The South Wolverines showed they shouldn’t be overlooked Saturday afternoon by knocking off the previously undefeated West Eagles 46-34 at South High.
Led by senior quarterback Slade Schuster and his five touchdowns, South won its first football game of the season in commanding fashion.
“It was a statement game,” South wide receiver Austin Kile said. “We came in here knowing we’re a good team. We hadn’t proved it the last couple weeks and we’re just trying to prove how good we can be. I think we proved that today.”
During the game, news of East’s Saturday afternoon loss to Juneau circulated on the sidelines. The Thunderbirds’ 39-28 loss left West as Alaska’s only undefeated Division I team.
By the end of the night, there were no more undefeated teams.
South improved to 1-1 in the Cook Inlet Conference and 1-2 overall. West fell to 3-1 in the CIC and 3-1 overall.
Schuster got it done on the ground and in the air, with two touchdowns coming on runs and three on passes.
“I was just putting the ball where coach told me to and we ended up in the end zone a couple of times,” he said.
All three of his passing touchdowns went to Kile, who also came up with several clutch grabs when the Wolverines needed to move the chains from long or short distance.
Schuster completed 26 of 44 passes for 271 yards, and Kile collected seven catches for 123 yards.
West didn’t make it easy for the Wolverines. The Eagles punished South receivers with big hits when they came across the middle, contested nearly every catch that wasn’t to a wide-open target and made several well-timed pass breakups in tight coverage.
“You got to be willing to put everything on the line for your boys, the other 10 on the field, everybody on the sideline, be ready at all times and be tough,” Kile said.
South senior center Bearyn Luey said one of the offensive line’s goals was to limit the impact of the Eagles’ massive front seven, led by linebacker Brandon Amiatu-Tanoi.
“He was our biggest fear we had but we controlled him well,” he said. “We wanted to keep our feet going, hands going and keep it fluid.”
South’s other touchdowns came from seniors Kai Coleman and Cache Bridges.
Coleman scored on a 1-yard halfback dive after initially getting stopped at the line of scrimmage, and Bridges scored on a 45-yard interception return. Bridges undercut a pass from West quarterback Harrison Steeves-Litte and had nothing but green turf in front of him on his way to the end zone.
West provided some late fireworks with a 79-yard touchdown on a connection from quarterback Jaideven SueSue to Quentin Underwood with less than two minutes left, but the game belonged to the Wolverines by then.
“Our start wasn’t that strong and everybody thought that we were going to come out flat against West, and obviously we didn’t come out that flat,” Luey said.
Week 4 scores
Bartlett 14, Dimond 8
Colony 34, Wasilla 14
Eagle River 20, Palmer 13
Houston 32, Kenai 2
Juneau 39, East 28
Redington 42, Monroe 20
Soldotna 48, Service 34
South 46, West 34
Valdez 66, Eielson 24
Chugiak-West Valley, cancelled
North Pole-Lathrop, postponed to Sept. 25