Chugiak’s comeback season comes to an end in first round of state football playoffs

Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 00:43
  • Chgiak’s Jacob Oshesky looks for running room during Service’s 42-7 win over Chugiak in the first round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Football Playoffs on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Service’s Henry Helgeson makes a leaping touchdown catch during Service’s 42-7 win over Chugiak in the first round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Football Playoffs at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Service’s Jon’uel Fisher knocks the ball away from Chugiak’s Tyler Huffer during Service’s 42-7 win over Chugiak in the first round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Football Playoffs at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Joshua Rolston kicks off during Service’s 42-7 win over Chugiak in the first round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Football Playoffs on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

Chugiak’s final step Friday night wasn’t a big one. But it was in the right direction.

The Mustangs fell victim to a second-half mauling at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium as the Service Cougars reeled off 28 unanswered second-half points for a runaway 42-7 win in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Football Playoffs at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak.

“It was just little mistakes,” said Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers.

Landers took his hat off to the Cougars, who held his team to just 132 yards of total offense.

“That’s a good football team,” he said.

Landers’ team was too — which couldn’t always be said about the Mustangs a season ago, when the team one just one game all year.

This year’s version of the Mustangs had a lot more kick, as a strong group of seniors propelled the squad to a six-win season and the No. 2 seed out of the Chugach Conference.

But Service (7-2) got a smothering effort from its defense and huge day from quarterback Jacob Scott, who threw four touchdown passes to lead the No. 3 seed from the Cook Inlet Conference.

“It feels so awesome,” said Helgeson, the CIC’s Offensive Player of the Year.

Service also bottled up Chugach Offensive Player of the Year Tyler Huffer, dominating the line of scrimmage and limiting the Chugiak star to just four yards from scrimmage.

Despite going out on a tough night, Huffer said he was proud of the way he and his teammates helped lead Chugiak back to respectability this season.

“We definitely helped rebuild the program,” he said.

After trading hugs and shedding tears with his teammates, Huffer acknowledged that it wasn’t easy leaving the turf at the stadium named for his grandfather for the final time.

“It’s a good feeling but it’s also just sad because I’ve been with these guys my whole life,” he said. “I’ve known them since I was in third grade.”

Williams got the Cougars on the board first, taking an inside handoff and cutting back through a massive hole in the line of scrimmage, then taking advantage of a good downfield block to race to paydirt midway through the second quarter.

Scott used a magic act to set up Service’s second score, spinning to escape Kody Carlson before hitting Ethan Harrison for a 16-yard stroke on fourth-and-15. Two plays later Scott hit Helgeson in the back of the end zone to make it 14-0 with 9:45 still to play in the second quarter.

Chugiak (6-3) cut the lead to 14-7 — and almost got even closer — before halftime after Jacob Oshesky picked off Damian Johnson deep in Service territory to set the Mustangs up at the Service 12. Quarterback Quentin Wilson cashed in with a 1-yard score, and after the teams traded punts, a LeTrevyon Sanchez-Dickerson fumble gave Chugiak the ball in the Service end with 1:10 in the half. But time ran out on the Mustangs, who got as close as the Service 3-yard line before their drive stalled out with a fumbled snap.

Scott and Helgeson teamed up for more brilliance on Service’s next score, a gut-punch from which Chugiak never recovered. Facing another dire situation — fourth-and-six — the Service quarterback again evaded the defense and found his star receiver for a 9-yard gain, and two plays later the duo hooked up for 17-yard score that sent the Mustangs’ shoulders slumping.

After a Chugiak three-and-out, Sanchez-Dickerson made up for his fumble — and then some — when he took a Scott pass and raced past the Mustangs’ secondary for a 40-yard score that felt like a knockout blow.

It was.

A desperate Chugiak fumbled two plays into its next drive, and Service needed just over a minute to put the Mustangs on the canvas yet again, this time with a 35-yard connection from Scott to Helgeson.

Williams closed out the night just as he started it — with a touchdown run, this time a 23-yarder — to give Service its final margin of victory.

Despite the loss, Landers — who was named co-Coach of the Year for guiding Chugiak’s turnaround — credited his 15 seniors with helping instill a strong culture that will carry over into next season.

“They’ve got some big shoes to fill.”

COUGARS 42, MUSTANGS 7

Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium

Service 7 7 21 7 — 42

Chugiak 0 7 0 0 — 7

1st Quarter

Ser - Ryan Williams 61 run (Sebastian Mittlestadt kick), 7:28

2nd Quarter

Ser - Henry Helgeson 2 pass from Jacob Scott (Mittlestadt kick), 9:45

Chu - Quentin Wilson 1 run (Joshua Rolston kick), 5:13

3rd Quarter

Ser - Helgeson 17 pass from Scott (Mittlestadt kick), 5:38

Ser - LeTrevyon Sanchez-Dickerson 40 pass from Scott (Mittlestadt kick), 2:19

Ser - Helgeson 35 pass from Scott (Mittlestadt kick), :35

4th Quarter

Ser - Williams 23 run (Mittlestadt kick), 11:11

TEAM STATISTICS

Chugiak Service

First downs 9 17

Rushes-yards 35-59 32-183

Comp-att-int 7-18-0 16-29-1

Passing yards 73 179

Fumbles-lost 7-1 4-2

Punts-avg. 6-29.1 2-31.0

Penalties-yards 2-15 7-60

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Chugiak: Quentin Wilson 15-35, Christian Beesing 1-21, Austin Harr 1-5, Tyler Huffer 14-4, Jacob Oshesky 4-(-6). Service: Ryan Williams 25-187, Atlas Faafetai 3-8, Jacob Scott 4-(-12).

Passing — Chugiak: Wilson 7-18-0—73. Service: Scott 14-23-0—169, Damian Johnson 2-6-1—10.

Receiving — Chugiak: Oshesky 2-34, Harr 2-16, Beesing 2-11, Wyatt Rohde 1-12. Service: Henry Helgeson 6-74, LeTrevyon Sanchez-Dickerson 5-72, Ethan Harrison 4-29, Ryan Williams 2-4.

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