ANCHORAGE - Another weekend, another episode of Cook Inlet Football Conference theatre.
Playing the protagonists were nearly every offensive skill-position player either fifth-ranked Juneau-Douglas or unranked Service put on the Anchorage Football Stadium turf Saturday afternoon.
The antagonists? Anyone on defense.
The Juneau-Douglas tandem of junior running back Brian Felix and senior wide receiver C.J. Keys combined for 456 of the Crimson Bears' 517 total offensive yards in a defense-deficient 42-35 win over Service.
Juneau, making its first road trip to Anchorage this season, improved to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in the CIFC and remained in the thick of the league's muddled playoff picture.
"It's wide open," Juneau coach Reilly Richey said.
Richey was talking about the CIFC standings, where four of seven teams entered Saturday with one league loss, although he could just have easily have been talking about his team's track meet with Service.
Relying on Felix's relentless running, Juneau carried a seven-point lead (21-14) into the final quarter and notched the first seven points of the fourth on sophomore Ryan Fagerstrom's 9-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Mark Shilling.
Then the fun really began.
The Juneau and Service offenses went off in the final 12 minutes, combining for an Arena Football League-like 42 points and 415 yards of total offense. The teams finished the game with 999 yards of combined offense.
The back-and-forth drama really picked up when Service senior running back Anthony Jones hooked up with senior quarterback Trevor Jones on a pair of long touchdown passes in a 65-second span. Anthony Jones beat Juneau linebacker Jake Ritter in single coverage twice, one for an 87-yard scoring strike with 10 minutes, 2 seconds left and another for 61 yards at 8:57. The second touchdown tied the game 28-28.
Then it was Juneau's turn.
Felix, who ran the ball 39 times for 237 yards, carried five times on the next drive. Fagerstrom, playing in his first varsity game, caught a 22-yard pass as well. Juneau worked its way into the red zone before Shilling looked for Keys, who was as reliable a weapon as Felix.
On second-and-goal from Service's 15-yard line, Shilling rolled to his left and lofted a pass to Keys in the front-left corner of the end zone. The catch was the sixth of Keys' seven receptions and gave Juneau a 35-28 lead. Keys finished with 185 receiving yards.
"And it was all because of Brian (Felix)," Keys said. "If it wasn't for him and the way he ran, we couldn't have done anything."
Oh yeah, Felix. He scored three first-half touchdowns and put Juneau up 42-28 with a 1-yard scoring plunge with 2:19 left. The 6-foot, 196-pound back doesn't deke, dip or spin. He crushed Service defenders with a lowered shoulder near the goal line on two second-quarter scores. Felix doesn't get punished. He punishes.
"The main thing I do is run straight," he said. "If someone is coming toward me, so be it. Nothing really goes through your mind during the runs, but sometimes you might get a little angry in practice during the week and look forward to getting some of that out during the games."
Felix's final touchdown gave Juneau a two-touchdown lead. Service marched down the field to score with 47 seconds left on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Jones to Kyle Haysmer (9 receptions, 103 yards). Trevor Jones threw for 360 yards, 243 of them in the fourth
"It's tough," said Anthony Jones, who totaled 186 receiving yards. "We haven't been coming out with the same fire in the first half of games that we have in the second half. I can't put a finger on it."
Keenan Green recovered Service's pop-up kickoff off a Juneau player to give the Cougars (2-3, 1-3) one last chance to tie in the final seconds. But then someone finally played defense. It was Keys, who is also a Juneau defensive back. He picked off Trevor Jones at the 1-yard line with less than 10 seconds remaining.
"We were in the prevent defense and the ball was thrown in my zone," Keys said.
CRIMSON BEARS 42, COUGARS 35
Saturday's game from Anchorage Football Stadium
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 6 15 0 21 - 42
SERVICE 7 7 0 21 - 35
Juneau-Douglas - Felix 1 run (kick failed), 7:42.
Service - Tr. Jones 8 run (Sundquist kick), 0:38.
Juneau-Douglas - Felix 9 run (Keys pass from M. Shilling), 3:58.
Juneau-Douglas - Felix 5 run (Isett kick), 2:23.
Service - Staser 8 run (Sundquist kick), 1:19.
Juneau-Douglas - Fagerstrom 9 pass from M. Shilling (Isett kick), 10:46.
Service - An. Jones 87 pass from Tr. Jones (Sundquist kick), 10:02.
Service - An. Jones 61 pass from Tr. Jones (Sundquist kick), 8:57.
Juneau-Douglas - Keys 15 pass from M. Shilling (Isett kick), 5:08.
Juneau-Douglas - Felix 1 run (Isett kick), 2:19.
Service - Haysmer 4 pass from Tr. Jones (Sundquist kick), 0:47.
First downs 20 20
Rushes-yards 56-301 34-122
Passing yards 216 360
Return yards 109 55
Comp-att-int 9-13-0 24-33-1
Punts-ave 3-32.3 5-30.6
Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-yards 7-52 7-58
RUSHING - Juneau-Douglas: Felix 39-237, Keys 5-34, Talamai 5-14, I. Topui 4-14, M. Shilling 3-2. Service: Staser 24-114, An. Jones 5-12, Tr. Jones 5-(-4).
PASSING - Juneau-Douglas: M. Shilling 9-13-0 - 216. Service: Tr. Jones 24-33-1 - 360.
RECEIVING - Juneau-Douglas: Keys 7-185, Fagerstrom 2-31. Service: Haysmer 9-103, An. Jones 5-186, Sundquist 6-25, Mobley 3-39, Staser 1-7.