The only thing more impressive than the 220 yards combined rushing West running backs Lincoln Tulimasaelii and Nathen Sailele delivered in Saturday night's 48-13 win over Chugiak was how many of those yards came after contact.
Figure at least half of them.
With that tough tandem shredding tackles and quarterback Conor Feckley doing his usual thing, the Eagles generated 454 yards total offense -- nearly all of that came in the first three quarters at Anchorage Football Stadium -- to easily win the Cook Inlet Conference football game.
Offensive explosions are nothing new for the Eagles (2-1, 2-0 CIC) since Feckley, a senior, took over directing the offense as a sophomore. But the fireworks usually come primarily through the air.
Tulimasaelii and Sailele gave the Eagles another dimension.
"It's a great feeling,'' Sailele said. "Throughout the week, the coaches told me to be a menace. I'm using that as my 'pump-up.' I know we're a spread offense, but we need to be able to run the ball too.''
Feckley said a punishing ground game can keep defenses from solely concentrating on getting to him and also takes pressure off his crew of receivers, which doesn't feature the depth of his previous two seasons.
Tulimasaelii rushed nine times for 130 yards and two touchdowns, and Sailele furnished 90 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
"We're a different team than we've been,'' said West coach Tim Davis. "We're big and we're fairly physical, and we had to change some things.
"But we want to be multiple, and run and pass.''
Davis said he and his staff have been constantly preaching to the running backs that they need to greet the defense with purpose and "disabuse the other team of the notion they can tackle you.''
After Feckley hit Randall Wilson with a 36-yard touchdown pass early, Tulimasaelii added a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Sailele opened the second quarter with a 9-yard scoring run to give the Eagles a quick 21-0 cushion.
Tulimasaelii, a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder, said his offensive line continually opened holes that allowed he and Sailele (5-11, 200) to hit the openings hard and make it difficult for the Mustangs to bring them down on first contact.
"Props to those guys for their blocking,'' Tulimasaelii said. "I couldn't get any of those yards without my teammates.''
Feckley completed 14 of 24 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns, and also rushed for one touchdown.
Chugiak (0-3, 0-2 CIC) compounded its problems with four turnovers, including three lost fumbles.
"When you're on a short field and they can run it up your nose, it makes for a long night,'' said Mustangs coach Duncan Shackelford.
Feckley also threw touchdown passes of 7 yards to Eric Vandervort and 24 yards to Tyrone Davis. Vandervort caught four passes for 67 yards and Davis caught seven passes for 76 yards.
Chugiak got both its touchdowns through the air.
Matt Oldenkamp latched onto a perfectly thrown deep ball from David Mayhew for a 64-yard strike in the second quarter. He also caught a 3-yard scoring pass from Mayhew as time expired in the game, which was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter because of the mercy rule.
"They kind of showed me something there at the end,'' Shackelford said.
The officials, however, would not allow the Mustangs to try an extra-point or two-point conversion, saying it didn't matter in the outcome of the game.
But one of the tie-breakers used for playoff consideration in the CIC is defensive points allowed, so theoretically an extra point or two-point conversion allowed by West could matter.
Even so, the key point in Saturday's game was West's ability to run the ball often and effectively.
"Teams should watch out now,'' Tulimasaelii said.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Chugiak 0 7 0 6 -- 13
West 12 21 13 0 -- 48
West -- Wilson 36 pass from Feckley (Carson kick), 7:07.
West -- Tulimasaelii 3 run (Carson kick), 4:40.
West -- Sailele 9 run (Carson kick), 11:21.
Chugiak -- Oldenkamp 64 pass from Mayhew (Wilson kick), 6:59.
West -- Tulimasaelii 2 run (Carson kick), 4:37.
West -- Vandervort 7 pass from Feckley (Carson kick), :13.
West -- Davis 24 pass from Feckley (pass failed), 5:30.
West -- Feckley 5 run (Carson kick), 1:27.
Chugiak -- Oldenkamp 3 pass from Mayhew (no extra point or conversion allowed by officials), :00.
First Downs 10 18
Rushing yards 33-103 32-247
Passing yards 116 207
Return yards 177 66
Passes 8-14-1 14-24-0
Punts 3-24.3 2-24.0
Penalties-yards 1-5 11-77
Fumbles-lost 4-3 1-0
Rushing -- Chugiak: Timberlake 7-41, Prince 7-30, Benzel 5-20, Forbush 1-10, Mayhew 8-10, Capers 3-5, Rohde 1-4, Team 1-(-17). West: Tulimasaelii 9-130, Sailele 11-90, Faamasino 4-29, Feckley 7-8, Auza 1-(-5), Bozzini 1-(-5).
Passing -- Chugiak: Mayhew 6-11-0--100, Prince 2-3-1--16. West: Feckley 14-24-0--207.
Receiving -- Chugiak: Timberlake 4-28, Oldenkamp 2-67, Rohde 1-18, Prince 1-3. West: Elliott 7-76, Vandervort 4-67, Wilson 2-46, Apulu 1-18.
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News