Chugiak football ices Bartlett to remain unbeaten
Not even an icy waterfall can cool off the red-hot Chugiak football team, which rolled to a 34-20 victory Saturday over Bartlett to remain undefeated.
The team has gotten in the habit of visiting Thunderbird Falls before (and sometimes after) practices to take dips in the chilly Chugiak stream. Although ice baths are known to soothe tired muscles after workouts, senior Tyler Huffer said the ritual has become a cherished team bonding exercise.
“Actually, a group of us went this morning,” Huffer said after rushing for a team-high 91 yards and leading the defense from his middle linebacker position on a partly sunny night at Bartlett High. “We do it whenever we can.”
As he spoke, a teammate walked behind Huffer and dumped a surprise bottle of ice water on his head.
“It’s a little cold,” he admitted with a grin.
Huffer said the team holds regular barbecues, hangs out outside of school to study the playbook and in general has tried to build a culture of family among both older and younger players. So far it’s been paying off, as Chugiak has rumbled to a 3-0 record overall and is now 1-0 in the Railbelt.
“We’re staying together, not getting down on each other,” he said. “We’re always positive and if someone messes up we pick them back up.”
Senior quarterback Quentin Wilson ran for one score and threw for another to lead Chugiak, which puts its undefeated record on the line against Railbelt foe Colony Saturday at 4 p.m. at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak.
Wilson was 8-for-10 for 166 yards and had a 7-yard touchdown pass to junior Christian Beesing. Wilson’s favorite target was junior wideout Grant Jones, who caught three passes for a career-high 109 yards. Chugiak also got a pair of 30-yard touchdown runs from senior running back Austin Harr, who had 64 rushing yards on just five carries.
Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers said his experienced players have been the difference in turning around a squad that one just a single game in 2018.
“Senior leadership goes a long way,” said the second-year head coach and 1998 CHS grad. “They really took ownership of this team.”
Huffer and Jones recovered fumbles for the Chugiak defense, which also got a late interception from Colt Foglesong. Huffer said several younger players played key roles as well for a defense that was missing star linebacker Jacob Oshesky.
“Everyone is stepping up,” he said.
Chris Tapuolo ran for a game-high 132 yards and ran for two scores for the Golden Bears, who piled up 307 rushing yards and looked much more dangerous than the squad that lost its first two games in lopsided fashion.
“I knew they would right the ship,” Landers of the Golden Bears, who fell to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference. “They’ve got great coaches and players over there.”
Bartlett also ran 30 more plays than the Mustangs, but Chugiak was the more efficient side, piling up 337 yards on just 38 plays with a balanced offense that produced nearly identical numbers of rushing and passing yards.
Landers said he’s proud of the way his team has improved each week and is hopeful that trend continues next week.
“I expect us to get better.”
MUSTANGS 34, GOLDEN BEARS 20
Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019
Bartlett High School
Chugiak 7 14 13 0 — 34
Bartlett 0 14 0 6 — 20
Chu - Austin Harr 30 run (Josh Rolston kick), 7:22
Chu - Tyler Huffer 3 run (Rolston kick), 11:03
Bar - Demario Moore 4 run (Keli’i Pelenato pass from Reason Timberlake), 5:22
Bar - Chris Tapuolo 29 run (run failed), 4:28
Chu - Harr 30 run (Rolston kick), 3:45
Chu - Quentin Wilson 2 run (kick blocked), 4:41
Chu - Christian Beesing 7 pass from Wilson (Rolston kick), 1:33
Bar - Tapuolo 9 run (pass failed), 9:59
First downs 14 20
Rushes-yds 28-171 58-307
Comp-att-int 8-10-0 3-9-1
Passing yards 166 39
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-2
Return yards 0 0
Punts-average 1-48.0 1.29.0
Penalties-yards 3-26 4-30
RUSHING — Chugiak: Huffer 12-91, Harr 5-64, Wilson 8-17, Beesing 1-0, Grant Jones 2-(-1). Bartlett: Tapuolo 26-132, Elijah Lilio 8-69, Moore 9-58, Timberlake 9-35, Isaiah Walker 3-8, Jasiah White 1-7, Niko Alailefaleula 1-(-1), Tui Lauvale 1-(-1).
PASSING — Chugiak: Wilson 8-10-0—166. Bartlett: Timberlake 3-9-1—39.
RECEIVING — Chugiak: Jones 3-109, Beesing 2-21, Harr 2-20, Huffer 1-16. Bartlett: Walker 2-19, Elijah Lewis-Tufi 1-20.