PALMER — Bend, but don’t break defense, and a big time throw off the bootleg. Both helped Colony secure home field advantage during the first round of the playoffs and survive a scare from Service.

The Knights used a late score to scrap past Service 17-14 Friday night at Colony High School.

“My guys, one thing about them, they don’t give up,” Colony head coach Robbie Nash said. “They’re never out of it.”

Senior quarterback Harvey Pullen rolled to his left after the play-action and found receiver Jayce Underwood for a 39-yard connection with less than four minutes left in regulation.

“That was a great fake,” Nash said.

Two plays later, Xander Freeman dove into the end zone from five yards out to give Colony the go-ahead score.

Colony improved to 5-2 overall with the win and 4-2 in Cook Inlet Conference play. The Knights are now guaranteed a top-four finish in the eight-team conference, and will host a first-round game in the Division I quarterfinals.

“We mentioned it in the locker room before we came down here, but we have to take each game one at a time,” Nash said of hosting in the playoffs.

Service rushed for 364 yards on 50 carries, but managed only 14 points. Both of Service’s scores came within a 47-second span late in the third quarter. Sebastian O’Farrell put the Cougars on the board with a 1-yard touchdown 3:16 left in the third.

On the first play of Colony’s ensuing drive, Service’s Kai Hartman picked off a Knights pass. Two plays later, O’Farrell broke free for a 42-yard score to give the Cougars the lead.

O’Farrell rushed for a game-high 174 yards on 17 carries. Kedrick Smith-Thomas added 157 yards on the ground.

The Cougars had more than 400 yards of total offense, but were 0 for 5 on fourth down.

Colony posted arguably its biggest stop early in the third quarter. Service faced 4th-and-10 at the 11, and a pair of Knights corralled Cougars quarterback Coen Niclai at the 3-yard line.

“They pinned their ears back on fourth down and made crucial stops,” Nash said.

Pullen gave the Knights their first lead with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Underwood on the first play of the second quarter. Demetrius Catlett added a 22-yard field goal for Colony later the half.

Underwood led the Knights with 98 yards receiving on four catches. Tanner Thornhill added 81 yards rushing.

Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at editor@frontiersman.com.

Colony 17, Service 14

Friday, Colony High

First quarter:

No scoring

Second quarter;

Colony — Underwood 24 pass from Pullen (Catlett kick) 11:50

Colony — Catlett 22 field goal, 0:25

Third quarter:

Service — O’Farrell 1 run (Poston run) 3:16

Service — O’Farrell 42 run (run fail) 2:29

Fourth quarter:

Colony — Freeman 5 run (Catlett kick) 3:14

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Service: Smith-Thomas 24-157, O’Farrell 17-174, Niclai 10-25, Fine 1-8; Colony: Thornhill 20-81, Freeman 9-36, Pullen 7-(-13), Lagg 2-28, No. 6 1-0.

PASSING — Service: Niclai 10-18-1--88; Colony: Pullen 6-13-1--116.

RECEIVING — Service: Poston 4-54, Hopper 2-16, Bartz 2-12, O’Farrell 1-4, Fine 1-2; Colony: Underwood 4-98, Freeman 1-19, Jamison 1-(-1).

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