South won the turnover battle and just about every other battle Saturday at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium, dropping Eagle River 43-0 in a Cook Inlet Conference football game.
It was a sloppy finish to the regular season for both teams, which combined for 11 turnovers. South (6-2, 6-1 CIC) lost three of its five fumbles, but still managed to dominate the Wolves and secure second place in the CIC.
South coach John Lewis said the Wolverines are ready for the playoffs and looking forward to a tough first-round game against West Valley next weekend.
"We're healthy. We're faster than we've been," Lewis said. "We want to make sure that if you want to win a championship, you have to go through South."
Led by Tommy Hopp's 71 yards on eight carries, the Wolverines used 11 ball carriers to amass 272 rushing yards, and quarterback Zach Lujan completed 14 of 22 passes to 11 different receivers for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
Lujan's second touchdown pass was a 25-yard lob to Griffin Toomey in the closing seconds of the first half. Toomey jumped to snag the ball from between two Eagle River defenders to give South a 33-0 halftime lead, but the Wolverines were in control of the game long before the nice catch.
South bolted to a commanding lead by scoring two first-quarter touchdowns just 11 seconds apart. After Hopp capped the Wolverines' opening drive with a 30-yard touchdown run with 9:55 remaining in the period, Eagle River fumbled the ensuing kickoff back to South. Lujan wasted no time making the Wolves pay, hitting Alex Erickson for a 33-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage.
Things continued to go wrong for Eagle River at the start of the second half. The Wolves fumbled the snap and lost the ball to South on their first play of the half, and began their second possession with another turnover, the second of three interceptions thrown by quarterback Peter Kott. The Wolves (1-7, 1-6 CIC) finished with eight turnovers and fell to last place in the conference.
"We've played some hard football this year, but we didn't show up today," Eagle River coach Kenny Ray said. "We're David against Goliath. We slung the sling shot, but we just come up short."
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
South 23 10 7 3 -- 43
Eagle Rivert0 0 0 0 -- 0
South -- 30 run Hopp (Toomey kick), 9:55
South -- Erickson 33 pass from Lujan (Augafa run), 9:44.
South -- 5 run Whitinger (Augafa run), 3:09.
South -- 40 field goal Toomey, 2:44
South -- Toomey 25 pass from Lujan (Toomey kick), :15
South -- 3 run Whitinger (Toomey kick), 8:15.
South -- 20 field goal Toomey, 3:47
South Eagle River
First downs 23 8
Rushes-yards 44-272 22-67
Passing yards 197 103
Return yards 10 30
Passes 14-22-0 12-23-3
Punts 2-36.0 1-50.0
Fumbles-lost 5-3 5-5
Penalties-yards 6-40 1-10
RUSHING -- South: Hopp 8-71; Esplin 4-53; Wilson 6-40; Taha 4-34; Schleusner 7-31; Steele 3-16; Lujan 2-14; Toomey 2-12; Whitinger 2-8; Aufaga 1-6; Erickson 5-(-13). Eagle River: Kott 9-47; Bell 7-12; K. Madubuko 2-4; Gonzales 2-3; Hall 2-1.
PASSING -- South: Lujan 14-22-0--197. Eagle River: Kott 12-21-3--103.
RECEIVING -- South: Toomey 3-48; Page 2-22; Erickson 1-33; Brown 1-20; Steele 1-16; Alston 1-15; Silsby 1-14; Krolick 1-12; Wilson 1-10; Hopp 1-5; ;Esplin 1-3. Eagle River: K. Madubuko 4-69; Evilsizer 3-11; Bell 2-5; Hall 1-10; Duxbury 1-8; Stone 1-0.