Service quarterback Stephanie Compton struggled with her throwing motion Tuesday in the first half of a Cook Inlet Conference flag football game at Anchorage Football Stadium, but things improved drastically in the second half.
Compton threw for a touchdown, ran for another and threw for two extra points after the intermission, leading the Cougars to a come-from-behind 14-6 win over South.
"I practiced at halftime, got my feet under me," Compton said. "I kinda got my head on straight, and our defense kept playing strong and we got our offense going."
Service (1-1) closed the first half with a solid defensive effort that kept South (0-2) from taking a command in g lead. On their last two drives of the half, the Wolverines drove inside the Cougars' 25-yard line, but were stymied twice.
"First half, we just missed too many opportunities, passes that should have been caught, a missed snap on the 3-yard line," South coach Melanie Sugita said.
The crucial botched snap came in the final minute of the first half. South led 6-0 after a 5-yard first-quarter touchdown run by senior quarterback Sierra Mains. The Wolverines were poised to add to the lead on fourth-and-goal, but South's snapper sent the ball over Mains' head and Service took over on downs at its 15.
Service kept momentum rolling in its favor at the start of the second half, opening with a 20-yard run from Keaira Caldarera. A roughing-the-passer penalty on South set the Cougars up with first-and-goal from the 20, and Service later tied the score at 6-6 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Compton to Shallyn Strahle. Zoey Bailey gave Service a 7-6 lead on a 3-yard extra point pass from Compton.
The Service defense remained stout, forcing South into a quick three-and-out on its first possession of the second half, and Shannon Wilson returned the ensuing punt 45 yards to set the Cougars up with first-and-goal from the South 2 as the third quarter ended.
"As soon as they returned that punt, the air just went out of our sails," Sugita said. "You could just see the whole demeanor go down."
Compton put the Cougars up 13-6 at the start of the fourth quarter, running a quarterback sweep to the left, and then the Compton-Bailey connection worked for another extra point to put the Cougars ahead 14-6.
With more than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, plenty of time remained for South to mount a drive, but it was Bailey who put the nail in the coffin when she intercepted a pass from Mains near midfield and returned it 28 yards to the South 30.
"I really wasn't expecting it to come to me," Bailey said. "I was just lucky to be in the right position."
Both teams are still working out some early-season kinks, with South starting just one returning player in Mains, and Service running an entirely new offensive system. Bailey said Service is improving every day at practice, so she was thrilled to see the Cougars' hard work pay off with their first win.
"I think it was great and it probably boosted our confidence a lot," She said.
Chugiak 19, Eagle River 0
Chugiak rode a second-half surge to a 19-0 win over host Eagle River in a CIC flag football game Tuesday.
Chugiak quarterback Ashleigh Sitz threw two touchdown passes, connecting with Hannah Puterbaugh and Carly Metcalf to put the Mustangs up by two scores. Kiera Byman scored the game's final touchdown on an 11-yard run.
Sammi McMullen led the Chugiak defense with five pulls and an interception, and Grace Ogden put a stop to one of Eagle River's best drives with a key first-half interception.
Dimond 27, West 6
Dimond's Tara Thompson threw for three touchdowns and ran for 75 yards Tuesday at Dimond Alumni Field, helping the Lynx forge a 27-6 CIC flag football win over West.
Rachel Brady hauled in two touchdown passes from Thompson, scoring from five yards and 24 yards on her way to 49 total yards. Kalie Suellentrop caught a four-yard touchdown pass, and Haley Martin gained the bulk of her 73 rushing yards on a 35-yard touchdown run.
Vanessa Tufaga led Dimond with six pulls, and Gabby Coleman contributed five pulls and one interception.
Michaela Winchester caught a 7-yard touchdown pass for West's only score.
Reach Jeremy Peters at email@example.com or 257-4335.
By JEREMY PETERS
Anchorage Daily News