If there was ever a night when the Colony Knights needed their defense and special teams to do most of the heavy lifting, it was Friday.
Kicker Johnny Figgins made three field goals, defensive back Willem Erickson had three interceptions and defensive linemen Reese Rodriguez, Nolan Gallager and Quilan Meehl combined for three sacks and a safety to key a 25-14 win over Dimond in the Valley.
Colony’s defense and special teams combined to outscore the offense 13-12 as the defending state champion Knights clinched a home playoff game in next week’s ASAA Division I state quarterfinals.
Figgins was fabulous – as a kicker and punter. Already the best boot man in the Cook Inlet Conference, he took it to another level Friday.
A historical level as Figgins became at least the fourth Alaska high school player to kick three field goals in a game, joining Colony’s Michael Benson in 2003, Dimond’s Alcides Thomas in 2010 and Eielson’s JJ Friske in 2012.
THIS WEEK IN THE CIC
Colony 25, Dimond 14
West 41, Service 0
South at Juneau 3pm
Bartlett at East 4pm
Alcides was the first CIC player to hit the trifecta after he was good from 44, 25 and 32 yards to highlight a 9-6 win over South.
Figgins split the uprights from 36, 40 and 39 yards to make him 7-for-8 on the season. Three weeks ago, he connected on a school-record 41-yarder.
Figgins was also productive as a punter with a 62-yarder in the second quarter and a 55-yarder in third quarter.
His finest punt came on a 36-yarder in the fourth quarter after a high snap went through his hands and over his head. That’s usually a sign for disaster, but Figgins gathered the bouncing ball under duress and somehow got off a punt that rolled to the Dimond 4-yard line.
Three plays later, the Knights of the gridiron gathered in the Lynx backfield as Rodriguez, Gallager and Meehl sacked Dimond quarterback Carson Wingate in the end zone for a safety.
It was one of eight tackles for loss by the Colony defense, which held Dimond to 12 rushing yards in the game. They battered and blasted ball carriers, landing several big, bone-jarring hits.
Dimond found success on pass plays over the middle, the area of the field where most of the 263 yards in the air were accumulated. Wingate had 180 and backup Caleb Cooke added 83; they spread the ball around to six different receivers.
Each signal caller threw a TD pass in the second quarter to make up for a slow start. Dimond punted on its first four possessions and was held to minus-2 yards in the first quarter.
CIC Football Standings
But things were different in the second quarter. It took two plays for Wingate to go 59 yards for a score, hitting Talen Copeland on back-to-back throws, including a 31-yard bomb in the end zone after Copeland beat two defenders.
Dimond used a little razzle dazzle to set up Cooke’s TD pass that came with 0.9 seconds left in the first half. Wingate was under center and motioned Cooke from the slot. Cooke took the pitch and sliding to his left lofted a beautiful throw to Javonte Walls in the end zone from 25 yards out.
Copeland finished with three receptions for 72 yards (he also had a pick on defense) while Walls had four catches for 45 yards. Other top receivers included Josiah James (3-56), Hank Hausia (4-52) and Dominic Tubin (1-26).
Colony’s defensive backs shut down the aerial assault to shut out the Lynx in the second half. Erickson had three picks, Trevor Jamison interception a fourth-down pass in the end zone and Cody Lindstrom ended the game with a pick.
Dimond’s defense was just as fierce. Led by Lamar Heanu, the Lynx furnished 10 tackles for loss.
Heanu gave a Herculean effort up front with 15 stops, a sack and a half dozen tackles for loss.
One of Colony’s best plays wasn’t necessarily in the playbook. It was a hard count by quarterback Marley Fakatoumafi, a freshman with poise beyond his years. Six times, Fakatoumafi drew a 5-yard encroachment penalty on Dimond by causing defenders to jump offsides.
He also showcased his awesome ability as an option quarterback when he pitched to Bryce Guzman for an 8-yard game. It was only one play, but it was a throwback to when teams regularly played that way.
Colony racked up 116 rushing yards, with Guzman carrying the load with 26 carries for 107 yards and two TDs. Both scoring runs came on 8-yard sprints.
Dimond 0 14 0 0 – 14
Colony 3 14 3 5 – 25
Colony – Figgins 36 FG
Colony – Guzman 8 run (Figgins kick)
Dimond – Copeland 31 pass from Wingate (Walls pass from Wingate)
Colony – Guzman 8 run (Figgins kick)
Dimond – Walls 25 pass from Cooke (pass failed)
Colony – Figgins 40 FG
Colony – Safety, Wingate tackled in end zone
Colony – Figgins 39 FG