The tiny margin that separated Service High and Chugiak High on paper -- they entered Saturday night ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network large-schools poll -- seemed like an endless expanse on the football field.
Nothing illustrated the disparity than total offense: Service 677 yards, Chugiak 94 yards.
The Cougars used 466 passing yards from quarterback Amu Aukusitino and 305 receiving yards from Alan Busey -- those two hooked up 11 times, for two touchdowns -- in a 42-6 Cook Inlet Conference romp at Anchorage Football Stadium.
Aukusitino appeared in Sports Illustrated's Faces In the Crowd section of the magazine this week. On Week 3 of the prep season, he continued to set himself apart from the crowd. The junior completed 20 of 28 passes, three of them for touchdowns, and rushed 12 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Time and again, Aukusitino connected deep with Busey, whose touchdowns went for 56 yards and 75 yards in a penalty-filled game that was never close but was often contentious.
"I didn't come in with a mind-set of throwing to him,'' Aukusitino said. "I keep it on who's open. But once I threw it to him, he was open, and (Chugiak) didn't change anything, so I had to keep it up.''
Busey couldn't quite believe his numbers.
"No,'' he said when told the totals. "No. Really? I love our quarterback.''
Aukusitino also threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Nick Butler, and Butler also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Christopher Toomer.
"Their fast guys were faster than our fast guys,'' said Chugiak coach Duncan Shackelford.
Service coach Jason Caldarera credits offensive coordinator Numi Ilalio and his players' preparation during practices for the club's offensive explosion on game nights. In three games, the Cougars (2-0-1 overall, 2-0 CIC) have scored 118 points.
"We have very structured practices,'' Caldarera said. "Every day, we do fundamentals drills -- we call them EDD's, every-day drills.''
Aukusitino scored on a 17-yard run in the first quarter and connected with Busey on a 56-yard strike. Aukusitino's 61-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter boosted Service's lead to 21-0.
Chugiak, which was held to 13 yards total offense on 25 first-half plays, countered when Deven Ferriss picked up Aukusitino's fumble and blazed 96 yards for a score.
But that merely delayed the inevitable. Service racked three third-quarter touchdowns and Butler's 67-yard hookup with Aukusitino as time expired in the third quarter gave Service a 36-point lead at 42-6 and instituted the mercy rule. The game was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter, and at the break between quarters Chugiak's cheerleaders and crowd chanted, "Don't give up, don't give up.''
Passions, and penalties, ran high throughout. Service was whistled for 17 penalties for 187 yards of back-stepping, and 11 of those infractions, and one ejection, were for personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct or leading with the helmet. Chugiak was penalized eight times for 79 yards.
During an injury timeout midway through the third quarter, Caldarera and Shackelford huddled with officials on the field.
"Jason said one of our kids came down on a (Service's players) leg, and I told him I'd take a look at it (on video),'' Shackelford said. "It was friendly. Jason and I shook hands. I told him I'd go back and let (Mustang players) know it's about discipline and playing hard, not cheap.
"I'm sure Jason went back and said the same thing to his guys.''
Caldarera said he did.
"I said, 'We've got to play smart. Do it right, and make good decisions,' '' Caldarera said. "Certainly we made some bad choices. I told them, 'Stay away from anything cheap. That's not us.' ''
Busey said the Cougars, who were penalized 12 times for 114 yards in a 42-7 win over Dimond last week, only hold themselves back with those penalties.
"Our team was just losing their heads,'' he said. "We can definitely overcome it. We're definitely going to get some conditioning Monday and Tuesday. We'll learn from it.''
The rest of the conference is quickly learning the Cougars will be a tough team to top, especially after the way Aukusitino and Busey rolled up yardage Saturday night. In the past two games, those two have hooked up 21 times for 480 yards and four touchdowns.
"That's just one weapon,'' Aukusitino said quietly, like he says everything. "We have plenty more to come.''
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Chugiak 0 6 0 0 -- 6
Service 13 8 21 0 -- 42
Service -- Aukusitino 17 run (Bomar kick), 7:18.
Service -- Busey 56 pass from Aukusitino (kick failed), 4:55.
Service -- Aukusitino 61 run (Pili run), 8:40.
Chugiak -- Ferriss 96 fumble return (pass failed), 1:57.
Service-- Butler 20 pass from Toomer (Bomar kick), 7:10.
Service -- Busey 75 pass from Aukusitino (Bomar kick), 3:24.
Service -- Butler 67 pass from Aukusitino (Bomar kick), :00.
First downs 6 21
Rushes-yards 36-94 36-182
Passing yards 0 495
Return yards 220 18
Passes 0-8-1 22-31-1
Punts 7-33.6 1-38.0
Fumbles-lost 4-1 3-3
Penalties-yards 8-79 17-187
RUSHING -- Chugiak: Schneider 15-62, Snell 9-29, Timberlake 4-8, Prince 1-4, Fitzhugh 1-(-1), Rohde 1-(-3), Wenzl 5-(-4). Service: Aukusitino 12-84, Ilalio 15-73, Raguindin 4-22, Pili 2-3, Toomer 3-0.
PASSING -- Chugiak: Wenzl 0-8-1--0. Service: Aukusitino 20-28-1--466, Toomer 2-3-0--29.
RECEIVING -- Chugiak: None. Service: Busey 11-305, Butler 4-108, Ilalio 3-17, Aliju 2-24, Murakami 1-14, Williamson 1-2.