The Nikiski High School football team penned up the Sitka Wolves Saturday, taking a 35-0 victory in a Great Land Conference game Saturday at Nikiski.
One of the lessons you learn in life is that sometimes, no matter how hard you work, you're going to go up against someone that's bigger, faster, stronger and has a better plan this was one of those days, Sitka coach Mark Mangini said.
The game started out as a stalemate as both the Bulldogs and the Wolves battled for field position not too far from the 50-yard line.
Nikiski's Steve Calderwood broke the stalemate late in the first quarter, though, uncorking a 41-yard punt that pinned the Wolves back on their own 12-yard line.
It was huge, said Nikiski coach Scott Anderson of the kick that sailed past Sitka's deep man and took a Bulldogs' bounce before rolling out of bounds. Sitka had been coming at us hard, but that punt puts them deep and our defense answered the call.
Sitka's Joshua Stevens ran for 18 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive, but the Wolves were backed up almost that much on a holding call and a delay of game. On third-and-12, Sitka lost another 10 yards on a well-defended screen pass, the the Wolves punt to open the second quarter netted a mere 5 yards.
They took advantage of the starting position, capping a four-play, 23-yard drive with Josh Reilly's 10-yard bootleg pass to a wide open David Holloway in the end zone with 10:36 left in the second quarter.
We run that little bootleg pass, and he was on the mark, Anderson said. He's an accurate passer, and he can get outside and run the ball, too.
With that, the Bulldogs' found a breech in the Sitka defense and added two more touchdowns before the half.
Ryan Crumpacker capped a 64-yard drive with a 5-yard plunge through the middle to give the Bulldogs a 13-0 lead.
Nikiski set up its third touchdown of the quarter with some razzle-dazzle. Reilly took the snap and immediately lateralled to Holloway on the left side of the field. Instead of tucking the ball away and running, Holloway connected with Kyle Alexander for a 27-yard gain, giving the Bulldogs a first-and-10 on the Sitka 21-yard line.
Reilly used just one play to cover the rest of the distance, hitting Holloway in the end zone with 1:19 left on the clock. Calderwood added the two-point conversion with his run up the middle for a 21-0 halftime lead.
Reilly reprised his first-half performance early in the third quarter, again finding Holloway in the end zone with 7:19 on the clock.
Nikiski backup quarterback Todd Brigham, inserted in the fourth quarter, also appreciated Holloway's effort, connecting with him on a 21-yard pass play with 7:31 left in the game to round out the Bulldogs' scoring.
The snap on the kick for the point after was low, but third-string quarterback Jason Gerke, acting as the holder on the play, had the presence of mind to pick the ball up and dump a pass off the Zach Hall in the end zone for the final margin of victory.
Not only was Holloway the hot receiver on offense, he picked off two Sitka passes from his defensive position in the Bulldogs secondary. Gerke also came up with an interception.
The Bulldogs admitted, though, that things were not nearly as easy as the scoreboard would indicate.
It was a lot tougher than the score reflected they're a good team, Nikiskis Seth Tauriainen said.
They were hitting hard, and they kept fighting, even when they were down, Nikiskis Mike Cox said.
Ill tell you what, by the end of the season, Sitka's going to be an incredible team. They hit hard, and theyre a classy team, Anderson said.
Kenai 54, Ketchikan 8
The Kenai Kardinals football team feasted on the Ketchikan Kings Friday night, taking its Northern Lights Conference opener 54-8 at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.
Physically, we just whipped em at the point of attack, both offensively and defensively, Kenai coach Jim Beeson said. Our backs ran hard, but they had a lot of holes to run through.
In fact, the Kenai attack manufactured 307 yards of offense all of it on the ground while the Kardinals defense limited the Kings to just 39 yards, stopping Ketchikan backs for a loss on 17 of 39 rushing attempts.
Ketchikan coughed up 13 fumbles and lost seven. The Kardinals defense put two points with a safety and six more on the board with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown.
Kenai's running backs were able to slip into Ketchikan's secondary, consistently picking up good yardage. Four of Kenais seven touchdown runs were less than 10 yards, but three of those were set up by big runs.
The Kardinals got on the board early, forcing a Ketchikan fumble on the Kings second play from scrimmage just 15 yards from the end zone.
Justin Hogue finished off the three-play drive with a 2-yard plunge across the goal line with just 1:26 gone by in the first quarter.
