With a wickedly potent arsenal that showcases lethal junior quarterback Amu Aukusitino and deadly senior wideout Alan Busey, the Service High offense unveiled additional weapons Saturday afternoon.
Introducing defensive lineman and fledgling fullback Erich Pili, and sophomore quarterback C.J. Toomer, who dropped a couple of bombs on Bartlett in top-ranked Service's 63-30 homecoming demolition of the Golden Bears at Anchorage Football Stadium.
Not that Aukusitino and Busey didn't get in their licks in the Cook Inlet Conference clash -- they were instrumental in the Cougars' early ambush, during which they racked a 35-0 lead before even 15 minutes had run off the clock.
Aukusitino completed 16 of 23 passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed five times for 49 yards and two touchdowns -- all six of those scores came in the first half. Busey caught nine passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns, with all three scoring strikes coming from Aukusitino.
But the Cougars, who will surely be solo No. 1 this week after co-No. 1 Juneau-Douglas got bounced 53-33 in Wasilla on Friday, also unlimbered their "Jumbo'' package. That scheme features the 5-foot-10, 290-pound Pili, Aukusitino's cousin, at fullback, and also includes Stephan Ellis, a linebacker who is one of the linchpins on the Cougars defense, as a blocking back.
"It's not just a gimmick,'' said Service coach Jason Caldarera. "It's part of our scheme.''
Pili rushed four times for 33 yards and scored a 12-yard touchdown on his first carry. He also delivered a 17-yard run and a 1-yarder that converted a first down on fourth-and-1.
"It was my dream to run the ball in high school,'' said Pili, who has piled up 67 yards on seven carries this season. "I'm happy to have the opportunity. I've got to give a shout-out to my linemen -- they're the ones who make the holes.''
Pili said scoring a touchdown thrilled him.
"I was excited, man,'' he said. "I pointed right to my family.''
For such a big man, Pili is surprisingly nimble and quick-footed.
"Guess it runs in the family,'' he joked, referring to his elusive cousin, Aukusitino.
Pili was all over the field Saturday. Besides his offensive duties, he recovered two onside kicks, registered a sack of Bartlett quarterback Treshawn King-Dunbar, kicked off, and played on the kickoff and punt return teams.
All that left was the question of whether he can throw the football well.
"That's Amu's job,'' Pili said. "He's got it covered.''
And when Aukusitino doesn't, Toomer is a great alternative. Aukusitino basically left the game late in the third quarter -- he did throw a two-point conversion pass after that -- upon tweaking his left leg. Nothing serious, he said. Toomer promptly took over and completed 4 of 5 passes for 77 yards, and connected with Trevor Williamson on a 31-yard touchdown.
"It's great to contribute to the team,'' Toomer said. "When your number's called, you have to be ready.''
Caldarera said guys like Toomer give the Cougars (4-0-1, 4-0 CIC) depth that makes them formidable.
"We're so young and we've got these young guys who can play,'' he said. "We've always got a contingency plan. These kids work so hard Monday to Thursday or Friday in practice, they deserve the opportunity.''
Trailing 48-8 at halftime, Bartlett bounced back with touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half. Trent Anthony scored on a 14-yard run to add to the 9-yarder he furnished in the first half, and King-Dunbar scored on a 3-yard run.
"(At halftime), I just said, 'Hey, you have to play with pride, go after them, get the ball and get some drives going,' " said Bartlett coach John Jessen. "I was really proud of how our guys played in the second half, from a character standpoint.''
The fourth-ranked Golden Bears (3-2, 2-2 CIC) fell into a four-way tie for third place in the conference with Chugiak, East and West.
They were undone early by Service's prolific offense, a lost fumble and two onside kicks they surrendered, and a Service defense that didn't give up much.
"Everything was going wrong,'' Jessen said. "We weren't getting first downs, they were throwing the ball at will and we weren't covering, and the two onside kicks. If you add all those things together, it spells disaster.''
Perhaps Service's only glaring shortcoming entering the game was its propensity for penalties, especially for personal fouls like leading with the helmet. In three previous conference games, the Cougars averaged 12 penalties for 135 yards, with more than five personal fouls per game. Saturday, though, they were whistled for seven penalties for 53 yards and were not cited for a personal foul.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Bartlett 0 8 14 8 -- 30
Service 28 20 0 15 -- 63
Service -- Busey 19 pass from Aukusitino (Bomar kick), 10:21.
Service -- Busey 18 pass from Aukustino (Bomar kick), 5:45.
Service -- Aukusitino 27 run (Bomar kick), 3:20.
Service -- Pili 12 run (Bomar kick), 1:07.
Service -- Aukusitino 6 run (Bomar kick), 9:06.
Service -- Busey 31 pass from Aukusitino (Bomar kick), 6:11.
Bartlett -- Anthony 9 run (King-Dunbar run), 3:06.
Service -- Butler 8 pass from Aukisitino (kick failed), 2:44.
Bartlett -- Anthony 14 run (Honore run), 10:44.
Bartlett -- King-Dunbar 3 run (pass failed), 5:11.
Service -- Murakami 2 run (Butler pass from Aukusitino), 11:54.
Service -- Williamson 31 pass from Toomer (Bomar kick), 8:01.
Bartlett -- Parker 19 run (King-Dunbar run), 3:11.
First downs 13 22
Rushes-yards 42-157 34-191
Passing yards 48 303
Return yards 151 24
Passes 3-7-0 20-30-0
Punts 5-33.8 2-34.5
Fumbles-lost 4-3 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-36 7-53
RUSHING -- Bartlett: Anthony 15-100, Honore 9-38, Parker 3-24, Brons 3-12, King-Dunbar 12-(-17). Service: Murakami 16-68, Aukusitino 5-49, Ilalio 5-38, Pili 4-33, Raguindin 1-2.
PASSING -- Bartlett: King-Dunbar 3-7-0--48. Service: Aukusitino 16-23-0--226, Toomer 4-5-0--77, Murakami 0-0-0--0.
RECEIVING -- Bartlett: Anthony 2-35, Honore 1-13. Service: Busey 9-182, Butler 5-38, Williamson 3-53, Ilalio 2-15, Lambe 1-17.
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News