Last season, the Chugiak High School football team finished with a 5-4 record, making it to the state tournament only to get beat in the first round by Service.
The regular season was a roller coaster for the Mustangs who beat West (the eventual state champs) and Service (the runners-up). Following their regular season win against the Cougars, the Mustangs were blown out at South 56-0 and at home to Bartlett 32-9. Needless to say, there were some issues with consistency.
But that was last year.
In head coach Roger Spackman’s first season at the helm, Chugiak is switching out its old “pound it out” offense to a more finesse and pass-happy one that will rely a lot more on talent rather than size.
“We have some really good skill players,” Spackman said. “We’ve got a quarterback that can really throw and a lot of good receivers, running backs. So we’ve got to put those guys in positions to be successful.”
The new offense will require a lot of good decision-making at the quarterback position — a spot that is junior Ben Stewart’s to lose. Stewart started last season as a sophomore.
“Last year gave me a lot of opportunities to learn more about defenses and learn about just football in general,” Stewart said. “It gives me a lot more experience to know when to check out of things, check into things. It makes my overall game better.”
Stewart is among a handful of returning starters for Coach Spackman’s debut season, but maybe the most “key” returners, according to the head coach, are the guys who do not put on a helmet — assistant coaches Ryan Landers and Keeton Homer.
All eyes will be on the new coach and his quick pass attack in 2014 as they look for a repeat showing in the state tournament.