The rematch of last year's state championship football game didn't disappoint Friday night — unless you're a Service Cougars fan.
West's defense held strong the entire game in a 23-20 Cook Inlet Conference victory over the Cougars at Service High.The Cougars roared back from a 23-0 deficit but West's Shanai Leon deprived them of completing the comeback, twice picking off second-half passes at the goal line.
The Eagles preserved the win with a gutsy call that led to a game-winning offensive play. Facing fourth-and-1 at its own 40 with 1:40 left, West chose to go for it rather than punt. Quarterback P.J. Seui ran around the right end for a 45-yard gain and the first down, and after that Seui took a knee on three straight plays as time expired.
Defense came through repeatedly for West (2-1 overall, 1-1 CIC). The Eagles jumped to a 7-0 lead on Dave Tuilimu's fumble recovery in the end zone and added a safety when Will Fehoka blocked a Service punt out of the end zone.
Seui made it 16-0 when he dashed six yards on a quarterback draw early in the second quarter. An 89-yard run by Jordan Murchinson made it 23-0 with 4:51 left in the half, and that's all the points West needed.
A 10-yard run by Zyrelle Jones put Service on the scoreboard 32.4 seconds before halftime.
Service (2-1, 1-1) added second-half touchdowns on Darren Tatum's one-yard run and Dominik Norman's 24-yard run.
The win put West back in the win column after a loss last week to Dimond. The Lynx won again on Friday, improving to 2-1 overall by handing West Valley its third loss in as many games this sesaon.
Rocky Vasai scored twice for the Lynx, running eight yards to help Dimond to a 16-7 halftime lead and then going 58 yards after Dimond forced a fumble, making it 23-7 in the third quarter.
The game was close at the start. Dimond's Rafa Zavala took a 16-yard pass from Jeremiah Maga for the early 6-0 lead, but West Valley came back with Xavier Jones' 23-yard scoring run. Wyatt Marshall's PAT kick gave West Valley a 7-6 lead near the end of the first quarter. Dimond took the lead for good about four minutes into the second quarter on Cedarian Brunell's 36-yard field goal.