Eagle River receiver Kelechi Madubuko battles for posession with Chugiak defensive back Deven Ferriss. Madubuko held on for the touchdown, but it wasn't enough as the Wolves fell 35-14 on Friday, Aug. 19.
Six up, six down.
Chugiak continued its football dominance over Eagle River on Aug. 19, rallying for a 35-14 win at Chugiak.
"We knew we could come back and win it," said Chugiak running back Justin Schneider, who finished with a game-high 175 rushing yards.
Schneider's two-yard touchdown run with 4:42 left in the third quarter proved to be the game-winner. The big score came less than a minute after Eagle River grabbed its first second-half lead in the series on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Peter Kott to Kelechi Madubuko that made it 14-13 Wolves.
Madubuko said his team's ability to put a scare into the Mustangs shows that the team continues to get better.
"I never like to lose, but I feel like we made a whole lot of progress today," Madubuko said.
The large crowd that showed up at Chugiak's Tom Huffer Sr. stadium was treated to a show under Friday night's lights, as the teams combined for nearly 800 yards of total offense, eight turnovers and just two punts.
Eagle River got the game's first break when Rydell Reinbold recovered a Chugiak fumble near midfield on the Mustangs' opening drive. But the momentum shift was a brief one, as Chugiak's Tyler Rohde intercepted Madubuko's only passing attempt of the game on the next play.
On the next offensive play, Chugiak quarterback Jake Wenzl hit running back Wayde Snell for a 44-yard gain, then followed that with a perfect lob to a streaking Deven Ferriss on the next play to make it 6-0.
The lead lasted all of 15 seconds the length of time it took Madubuko to catch Craig Lowe's kickoff at the Eagle River 10-yard line, make a move, break a tackle and outrace Snell to the end zone.
"That kid's just smoking fast," said Shackelford, who instructed Lowe to use squib kicks for the rest of the game.
The score was Madubuko's second kick return for a touchdown in as many games. He also had two touchdown returns last season.
The Wolves twice had golden opportunitys to take the lead in the second quarter slip through their fingers. First, after a 43-yard bomb from Wolves quarterback Peter Kott to Madubuko put the Wolves in the red zone, Kott hit running back Ed Hall with a short pass that would have netted the team a first-and-goal. But Hall coughed up the ball, and Ferriss recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
"It's a backbreaker when you make mistakes like that," Madubuko said.
Eagle River then forced a short Chugiak punt that Malcolm Bell returned to the Chugiak 20, and a diving catch by Hall set the Wolves up inside the 10-yard-line.
But Eagle River couldn't punch it in, and Jordan Patin's 35-yard field goal try was blocked by Luke Plumb to secure the 6-6 halftime score.
Chugiak went up 13-6 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wenzl to Rohde midway through the third quarter. Chugiak's senior quarterback had his best game as a starter, going 8-for-9 for 147 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Wolves countered with Kott's touchdown pass to Madubuko, who went up over Ferriss to make a circus catch at the goal line. But the Eagle River star raised his arms as he crossed the goal line and for several seconds after earning a 15-yard celebration penalty in the process.
Madubuko, who has scored all four of his team's touchdowns this season, said he should have known better.
"I don't like getting dumb penalties like that," he said.
Chugiak wasted little time making Eagle River pay for Madubuko's transgression. Wenzl found Ferriss down the left sideline, hitting the wideout for a 56-yard gain that set the Mustangs up at the 2-yard line. Schneider punched it in from there, and Dylan Timberlake's conversion run put Chugiak up for good at 21-14.
Eagle River's next drive ended when Matt Oldenkamp picked off Kott deep in Chugiak territory, a turnover that led to a 5-yard Wenzl touchdown run to make it 28-14 to close out the third.
Derek Fitzhugh added a 5-yard scoring run in the fourth to finish things off.
Schneider racked up 175 yards on 21 carries for Chugiak, which rolled up 383 yards on the ground. Dane Prince added 56 yards on 10 carries for Chugiak, which got positive rushing yards from eight different players.
Eagle River committed six turnovers in the game, including three interceptions by Kott. But the sophomore also threw for 158 yards, ran for 24 and stood in the pocket to absorb several punishing hits.
"Pete's going to be a great quarterback," said Madubuko, who caught three passes for a game-high 108 yards. "He has all the physical tools."
Ferriss and Snell each had an interception and fumble recovery to lead the Chugiak defense, which has a plus-six turnover margin through its first two games.
The victory moved Chugiak to 2-0 in the Cook Inlet Conference and overall, while Eagle River fell to 0-1 in the CIC and 0-2 overall.
Chugiak plays Service (1-1 overall, 1-0 CIC) on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at Anchorage Football Stadium. That same night, Eagle River will host Bartlett (1-1 overall 0-1 CIC) at Eagle River.
Though his team is the only 2-0 squad in the CIC, Shackelford said the Mustangs can't start thinking about the postseason until after their clashes with Service this week and Bartlett the next.
"We've gotta get by two really good football teams," he said.
Though disappointing, Madubuko said the loss to Chugiak did little to hurt his team's belief that they've got what it takes to contend.
"I don't think we're at the point where we think we're behind yet," he said. "We're going to keep getting better."
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MUSTANGS 35, WOLVES 14
Aug. 19, 2011
Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium
Chu Ferriss 28 pass from Wenzl (kick failed), 1:56
ER K. Madubuko 90 kickoff return, 1:41
Chu Rohde 15 pass from Wenzl (Lowe kick), 7:06
ER K. Madubuko 30 pass from Kott (Kott run), 5:15
Chu Schneider 2 run (Timberlake run), 4:42
Chu Wenzl 5 run (Lowe kick), 2:17
Chu Fitzhugh 5 run (Lowe kick), 6:10
First downs 26 13
Rushes-yds 53-383 27-90
Comp-att-int 8-9-0 6-18-4
Passing yards 147 153
Return yards 37 28
Fumbles-lost 2-2 3-2
Punts-avg. 1-13.0 1-33.0
Penalties-yds 7-50 6-60
Rushing Chugiak: Justin Schneider 21-175, Dane Prince 10-56, Jacob Wenzl 7-52, Dylan Timberlake 3-33, Wayde Snell 5-27, Derek Fitzhugh 3-21, Justin Benzel 2-10, Dakota Nicholson 2-9; Eagle River: Malcolm Bell 9-29, Peter Kott Jr. 6-24, Jachi Madubuko 7-22, Kelechi Madubuko 2-16, Danton Evilsizer 1-3, Ed Hall 2-(-4).
Passing Chugiak: Jake Wenzl 8-9-0147; Eagle River: Peter Kott Jr. 6-17-3153, Kelechi Madubuko 0-1-10.