Anchorage Daily News email@example.com
October 24th, 2009 10:26 PM
The South rose to the occasion Saturday, getting three first-half defensive scores to bury the North 54-12 in the 32nd Annual Al Aska Shrine game at The Dome. West High quarterback Justin Kauffman, the state's Offensive Player of the Year, ran for two scores in the opening half as the South team raced out to a 32-0 lead. Kauffman scored the game's opening touchdown on a run from midfield, then later turned a busted play into gold by keeping the ball himself and pounding his way 10 yards up the middle into the end zone.
Following Kauffman's opening touchdown dash, the South squad recovered a fumble in the North end zone to push its lead to 13-0. On the next South drive, West linebacker David Solomona intercepted Barrow's Albert Gerke and returned the ball 20 yards to push the lead to 19-0. Kauffman's second scoremade it 25-0.
The South side got its third defensive score of the half when South High defensive back Mark Moeola snared a pass from Colony's Matt Jaronik and raced 60 yards to pay dirt, diving just inside the pylon to make it 32-0 just before the half.
The North finally got on the scoreboard with just one second left in the half, as Jaronik called his own number and went eight yards up the middle. Eielson's Sarah Colvin added the extra point to make it 32-7 at the half.
The game was the first football game played inside The Dome, a 174,290-square-foot inflatable structure in south Anchorage, and players and coaches raved about the experience.
"This is a lot of fun," Kauffman said. "I love The Dome. No wind, and the weather's always perfect."
Kauffman's coach agreed.
"It's a lot better than freezing our butts off outside," said West High coach Tim Davis, who helped coach the South team.
The Shriners, who use the game to raise money for more than 600 Alaska children receiving health care Outside, bought new goal posts for the inaugural Dome game, and bleachers were moved onto the running track to accommodate the large crowd that gathered to watch some of the state's top football players in their final prep game.
With a public address announcer, concessions, music over the loudspeakers and even a band, the game had all the trappings of a genuine prep affair.
"It really does feel like a high school environment," Davis said