Football fans who savor offense were treated Friday night at Anchorage Football Stadium, where South and West combined for more than 1,000 yards and set a Cook Inlet Conference record with 116 combined points.
South put points on the board on 12 separate occasions to emerge with a 75-41 victory, spoiling West's homecoming by handing the Eagles their first CIC loss. Both teams are 5-1 in the CIC and 5-2 overall, putting them in a tie for second place behind Service with one week remaining in the regular season.
South piled up 527 yards of total offense and West checked in with 515, but turnovers were the difference.
West dug itself a deep hole with three first-half turnovers and trailed 40-13 at halftime. West made it a game and pulled within 13 points by outscoring the Wolverines 28-14 in the third quarter, but a 32-yard interception return by South's Wade Ellis 30 seconds into the fourth quarter just about sealed the Wolverines' win. Another West interception led to Ellis catching his second touchdown pass less than 30 seconds later for the game's final score.
"A South team has never scored that many points," said Ellis, who finished with 88 yards on three catches. "It's a great feeling to be part of this and having scored in the game. That was a goal of ours this season, we wanted to break that record."
South's previous high came in a 70-0 romp over Eagle River in 2006. The only other CIC team to reach 75 points was East in a 75-0 shutout of Dimond in 2004, according to Anchorage sports historian Don Winchester. Service and Eagle River set the previous combined record for points at 102 when the Cougars beat the Wolves 66-36 last season, Winchester said.
West quarterback Conor Feckley was the most productive player Friday, totaling 400 yards, 395 through the air. Two West receivers, Leroy Elliot and Eric Vandervort were Feckley's favorite targets catching a combined 12 passes for 279 yards.
"We learned a lot today as a team," Feckley said. "We got a lot of work to do to get ready for Service on Thursday."
Feckley left the game late in the fourth quarter with an injury. He said he bumped his knee but will be ready for Service.
If West can beat Service in the rare Thursday game and South can win its game against Dimond next weekend, there will be a three-way tie for first in the CIC between Service, West and South. The Wolverines suffered their only conference loss to Service last weekend.
"This last week wasn't a fun week at practice, coming off a loss," Ellis said. "We needed this big game."
South took command early, opening the scoring on a 34-yard touchdown run from Jacob Hoover, followed by a safety and short touchdown run by Kahlil Autry. West bounced back with two unanswered scores to make it 15-13 in the second quarter, but South responded with four unanswered scores before halftime.
After a Feckley fumble led to Taylor Faagau's 1-yard touchdown plunge for South, Autry intercepted a Feckley pass to set up a 50-yard bomb from Zach Lujan to Ellis with 2:38 remaining in the half. Two possessions later, West conceded a safety when Feckley slid down in the back of the end zone with eight seconds remaining, but the strategy backfired when Faagau caught a short pass from Lujan and zig-zagged his way to a 48-yard touchdown on the final play of the half.
South 15 25 14 21 -- 75
West 7 6 28 0 -- 41
South -- Hoover 34 run (Imlach kick), 10:33
South -- Safety, blocked punt, 9:46
South -- Autry 4 run (kick blocked), 4:28
West -- Feckley 1 run (Carson kick), :27
West -- Tuilimu 3 run (kick fail), 7:29
South -- Faagau 1 run (Settle run), 3:02
South -- Ellis 50 pass from Lujan (Williams run), 2:38
South -- Safety, sack in the end zone, :08
South -- Faagau 48 pass from Lujan (Imlach kick), :00
West -- Tuilimu 5 run (Carson kick), 8:29
South -- Williams 73 run (Imlach kick), 7:17
West -- Vandervort 80 pass from Feckley (Carson kick), 7:04
West -- Elliot 38 pass from Feckley (Carson kick), 6:13
South -- Settle 3 run (Imlach kick), 3:14
West -- Vandervort 11 pass from Tulimasaelii (Carson kick), 1:19
South -- Ellis 32 interception return (Imlach kick), 11:30
South -- Ellis 23 pass from Lujan (Imlach kick), 11:03
South -- Williams 41 run (Imlach), 4:05
First Downs 17 23
Rushes-yards 43-277 30-109
Passing yards 250 406
Return yards 156 57
Passes 12-22-1 18-34-3
Punts 2-30.0 2-28.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 1 4-115 12-119
RUSHING -- South: Williams 5-124; Faagau 9-54; Hoover 5-50; Loewe 9-17; Hopp 5-15; Settle 3-6; Autrey 4-5; Lujan 2-4; team 1-2. West: Sailele 10-59; Tuilimu 7-38; Feckley 7-5; Tulimasaelii 1-4; Faamasino 4-3; Bozzini 1-0;
PASSING -- South: Lujan 12-22-1--250. West: Feckley 17-29-2-395; Tulimasaelii 1-2-1--11; Bozzini 0-3-0--0
RECEIVING -- South: Ellis 3-88; Brown 3-32; Faagau 2-66; Page 2-23; Autrey 1-26; Stephen 1-15. West: Elliott 8-145; Vandervort 4-134; Wilson 3-66; Carson 1-34; Sailele 1-27.Photos: South 75 West 41
By JEREMY PETERS
Anchorage Daily News