The South football team tuned up for the state large-school playoffs by tuning up Dimond 47-0 at Anchorage Football Stadium on Saturday night.
The Wolverines, who entered their Cook Inlet Conference regular-season finale already locked into the league's No. 2 playoff seed, posted their third shutout this season, all in conference play.
They limited the Lynx to a mere 109 yards total offense and an average of just 1.98 yards per play from scrimmage and plucked four turnovers to win their homecoming.
Coming off a 75-41 win over West last week after surrendering a combined 30 points to their first five CIC opponents, South's defense regained some swagger heading into the postseason.
"Every game, we're going out for a shutout, and we got it,'' said South linebacker Dalton Sauder. "(Giving up 41 points to West) was upsetting, and we came out and played with a chip on our shoulder. The coaches worked us hard this week. Now it's time to work even harder.''
The Wolverines (6-2, 6-1 CIC) will entertain West Valley, the No. 3 seed out of the Railbelt Conference, in a quarterfinal Friday night at AFS.
After a slow start offensively -- a pair of three-and-outs -- South opened the scoring late in the first quarter on Zach Lujan's 55-yard touchdown pass to Wade Ellis. After Sharif Taha's interception and return on Dimond's first subsequent play from scrimmage, Lujan hit Louis Page with a 22-yard touchdown pass and Kahlil Autry ran in the two-point conversion.
Presto -- 15-0, South.
Lujan hit Ellis with a 29-yard touchdown pass with three seconds remaining in the first half and the Wolverines owned a 23-0 cushion at the break.
"We just wanted to get a head of steam heading into the playoffs,'' Lujan said. "We wanted to support our school on homecoming, our fans on homecoming, and win.''
Dimond (3-5, 3-4 CIC) lost its last three league games -- those came against No. 3 CIC playoff seed West, league champion and No. 1 seed Service, and South. Dimond's other league loss came against East, the league's No. 4 playoff seed.
South's Taylor Faagau, who parlayed 12 carries into a game-high 80 yards, rushed for a 13-yard touchdown in the second half. Tommy Hopp and Taha added short touchdown runs, and Eyob Imlach added a 32-yard field goal.
South's only serious shortcoming came from its 13 penalties, which prompted 93 yards of back-stepping. Dimond committed 12 penalties for 109 yards.
Still, the Wolverines played well for a team that didn't have anything tangible to gain. Granted, they played a Dimond team that entered knowing its season would end -- East's victory over Chugiak on Friday eliminated both Dimond and Chugiak from playoff contention.
"Our boys tonight realized if they want to make a run through the playoffs, they had to demonstrate that,'' said South coach John Lewis. "I thought we did a great job of that.''
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Dimond 0 0 0 0 -- 0
South 15 8 14 10 -- 47
South -- Ellis 55 pass from Lugan (Imlach kick), 3:03.
South -- Page 22 pass from Lujan (Autry run), 2:41
South -- Ellis 29 pass from Lujan (Taha run), :03.
South -- Faagau 13 run (Imlach kick), 10:06.
South -- Hopp 2 run (Imlach kick), 6:18.
South -- Taha 1 run (Imlach), 10:44.
South -- 32 FG Imlach, :27.
First downs 8 17
Rushes-yards 40-63 37-175
Passing yards 46 167
Return yards 116 124
Passes 6-15-2 11-23-1
Punts 5-27.8 3-28.7
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 12-109 13-93
RUSHING -- Dimond: Vasai 4-28, Unga 8-22, Sa. Liaga 8-21, Tufaga 14-14; St. Liaga 2-0, Pili 2-(-2), Jaworski 1-(-5), Team 1-(-15). South: Faagau 12-80, Taha 4-36, Autry 1-19, Stephan 2-13, Augafa 2-8, Williams 3-7, Settle 2-6, West 2-3, Hopp 1-2, Cook 1-1, Alsworth 1-0, Valdez 1-(-2).
PASSING -- Dimond: Sa. Liaga 6-15-2--46. South: Lujan 11-23-1--167.
RECEIVING -- Dimond: Pili 2-37, Brady 2-3, Tufaga 1-3 Lauwers 1-3. South: Ellis 3-86, Page 3-54, Toomey 2-18, Williams 2-7, Hoover 1-2.
East at Palmer
West Valley at South
Juneau at Service
West at North Pole
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News