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Alaska High School Football Champs


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South High School won the Alaska State Football title this year, and its only their third year as a school, i find that very impressive. The only reason why i really know this is because my cousin goes to South HS (hes not on the football team though).


South upends Colony

Skillern interceptions help land 26-16 victory


Anchorage Daily News

(Published: October 22, 2006)

As Ryan Skillern shagged fly balls in the outfield for South's baseball team this past summer, he had no idea how his catching skills would pay off months later.

And to think it would happen on an artificial turf football field instead of a grassy baseball diamond in the biggest football game of South High's three-year history.

On a chilly but sunny autumn afternoon in front of about 3,600 fans, Anchorage Football Stadium became Skillern's catching cathedral as his stealth defense and a fourth-quarter comeback helped the top-ranked South Wolverines triumph with a 26-16 victory over the second-ranked Colony Knights in the First National Bowl on Saturday.

So why did Skillern, raised to play with cowhide, turn to pigskin his senior year?

"Championship, baby -- this is the reason I joined," said the first-year player. "I wanted to be part of a championship team. And I couldn't have picked a better group of guys to do it with."

Not only did South (11-0) win its first large-schools state title in just three years of existence, but it finished perfect, going undefeated in dramatic fashion while keeping Colony (9-2) from its first state title.

"It was a dog fight," South head coach John Lewis said. "Our boys just turned it on."

Skillern couldn't have picked a better game in which to shine.

Swarmed by a herd of South fans who rushed the field in pure jubilation, they thanked him for his two game-changing interceptions.

The first came on Colony's opening drive, which led to Steven Anderson's 2-yard touchdown run to put South ahead 7-0. The score gave South first-half momentum.

The Wolverines headed into the locker room with a 13-0 lead after senior quarterback Grant Stophlet heaved a 55-yard pass to junior tight end Sterling Lopez. The defense also held the state's top running back, senior Chebon Jimenez to just 17 yards on seven carries.

"They came out more fired up in the first half," Colony head coach Jamie Mayo said. "We put ourselves in too big of a hole."

But Colony, frequently a dominating third-quarter team, barreled out of the locker room fired up, keeping its trust in Jimenez.

He rushed for 54 yards on a 10-play drive nearly six minutes long, and scored on a 16-yard run to cut South's lead to 13-7.

Jimenez, who finished with a game-high 134 rushing yards on 25 carries, wasn't finished.

On South's next drive, Colony defensive back Regis Price picked off Stophlet's pass and returned it 30 yards, placing the Knights on South's 10-yard line.

Just 27 seconds after his first touchdown, Jimenez scored again on a 10-yard run at 5:46 to knot the score at 13.

On the extra point attempt, the snap went high into the place holder's hands, but kicker George Percak-Dennett grabbed it and scrambled toward the end zone's right corner. He dove and knocked over the neon-orange pylon, but officials ruled him out of bounds.

But the Knights had another chance to take the lead as South was hit with a roughing-the-snapper penalty. This time, the Knights attempted a two-point conversion. The run failed and the score remained 13-13.

Percak-Dennett, however, eventually gave Colony a 16-13 lead at 3:56 when he booted a 38-yard field goal -- the longest field goal in state championship history. The previous record of 29 yards was set in 1994 by Service's Nick Sullivan.

Lewis, the Wolverines' third-year coach who normally wears his South cap backward during games, turned its brim around.

His Wolverines, meanwhile, turned up their offensive mojo.

"I knew (Colony was) going to be champs" if South didn't retaliate, Lewis said. "So I had to change the mojo around."

Less than a minute into the fourth quarter on fourth-and-2, Stophlet rifled a 7-yard touchdown pass to Drew Hisey, putting South ahead 19-16.

Hisey, who was standing just inside the goal line, was pushed out as he was tackled, but the officials discussed it and ruled it a touchdown.

"They were looking for me deep and Grant found me on a short route," Hisey said. "I got my foot in and it got our momentum up."

On Colony's next drive, Jimenez gained 22 yards on three plays to put the Knights into South territory. But South's "dark-side" defense sacked Colony quarterback Teddy Babcock to force fourth-and-long.

The punt snap sailed over the head of punter Matt Norton and Colony lost 26 yards to put South on Colony's 20.

South's top rusher Leeanthony Jenkins, who finished with 81 yards on 15 carries, rushed 17 yards on three plays. And on fourth-and-goal, Brian Hunsicker skirted 2 yards for the touchdown, giving South a 26-16 lead.

"There's nothing more nerve racking than a fourth-down call," Hunsicker said. "It was ballsy, but I knew I had to make it."

With less than six minutes remaining, Colony charged back with an eight-play, 54-yard drive, hoping to trim South's lead to three points.

During the drive, Skillern was jabbed in both eyes, leaving him blinded. He went off the turf, grabbed a water bottle and splashed water on his face to try and clear his vision.

Though it didn't work well, Skillern kept playing.

"It was really hard to see," Skillern said. "(But) we have kids playing with broken fingers, so I'm not going to limp off the field with broken eyes."

With Colony on South's 5-yard line, Babcock tossed a pass intended for Ryan Coffman, but Skillern snagged it, blindly, and returned it 31 yards to put the state trophy in South's hands.

"He's probably the most athletic kid on the field," Hisey said about Skillern. "He can make big plays when he needs to. He's just a natural football player."

Some fans sported black-and-gold paint on their chests and some chanted "Un-de-fea-ted!," while they hugged their rookie defensive back.

And it was then when he finally felt like a certified member of the South-side family.

"I'm so glad I came out for football," Skillern said. "Colony said (its) team is a family; this team is a family."

heres a link for some video highlights


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