High School Sports

Service forces nine turnovers to knock off previously unbeaten Dimond

Heading into the fifth week of the Alaska high school football season and coming off a Week 4 bye, Dimond had a lot on the line in its Cook Inlet Conference clash with Service on Saturday afternoon.

The Lynx were the only undefeated team left at the Division I level and in sole possession of first place in the conference standings. It was also their homecoming game.

But the Lynx looked more rusty than rested as Service forced nine Dimond turnovers in a 28-14 upset win.

“It was their homecoming and we were just trying to come in here and win and ruin their homecoming,” Service wide receiver Austin French said.

French was one of five defenders that intercepted Dimond junior quarterback Carson Wingate and he also caught one of Service senior quarterback Jonathon Tautua’s three total touchdowns in the game.

Junior safety Milo Tremblay led the Cougars with a pair of interceptions, both of which came in the end zone and thwarted promising drives for the Lynx.

“Our defensive line created really good pressure and it led to (the interceptions),” Tremblay said.


His first interception was his most impressive as he was able to corral the errant pass before his momentum caused him to slide out of bounds.

“I saw the quarterback had his target before every play, you could tell,” Tremblay said. “I just looked at his eyes and they led me right to it.”

French’s 7-yard scoring reception in the fourth quarter was the most impressive offensive play of the game from either team. He went over a pair of defenders in the back of the end zone and managed to stay in bounds.

“I was surprised I caught it too,” French said. “I stumbled a little bit, got up, tracked the ball. It was exciting. He throws it up to us and knows us so well. ... He trusts us enough to throw it up and see what happens.”

The first play of the game was indicative of how the day would ultimately unfold for the Lynx when senior Javonte Walls fumbled the opening kickoff. It set the Cougars up for a short scoring drive that was capped by a 13-yard quarterback scramble from Tautua for the first points of the game.

Service recorded its first two interceptions of Wingate before Dimond got on the board on a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter by sophomore quarterback Cayden Pili in his first game back from injury. The Lynx took an 8-7 lead on the successful two-point conversion after Pili connected with Hank Hausia.

The spark he provided wouldn’t last long as soon after he would leave the game and not return in the second half after reaggravating his injury.

Dimond held a narrow one-point lead until late in the third quarter when Service scored 14 points in 19 seconds.

“It was so close for a very long time, so after halftime, we came out mad and we just executed better,” French said

First came a 24-yard touchdown catch by Chris Thompson off a tipped pass from Tautua. On the first play of the ensuing possession, William Anderson jumped an out-route and returned Wingate’s fourth interception 21 yards to the house.

“We were really excited,” Tremblay said. “It was a tight game and pretty sloppy at the beginning but that really changed the momentum of the game. It really helped us win.”

Although they won the turnover battle, the Cougars lost a couple of fumbles as well.

French intercepted Wingate on the first play of the very next possession and would’ve had a second straight pick-six for Service but his return was called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty.

Service will play Hillside rival South Anchorage in the annual Southside Cup this weekend and the Cougars hope they can carry the momentum of their big win over Dimond into next week and beyond.

“This sets up great for the rest of the season,” Tremblay said. “We’re ready, not cocky, and we know every team will be ready.”

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.