble and brought it 44 yards for a score moments later.
“We really put the lid on it right then,” Spackman said.
Maiden led West Valley’s ground game with 45 yards on six carries, though Isaiah Warner (nine carries, 49 yards) and Damario (six carries, 16 yards) both aided the rushing attack.
As the team prepares for a visit to Wasilla, Robinson said the Wolfpack must make immediate adjustments to return to the win column after suffering two straight losses following a 17-15 victory at Eielson in their season opener.
“Right now, it’s urgent,” he said. “All of these conference games are important, so we have to have a sense of urgency. Next week we have another conference opponent, Wasilla, and they’re a tough, physical team. We need to be ready.”
Contact News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal at 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMSportsGuy. To read more visit newsminer.com