After a Ketchikan four-and-out, Cory Janson extended Kenai's lead with an 11-yard scoring scamper. Wally Ward added the extra point for a 13-0 lead.
Jeff Jackson capped Kenai's third drive of the game with a 33-yard touchdown run, getting the corner and sprinting up the left side of the field.
Kenai capitalized on another Ketchikan fumble early in the second quarter as Hogue ran up the gut of the Kings defense for 5 yards and his second touchdown of the night.
The Kardinals added one more touchdown before the half as Brad Burck plucked the ball out of the air after Nicholas-Silvira got his hands on a Ketchikan punt. Burck tucked the ball away and cruised into the end zone as time expired. Ward added the extra point for a 32-0 halftime lead.
Jackson kept Kenai running at a sprinter's pace in the second half, putting the Kardinals near midfield with a 29-yard return off the kickoff and finishing a three-play scoring drive with a 38-yard touchdown run.
Kenai's reserves kept up the pace as Adrian Borchgrevink chipped in with a 34-yard touchdown run, slipping around the right end and shouldering aside the last Ketchikan defender to clear his path to the end zone.
Ward broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper up the middle with four seconds left in the third quarter, then hit the extra point to round out the Kardinals' scoring.
Ketchikan scored its only points of the game on a fluke play. Kings' quarterback Jay Fulk was blindsided by the Kenai pass rush and coughed up the ball, but Ketchikan's Geoff Nordlund was able to pick up the ball and scramble 75 yards up the right side for the touchdown. Brandon Larson hit Shaun Phillips on a quick slant for the two-point conversion to make the final score 54-8.
KARDINALS 54, KINGS 8
Ketchikan 0 0 0 8 - 8
Kenai 19 13 22 0 - 54
Ken - Hogue 2 run (kick failed), 10:34
Ken - Janson 6 run (Ward kick), 6:43
Ken - Jackson 7 run (kick failed), 2:22
Ken - Hogue 5 run (kick failed), 11:18
Ken - Burck 39 blocked punt return (Ward kick), 0:00
Ken - Jackson 38 run (Ward kick), 10:31
Ken - Safety, 5:57
Ken - Borchgrevink 34 run (kick failed), 4:30
Ken - Ward 61 run (Ward kick), 0:04
Ket - Nordlund 75 run (Phillips pass from Larson), 10:50
First downs 3 16
Rushes-yards 33-39 39-302
Passing yards 0 0
Return yards -5 22
Passing 0-4-0 0-0-0
Punts-avg 3-31 2-22
Fumbles-lost 13-7 3-3
Penalties-yards 7-28 9-54
Rushing Ketchikan: Nordlund 16-73, Fulk 2-7, Eide 3-1, Ostrom 2-(-2), Larson 10-(-40). Kenai: Jackson 11-116, Borchgrevink 5-64, Ward 3-56, Janson 12-34, Hogue 6-28, Baldwin 2-4.
Passing Ketchikan: Fulk 0-2-0-0, Nordlund 0-2-0-0.
BULLDOGS 35, WOLVES 0
Sitka 0 0 0 0 - 0
Nikiski 0 21 6 8 -35
Nik - Holloway 10 pass from Reilly (Seater kick), 10:36
Nik - Crumpacker 5 run (kick failed), 5:05
Nik - Holloway 21 pass from Reilly (Calderwood run), 1:19
Nik - Holloway 20 pass from Reilly (kick failed), 7:19
Nik - Holloway 21 pass from Brigham (Hall pass from Gerke), 7:31
First downs 3 17
Rushes-yards 16-30 51-163
Passing yards 28 158
Return yards 35 41
Passing 6-25-3 11-13-0
Punts-avg 7-24.0 2-38.0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 4-1
Penalties-yards 6-35 10-99
Rushing Sitka: Stevens 9-44, Gauthier 4-0, Marrs 2-0, Bradshaw
1-(-14). Nikiski: Calderwood 15-62, Crumpacker 15-39, Allen 7-36,
Winters 2-16, Alexander 4-15, Reilly 5-2, Brigham 3-(-7).
Passing Sitka: Bradshaw 6-25-3-28. Nikiski: Reilly 9-10-0-110, Holloway 1-1-0-27, Brigham 1-2-0-21.
Receiving Sitka: Mangini 2-(-2), Lancaster 1-18, Bergman 1-(-3), Gauthier 1-14, Stevens 1-(-1). Nikiski: Holloway 8-108, Alexander
1-27, Roofe 1-16, Crumpacker 1-7.