Blood boiled a little too hot during a rainy Saturday afternoon football game between Bartlett and Service at Anchorage Football Stadium.
Service won the Cook Inlet Conference football game 39-21, but both teams lost players to ejections -- six for Bartlett, four for Service. All 10 will miss next week's games.
With 7:22 to play in the second quarter, the teams started fighting near the north end zone. Numerous players from both teams left the bench to join the brawl. Referees conferred for about 10 minutes after the fight to sort out the ejections.
"It was a mess and the referees did the best they could," Service coach Kevin Kern said. "There was a late hit called on our quarterback and guys were being aggressive and protecting the quarterback, and it got out of hand on both sides of the ball."
Bartlett's Edress Irving, who hauled in six receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown, said he couldn't see what caused the fight, but he said things were noticeably different on the field afterward.
"I think it changed the game and made us want to play harder," Irving said. "It brought up the intensity."
Emerging from the settling dust was Service senior Thavun Srisaneha, who turned in a career performance with five catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. He also recorded the game's only interceptions, picking off Bartlett's Zyrelle Jones twice in the fourth quarter.
Srisaneha, a starter who missed last week's game with an ankle injury, was glad to see the focus get back to football in the second half.
"Everything was crazy and hectic and we had to find subs to go in, but I think the coaches did a good job of keeping us disciplined and holding us back, and everything just went right," he said. "It was definitely my best game on varsity. It was exciting and I can't wait for next game."
Service improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the CIC, knocking Bartlett down to 0-3, 0-2 CIC. It was the first game this season in which Service failed to surpass 40 points and the first time Bartlett reached the 20-point mark.
With each team fielding unyielding defensive lines, offenses were forced to move the ball through the air. Both teams attempted more than 30 passes, with Service quarterback C.J. Toomer amassing 296 yards and two touchdowns.
It'd be tough to find another quarterback in Alaska who throws a prettier deep ball than Toomer, and one of his prettiest came late in the third quarter on a 64-yard touchdown.
The tight spiral sailed on a perfect arch down the left sideline and fell softly into the hands of a streaking Srisaneha, who caught it in stride and coasted the final 25 yards or so for a score that gave the Cougars a 25-15 lead.
The play squelched any momentum Bartlett gained with a score on its previous possession and sparked the Cougars to two more unanswered touchdowns.
After a Bartlett fumble gave the ball back to the Cougars, it appeared the Toomer-Srisaneha connection worked again on a 65-yard scoring strike, but the play was called back due to penalty.
No worries for Service, however, as the Cougars capped an 11-play drive with a six-yard touchdown run by Levi Hansen to lead 32-15 early in the fourth quarter. Srisaneha bagged his first interception to end Bartlett's next possession and help set up another short touchdown run by Hansen that made it 39-15.
With the game's final touchdown, Bartlett made a play for the aerial highlight reel when Jones hit Irving with a 77-yard scoring pass. Irving caught a short pass in the right flat and raced through the defense for his first touchdown of the season.
Service will take on Chugiak (2-1, 1-1 CIC) in Week 4, and Bartlett will face Dimond (1-2, 1-1 CIC).
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
Bartlett 7 0 8 6 -- 21
Service 12 6 7 14 -- 39
Service -- Aliju 4 pass from Toomer (pass fail), 4:06
Bartlett -- Belgarde 13 pass from Jones (Belgarde kick), 0:04
Service -- Fromm 72 kick return (run fail), 0:00
Service -- Toomer 1 run (kick fail), 5:46
Bartlett -- Belgarde 4 pass from Jones (Falaniko pass from Torres), 4:46
Service -- Srisaneha 64 pass from Toomer (Raguindin kick), 2:27
Service -- Hansen 6 run (Raguindin kick), 9:00
Service -- Hansen 1 run (Raguindin kick), 6:32
Bartlett -- Irving 77 pass from Jones (run fail), 3:57
First downs 12 16
Rushes- yards 29-72 30-33
Passing yards 184 296
Return yards 186 82
Passes 14-34-2 21-33-0
Punts 5-35.4 5-40.2
Fumbles-lost 4-2 0-0
Penalties- yards 10-85 9-80
RUSHING -- Bartlett: Falaniko 13-49; Belgarde 1-18; Jones 9-2; Sappa 3-2; Honore 3-1. Service: Jones 5-16; Hansen 3-16; Talai 1-2; Langlais 11-0; Toomer 10-(-1).
PASSING -- Bartlett: Jones 14-34-2--184. Service: Toomer 21-32-0--296; Talai 0-1-0--0.
RECEIVING -- Bartlett: Irving 6-104; Belgarde 3-27; Kenney 2-30; Reynolds 2-21; Hoffman 1-2. Service: Srisaneha 5-138; Mcleod 4-45; Aliju 3-15; Johnson 3-5; Jones 2-7; Fromm 2-47; Raguindin 1-27; Allen 1-12.