Barrow defeated the Nikiski football team 34-28 in a Greatland Conference battle of unbeaten teams Saturday afternoon at Barrow.
The Bulldogs drop to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference, while Barrow remains unbeaten at 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Greatland.
Nikiski coach Ted Riddall said the loss serves as a wake-up call for the Bulldogs.
"The bottom line is we needed something like this to propel us forward," Riddall said by phone. "We are a good football team, but we needed something like this."
Riddall said the Bulldogs were driving for the win when Colton Anderson threw an interception at the Barrow 20-yard line with about 1:20 to play.
The Whalers, who opened a two-touchdown lead early in the first quarter and led 28-7 at halftime, ran out the clock to preserve the win.
Both coaches said the game featured a playoff atmosphere.
"It was a very intense game," Barrow coach Brad Igou told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "I thought our offensive coordinator Brian Houston called a really great game, mixing passing with running well."
Barrow senior quarterback Eddy Benson went 13 for 18, throwing for about 170 yards, Igou said. He rushed for one touchdown and threw for two more.
Senior running back Trace Hudson had 10 carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns, while Colin Long and Taylor Masterson scored a touchdown apiece on Benson passes.
Igou said his team finished with close to 150 rushing yards and 11 first downs, but he was just as impressed with his team's defense.
"Defensively, we had a pretty good game plan," he said. "I thought they (Nikiski) got the better of us toward the end of the second half, but we played good all game long. The intensity level was awesome, so we played four full quarters, which
I don't think was expected.
"I think people think we'll fold as the game goes on - being a small schools team, having so many players playing both ways," he continued. "I think they thought they'd get us in the fourth, and I'm proud of the guys for playing hard the whole time."
Riddall credited his three leading rushers - Josh Brown, Kaden Spurgeon and Stephen Hartley - as well as Anderson, despite the game-ending interception.
Spurgeon scored two touchdowns, while Brown and Anderson had one apiece.
"It was a good game, but we left a lot out there," Riddall said. "We've got to focus on the things we can control, just refocus, and get going in a place where we can continue forward."
Nikiski hosts Delta at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Homer 34, Kodiak 0
The Mariners earned their first Northern Lights Conference victory and improved to 4-0 overall. Kodiak, which entered the game undefeated, drops to 2-1 overall and 2-1 in the NLC.
Stats were unavailable.
"I think it was a really good game. We played a lot of kids again, and the first team was rolling hard core," Homer coach Camron Wyatt said by phone. "I usually don't brag about my kids, but I'm telling you right now they did a really good job."
The win sets up a big game between Homer and Soldotna on Friday. The Mariners and Stars are the only undefeated teams remaining in the NLC, meaning the winner gets the inside track to a regular-season conference crown.
SoHi edged Homer 26-20 in 2010. The game is at SoHi at 6 p.m.
"It's going to be a lot of fun the rest of the way," Wyatt said.
Monroe 68, Seward 8
The Seahawks were pounded in Greatland Conference action in Fairbanks, falling to 0-4 on the year.
Seward hosts Houston at 5 p.m. Friday.