Service’s defense stopped Wasilla twice in the waning minutes Saturday to earn a 14-6, non-conference win in the first football game played on the Cougars’ new turf field.
After scoring on the first drive of the game, Service reached the end zone late in the fourth quarter when Zyrelle Jones rolled to his right and connected on a 3-yard strike to Emetrius McLeod.
The Cougars looked poised to run out the clock when they forced a turnover on downs in four straight plays, giving them possession with two minutes to go. But Service running back Denzel Hogan fumbled on the first play of the drive and Wasilla recovered on its own 38.
Enter Dominik Norman.
The sophomore linebacker sacked Wasilla quarterback Dylan Simons for a 3-yard loss and two plays later supplied heavy pressure to force an incompletion on fourth down. That all but sealed victory.
“We live and die by the blitz,” Service coach Kevin Kerns said.
Service started the game with a 17-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The Cougars converted on fourth down twice during the seven-minute drive.
Jones capped the drive with his first of two touchdown passes when he hit Trevon Allen over the middle on a 7-yard strike.
Jones finished with 101 passing yards, nearly half coming on a 45-yard screen to Hogan, which set up the Cougars’ second touchdown.
Wasilla made it a 7-6 game when Zachary Garnett took a sweep right in for a 6-yard score early in the second quarter.
Constant pressure on the ball keyed the defensive effort, Norman said.
Service held Wasilla to 118 rushing yards -- Devin Otto led all rushers with 88 yards on 26 carries – and 48 yards through the air.
The Warriors held Service to 189 yards on the ground and both teams forced two turnovers.
While Service has plenty of adjustments to make, Kern said his team found a way to earn the victory.
“Any way you can get it,” he said. “Whether it’s ugly or not.”
Wasilla 0 6 0 0 — 6
Service 7 0 0 7 — 14
Service — Allen 7 pass from Jones (Beelman kick), 5:13
Wasilla — Garnett 6 run (kick blocked), 9:08
Service — McLeod 3 pass from Jones (Beelman kick), 2:41
RUSHING — Wasilla: Otto 26-88, Garnett 8-28, Renk 2-9, Simons 5-2, Wolfe 1-(-9). Service: Hogan 13-67, Jones 8-20, Norman 7-46, Black 5-61, Park 1-(-5).
PASSING — Wasilla: Simons 6-16-1 — 48. Service: Jones 12-22-1 — 101.
RECEIVING — Wasilla: Garnett 3-30, Morrison 1-7, Wolfe 1-11, Otto 1-0. Service: Allen 4-49, Hogan 1-45, Wallender 4-4, McLeod 4-3.