Colton Young ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more as Northern Lights Conference power Soldotna ran through the Southeast Conference’s Thunder Mountain Falcons 62-6 at Juneau on Friday.
Despite the heroic efforts of senior Ben Jahn, who ran for 115-yards and one touchdown, caught one pass for 30 yards and made eight solo tackles, the Falcons were overmatched on the night.
“Our team does not quit,” TMHS head coach Jeep Rice said. “I can be very proud. We were outmatched. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores on varsity. They keep trying but they need to get a lot bigger, stronger and more mature, but they keep plugging away.”
The Stars (4-0) tallied two points above their season average, scoring on their first possession on four straight rushes by Young and holding the Falcons (2-2) to one first down in the first half.
“We just brought a lot of intensity,” Soldotna quarterback Colton Young said. “The offensive linemen executed and made huge holes. Daniel Rosin did an excellent job tonight. This was a pretty big statement for us. We learned a lot, we made adjustments and we got to it tonight.”
Three first quarter Stars’ touchdowns came on runs by Young, Jake Kooly and Drew Gibbs. The Falcons could not mount positive yardage in the first quarter and paid the price on kickoff returns as the Stars did not allow the ball to cross mid field.
“We are a physical football team,” Soldotna coach Galen Brantley Jr. said. “We want to run the football and we want to stop the run. Everything after that is just gravy for us.”
The Falcons’ Dylan Taylor felt the brunt of the Soldotna coverage, returning five kicks for little gain and getting sacked once at quarterback. Twice Taylor was motionless on the turf after being unprotected on returns.
“They are a hard hitting team,” Taylor said. “I kept getting up for the team. We don’t have that many bodies anymore with injuries, concussions and such. We just have got to keep going, keep driving and I can’t let my team down.”
Taylor got up to connect on his first varsity pass, a 30-yard completion to Jahn in the second half.
Jahn was the Falcons offense through most of the night, sometimes carrying four Stars tacklers up field.
Soldotna scored on each of their four possessions in the second quarter as Young took control of the game, scampering into the end zone on runs of 14 and 25 yards and hitting wide receiver Drew Gibbs for 60 and 20-yard touchdowns.
“Our kids came out and played with intensity and I felt we out hit them,” Brantley said. “We are still one of four teams in contention, we would have loved to come down here and gotten a chance to see Juneau but it didn’t happen schedule wise. I think there are four really good football teams out there and we are just one of them.”
Soldotna coaches found out early who number seven was.
“Is that the Jahn kid?” Brantley said to staff members as Jahn tackled a Stars runner. “Has to be. No one hits like that.”
Jahn spoke to his Falcons’ teammates at the half, telling them what they did that was inspiring and urging them to tell their teammates the same.
“I am having a great time out here,” Jahn said. “I am hitting someone on every play. That is what we do.”
When Rice asked the team where guts, desire and glory come from, Jahn touched the spot on his jersey where his heart was.
“He makes the plays,” Rice said of Jahn. “He is part of the important leadership that holds this team together. His talks at halftime, he will say a few words and I wish I would have said them. He is just a great leader, a great model.”
Both coaches agreed to the use of a running clock starting the second half. Thunder Mountain had to punt on their first possession and the Stars’ Blake Riley took the first handoff from scrimmage for a 40-yard score.
The Falcons found the end zone with 9:41 remaining in the game. Jahn broke a second-and-12 tackle for 57 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons’ Taylor was stopped on a two-point conversion as Soldotna’s Jake Kooly broke into the backfield for the tackle.
“We just tell them that they have to be warriors,” Rice Said. “For their brothers. We are all family. We win together, we lose together. We go back to fundamentals for next week. We can’t make freshmen bigger, stronger and more mature over night so we will work on that all season long. We go back to fundamentals of blocking on offense and tackling on defense. Our corners got beat several times. That is what Soldotna does, they put you to sleep with the run and then throw a pass that we are not covering.”
The Falcons will play at North Pole next Saturday (Sept. 14) in a Southeast Conference game with playoff seeding implications.
How They Scored:
Stars 62, Falcons 6
Soldotna (4-0) 21-26-7-8
Thunder Mountain (2-2) 0-0-0-6
SoHi: 10:11, Colton Young 12-yard run (Charalambos Asimakopoulos kick) 7-0
SoHi: 7:30, Jake Kooly 1-yard run (Asimakopoulos kick) 14-0
SoHi: 4:54 - Drew Gibbs 70-yard run (Asimakopoulos kick) 21-0
SHS: 10:49 - Colton Young 14-yard run (kick no good) 27-0
SHS: 7:38 - Colton Young 25-yard run (Asimakopoulos kick) 34-0
SHS: 3:45 - Drew Gibbs 60-yard pass from Young (kick blocked) 40-0
SHS: 1:12 - Drew Gibbs 20-yard pass from Young (Asimakopoulos kick) 47-0
7:39- SHS: 7:39 - Blake Riley 40-yard run (Asimakopoulos kick) 54-0
TMHS: 9:31 - Ben Jahn 57-yard run (conversion no good) 54-6
SHS: 6:01 - Jace Urban 11-yard run (Jesse Littrell 2pt conversion good) 62-6
TMHS- 162 total offensive yards; 4 first downs; 10 penalties for 65 yards
SHS - 463 total offensive yards; 11 first downs; 5 penalties for 35 yards
TMHS- Passing-Ben Jahn- 0-2; Dylan Taylor- 1-1, 30 yards. Rushing- Ben Jahn- 15 carries 114 yards TD; Russell Smith- 5 carries 8 yards, Fumble. Receiving- Ben Jahn- 1 catch 30 yards. Defense- Ben Jahn- 8 tackles.
SHS- Passing- Colton Young- 3-4, 126 yards 2 TD’s. Rushing- Drew Gibbs- 1 carry 70 yards, TD; Rushing- Colton Young- 3 carries 51 yards, 3 TD’s; Blake Riley- 2 .carries 42 yards, TD.
Receiving- Drew Gibbs- 2 catches 80 yards, 2 TD’s; Tyler Howell- 1 catch 46 yards.
Defense- Jake Kooly- 8 tackles; Drew Gibbs- 7 tackles, sack.