Eagle River, Chugiak football teams earn crucial conference wins

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 20:48
  • Juneau United’s Cooper Kriegmont, right, is slowed down by Chugiak’s Brandon O’Fihelly at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Chugiak won 22-7. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Just call them the road warriors.

Chugiak and Eagle River’s football teams earned crucial victories as visitors over the weekend, with the Mustangs earning a 22-7 Chugach Conference win over Juneau in Juneau and the Wolves crushing Kenai Central 48-14 on the Peninsula.

Chugiak’s win was the first for head coach Ryan Landers, whose first on-field victory over Wasilla two weeks ago was erased after the Mustangs (1-5 overall, 1-2 Chugach) were ruled to have used an ineligible player. On Friday night, the Mustangs galloped to an early lead behind a first-quarter touchdown run by Quentin Wilson and a 16-yard Thomas Sitz field goal. Jacob Oshesky added an 18-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, and Colt Foglesong added some insurance with a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third.

Chugiak moved ahead of winless Juneau in the Chugach Conference standings, giving them the pole position for the five-team conference’s fourth and final Division I state playoff berth.

Eagle River’s win Saturday afternoon was even bigger, guaranteeing the team’s first winning season and lifting the Wolves to 2-1 in the Northern Lights Conference. Although the win does not guarantee the Wolves a Division II state playoff spot, Eagle River is now in great shape to make its first postseason trip since starting varsity play in 2006.

Ryan Adkins threw four touchdowns and ran for two more in Saturday’s win for the Wolves, who built a 34-14 halftime lead at Kenai’s Ed Hollier Field. Kobe Sherman caught two touchdowns and Bryson Rollman, Mason Piper and Quanard Cox caught one each for Eagle River (4-1 overall, 2-1 NLC).

Eagle River’s conference season is now finished; the Wolves have rival Chugiak next Saturday in the “Battle of the Bridge” game at 2 p.m. at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium and finish against nonconference South on Sept. 29. Eagle River has never defeated Chugiak on the field, though the Wolves did get a forfeit victory over the Mustangs in 2011 when Chugiak was penalized for using an ineligible kicker.

Eagle River hasn’t officially clinched a playoff spot, but the team’s chances are exceedingly good; all the Wolves need to clinch are wins by Soldotna over Kenai and Kodiak — and the Stars are the six-time defending Division II champions.

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