Matt Tunseth

Fans inside Bank of America Stadium rose to their feet as Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton prepared to take the snap. The 2015 NFL MVP shouted the cadence to his team, sending newly signed rookie Korben Senden in motion from his slot receiver position. As Senden neared, Newton took the snap, pivoted and handed the ball to the rookie. Senden did the rest, following his blockers around the end for a 5-yard Panthers touchdown.

Mustangs sweep Eagles

Chugiak earned a Cook Inlet Conference swimming sweep over West on Friday, Sept. 7 at West.

Addison Morgan (100 IM, 100 butterfly) and Izzy Powers (50 free, 100 free) won two individual events for the Chugiak girls, who claimed a 100-78 victory. Morgan and Powers also swam legs on two winning relays for the Mustangs. Lydia Ekstrom (diving) and Autumn Moore (100 breaststroke) also claimed individual wins for the Mustangs.

Chugiak’s Justice Rushford bolted from the starting line at Saturday’s New Balance XC Classic like he was fired out of a cannon. Or about to fire a Canon, perhaps.

The Mustangs senior sprinted ahead of the field, whipped out his phone at snapped a triumphant selfie with the rest of the junior varsity boys field training behind, then tossed his phone triumphantly to a waiting teammate/co-conspirator.

After the race, Rushford explained the selfie schtick has become an unofficial (and unsanctioned) team tradition during the annual races at Russian Jack Springs Park.

On a spectacularly sunny day at the Wolves’ Den, Eagle River head football coach Bob Adkins preferred to look on the bright side after watching his previously undefeated team get outshined in a 55-19 Northern Lights Conference loss to the Soldotna Stars on Saturday.

“Now we have something to work for,” he said after his team fell to 1-1 in the NLC with a crucial conference clash against Kenai Central coming next week.

Ric Davidge brought his own cameraman to film his Thursday appearance at the South Fork Community Council meeting.

There weren’t a lot of highlights.

The chairman of the Alaska Veterans Foundation got more than an earful during his first appearance before the council in whose backyard he wants to build a facility to house up to 100 homeless veterans.

“This community is completely against your proposal,” council chair Karl von Luhrte told Davidge.

Nobody seemed to disagree.

Chugiak football lost twice this week — once on the field, and once off.

On Wednesday, the Mustangs learned they’d have to forfeit what had been a 42-6 Chugach Conference win over Wasilla on Aug. 31 due to the use of an ineligible player. On Friday night, the Mustangs got more bad news when Bartlett steamrolled its way to a 73-13 Chugach win at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.

“It’s on me,” said first-year Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers of the Wasilla snafu, which resulted from the Mustangs using a kicker in too many quarters in one week.

Summer’s over and local boards and community councils are gaveling back into action.

Most local advisory groups elect to skip meetings in June, July and August due to members being busy, but September brings a full return starting with the Thursday, Sept. 6, meeting of the South Fork Community Council. The meeting at 7 p.m. at Eagle River High School on Yosemite Drive is the first of five area council meetings scheduled this month, according to information posted on the Federation of Community Councils homepage.

A pair of local young women will be wearing tiaras for the next year after winning titles at the Miss Alaska USA pageant Aug. 4 in Anchorage.

Neither expected to win.

“I think I said out loud, ‘What?’” said Chugiak’s JoEllen Walters, who was crowned Miss Alaska USA at the event held at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. “Then I cried.”

Like Walters, Miss Alaska Teen USA Meghan Scott was surprised when she heard Audrey Johnson’s name called instead of hers as the first runner-up.

Michailia Massong, waist-deep in a muddy bog Friday afternoon, fought to hold her best friend’s head above water.

“Don’t you dare give up on us!” she pleaded, as Luna, her 13-year-old American quarter horse, shivered in a swamp a half-mile off Birchwood Loop in Chugiak.

Luna had unexpectedly bolted during a routine ride and wound up stuck. The two had been struggling to get out of the bog for two hours. Massong was getting colder by the minute. Luna’s gums were turning pale, her breathing was becoming labored.

Berries have been bringing bunches of pickers to Arctic Valley, where the fall hiking and gathering season is well underway.

On a recent weekday, more than a dozen people scoured the mountainsides in search of blueberries, which can be readily found in the area. The trails leading into the Chugach Mountains also hosted a few hikers and mountain runners, who flock to the wide-open ridgelines offered high above the valley.

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