The few Chugiak fans that made the trip to East High School football stadium to watch the girls flag football game were treated to a real nail biter.
It appeared as though “Murphy” was pacing on the Chugiak sideline for almost the entire game as whatever could go wrong, did go wrong for the Mustangs much of the game. In fact, it began before the game even started. During warm-up drills, Mariah Perish stepped on a teammates foot which rolled her ankle. She was attended to by medics and she watched the game in a soft cast and a bag of ice.
With 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter, quarterback Chasity Horn threw a long pass which was intercepted and ended a mounting Mustang drive. It happened again with 2.7 seconds remaining in the first half. First down conversions were few, by both teams. Neither team was able to get the ball inside the 30 yard line until midway through the third quarter. A sustained Mustang drive ended on the three yard line. The Mustangs just couldn’t get the ball across the goal line. East subsequently took over on downs. Murphy showed up again in the third period when a wide open Eva Palmer couldn’t hang onto a near perfect pass from quarterback Chasity Horn as time ran out, ending the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, there was Murphy, this time with a touchdown pass from Horn to Aliikak Gates. Referees ruled Horn’s flag was pulled prior to the pass resulting in no touchdown. With under two minutes to play, Mustangs marching down the field with several first down conversions, Horn was again intercepted ending hopes of a score. The Mustang’s got the ball back after East went four and out with 54.4 seconds remaining in the game. Chugiak head coach Marilyn Campnell called a time out giving the Mustangs time to make a plan. With the ball on East’s 30 yard line, the Mustangs took to the field determined. In two plays, Chugiak made it to their own 35. On third down, Horn took the snap looking to pass, finding no receivers open, ran the ball to the one yard line. With 12.6 seconds remaining, fourth down, Horn on the quarterback keeper ran up the middle for the touchdown. The extra point by Eva Palmer was good and the Mustangs went up 7-0. The mustang defense held the line, and time ran out for the Thunderbirds.
Following the game, Coach Campnell said she was very proud of her team, “They never ever gave up. It was a dog fight to the bitter end.”
A smiling Eva Palmer related, “That was intense! We had to keep going for it. East is our main competition.”
Quarterback Chasity Horn said, “The defense really saved us tonight and our offense really picked up at the end. I was very excited to end the game with a TD!”
In the end, the Chugiak Mustangs defeated the East Thunderbirds, Murphy, and his “law” on a chilly evening in East Anchorage.
Daniel Shepard is a freelance photojournalist and regular contributor for the ECHO News. He lives and owns a photography business in Eagle River. To learn more about Dan Shepard Photography, visit dan-shepardphotography.com. To reach Dan, email: email@example.com.