Chugiak football comes up just short against Service
Some lessons are harder to learn than others.
Chugiak’s football team suffered a crushing 39-36 overtime loss Saturday to Service in a game first-year head coach Ryan Landers said was encouraging despite its heartbreaking ending.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said Landers, who fell to 0-2 in his first season leading his alma mater.
Those good things included a bruising ground game that produced 318 rushing yards and a defense that produced a maddening number of near-interceptions. Austin Harr led Chugiak with 128 yards rushing on 16 carries for Chugiak, which got 89 yards on the ground from Tyler Huffer and 88 from quarterback Jacob Oshesky, who got the start in place of the injured Quentin Wilson.
But the bad outweighed the good by the narrowest of margins, with the Mustangs coming within one play of victory before the Cougars snatched a stunning victory away in the final minutes.
“We’ve just gotta learn how to win,” Landers said.
Chugiak led 33-26 with just 3.8 seconds left when Service quarterback Jason Villanueva-Kaeo found Letrevyon Sanchez-Dickerson for a 14-yard touchdown. Ryan Williams added the crucial extra point to send the game to overtime.
Chugiak got the ball first in the OT, but couldn’t get the ball across the goal line and had to settle for a 24-yard Thomas Sitz field goal. Service responded on its first play of the extra period, getting a 10-yard run from Ben Fauklner to end the game and hand first-year head coach Khalil Boling his first career victory.
Villanuevaq-Kaeo sliced up the Chugiak secondary for 311 yards and three touchdowns on 20-for-42 passing. But as gaudy as Villanueva-Kaeo’s numbers were, Chugiak’s secondary had numerous chances to pick off the strong-armed senior — they just couldn’t catch the ball.
“I think we had and opportunity for four or five interceptions and we just couldn’t get it,” Landers said.
Chugiak led 26-17 after the first behind touchdown runs from Oshesky, Kody Carlson and Tyler Huffer as well as a field goal by Thomas Sitz and a safety by the defense.
The Mustangs extended their lead to 33-17 when Oshesky finished off a 12-play, 74-yard drive with a 5-yard run with 4:23 left in the third. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, that would be the last time they found the end zone.
The turning point for the Cougars may have been a fourth-quarter miscue. With his team facing a fourth-and-nine from the Chugiak 12-yard-line, Boling elected to send the field goal unit out. Ryan Williams’s 29-yard try was good, but the kick was negated by a procedure penalty against the Cougars. Following the penalty, Boling sent his offense onto the field for a fourth-and-14 from Chugiak’s 17. The decision paid off, as Villanueva-Kaeo hit Ben Faulkner in the end zone to cut the lead to 33-26 with 6:50 to play.
Chugiak had a chance to extend the lead to two scores with less than five minutes to play in the fourth, but Landers decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the Service seven-yard-line.
“We wanted to win the football game the way we do it, which is pounding the ball,” Landers said of the decision not to send Sitz out for a field goal.
Chugiak’s defense held Service on the ensuing drive, but the Mustangs again sputtered quickly and had to punt with less than two minutes to play. That’s when Villanueva-Kaeo went to work, marching his team 85 yards in just 1:16 for the game-tying drive.
Despite the loss, Landers said his team is getting better. And he pointed out the nonconference loss doesn’t hurt the young Mustangs in the Chugach Conference standings.
“We got better,” said Landers, whose team plays West Valley of the Division II Railbelt Conference Friday at 7 p.m. in Fairbanks.
“As long as we improve like that we’re going to be fine this season.”
COUGARS 39, MUSTANGS 36 (OT)
Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018
Service High School
Service 10 7 0 16 6 — 39
Chugiak 7 19 7 0 3 — 36
Chu - Oshesky 3 run (Sitz kick), 6:35
Ser - Helgeson 60 pass from Villanueva-Kaeo (Williams kick), 4:52
Ser - Williams 24 field goal, 1:44
Chu - Carlson 11 run (Sitz kick), 11:24
Chu - Safety (Service snap out of end zone), 10:57
Chu - Sitz 38 field goal, 8:30
Chu - Huffer 5 run (Sitz kick), 2:45
Ser - Faulkner 9 run (Williams kick), 2:08
Chu - Oshesky 5 run (Sitz kick), 4:23
Ser - Safety (Chugiak snap out of end zone), 11:15
Ser - Faulkner 17 pass from Villanueva-Kaeo (Williams kick), 6:50
Ser - Sanchez-Dickerson 14 pass from Villanueva-Kaeo (Williams kick), :00
Chu - Sitz 24 field goal
Ser - Faulkner 10 run
Rushes-yards 52-318 33-219
Passing yards 28 311
Comp-att-int 3-9-0 20-42-0
First downs 21 18
Penalties-yds 6-51 14-127
Fumbles-lost 5-1 4-1
Punts-avg. 4-26.8 1-31.0
Return yards 0 0
RUSHING — Chugiak: Harr 16-128, Huffer 18-89, Oshesky 16-88, Carlson 1-11, Mathieu 1-2. Service: Hickok 12-111, Faulkner 18-109, Girard 1-0, Foglesong 2-(-1).
PASSING — Chugiak: Oshesky 3-9-0—28. Service: Villanueva-Kaeo 20-42-0—311.
RECEIVING — Chugiak: Carlson 2-17, Huffer 1-11. Service: Sanchez-Dickerson 6-87, Guevara 5-45, Helgeson 4-105, Faulkner 3-41, No. 23 1-22, Garroutte 1-11.