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Photo by M. Scott Moon
Seward’s Dezmond Smith stops Nikiski’s Stephen Hartley in the third quarter Friday at Nikiski.

Nikiski football crushes Seward in Greatland Conference action

Posted: September 25, 2011 - 8:00am  |  Updated: September 27, 2011 - 11:17am
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Nikiski’s Kaden Spurgeon dodges the Seward defense in the third quarter Friday at Nikiski.

With less than a minute to play in this blowout, the only question remaining was if the losing side would even score.

It did, but Samuel Rininger's 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 28 seconds remaining proved little consolation as the host Nikiski football team throttled Seward 58-6 for a Greatland Conference victory Friday.

Colton Anderson threw three touchdown passes, Josh Brown rushed for two and the Bulldogs didn't allow a first down until the fourth quarter in improving to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the conference.

Seward, which has been outscored 347 to 42 this season, drops to 0-7 overall.

"All around, it was a great game for our guys," Anderson said.

The Bulldogs face Eielson next week in a game that will determine seeding for the small-schools playoffs.

Friday's contest was never in doubt.

Anderson threw touchdown strikes on each of the Bulldogs' first three possessions, finding Jesse Eide from 24 and 31 yards out and Walter Moore from 30 yards.

The senior quarterback completed 7 of 12 for 136 yards - all in the first half - without throwing an interception.

The pass-first approach over the opening 24 minutes deviated from Nikiski's usual run-heavy attack out of the Wing-T offense.

With the playoffs looming, it was no coincidence the Bulldogs mixed up their plan.

"We've got a lot of weapons running-wise, but we can throw the ball, too," Nikiski coach Ted Riddall said. "We needed to get a little more practice with it, so we decided we would come out throwing and then get back to the run."

Throw they did.

Anderson completed his first six passes, three of which went for touchdowns.

Using play-action looks, Anderson had all day in the pocket thanks to good protection.

"Guys were just wide open and I had time to throw and made some easy passes," Anderson said, crediting his offensive line. "I hardly got touched. It feels like heaven when nobody is back there."

With a big lead, Nikiski then turned to the run game.

Kaden Spurgeon, Stephen Hartley and Brown, who have now combined to score 33 touchdowns on the ground, each got chances.

It was 48-0 at halftime, thanks to a pair of second-quarter touchdowns from Brown, who plunged in from 10 and 6 yards away.

Hartley, who scored on a 29-yard run late in the first, also returned an interception 15 yards for a touchdown in the second.

Spurgeon, who finished with 104 yards on 13 carries, scored his squad's final touchdown with a 2-yard burst in the third to make it 55-0.

The Bulldogs ended the evening with 263 yards on the ground.

"With that kind of threat, with three running backs in the backfield and a couple receivers and a quarterback who can get the ball out, it's going to be tough to defend," Riddall said. "It's just another dimension."

Seward didn't make a first down until the fourth quarter and was held scoreless until Rininger scored from 1 yard out with 28 seconds remaining.

Nikiski piled up 399 yards on 16 first downs despite running just seven plays in the second half, when the clock never stopped because the score was so lopsided.

Seward, meanwhile, ended the contest with 25 yards and four first downs.

Although Nikiski was the heavy favorite, the Bulldogs gained more than an easy win.

By throwing the ball in the first half, Riddall believes Nikiski will be harder to prepare for over the stretch run.

There's a good chance the Bulldogs will face Eielson in the first round of the playoffs, meaning they could battle the same opponent on consecutive weeks.

Riddall said the team must be multidimensional if it hopes to defeat Eielson not once, but twice.

"It's hard to beat an opponent twice, so you've got to be able to create some things and change some things up," Riddall said. "I think some of the stuff we've got in is pretty cool. I'm excited to get that opportunity."

Added Anderson: "It means we can do it all. We aren't one-sided."

Friday
Bulldogs 58, Seahawks 6
Seward 0 0 0 6 -6
Nikiski 27 21 7 3 -58

1st Quarter
Nik - Eide 24 pass from Anderson (kick blocked), 8:15.
Nik - Eide 31 pass from Anderson (Feller kick), 7:44.
Nik - Moore 30 pass from Anderson (Feller kick), 5:31.
NIk - Hartley 29 run (Feller kick), 0:43.

2nd Quarter
Nik - Brown 10 run (Feller kick), 7:37.
Nik - Hartley 15 interception return (Feller kick), 5:50.
Nik - Brown 6 run (Feller kick), 1:47.

3rd Quarter
Nik - Spurgeon 2 run (Feller kick), 3:12.

4th Quarter
Nik - Feller 29 FG, 9:45.
Sew - Rininger 1 run (pass failed), 0:28.

Sew Nik
First downs 4 16
Rushes-yards 23-(-6) 30-263
Passing yards 31 136
Passing 4-15-3 7-12-0
Punts-avg 5-21.6 0-0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-25 5-45

INDIVIDUAL STATS
Rushing - Sew: Rininger 9-7, O'Leary 7-(-15), Smith 3-(-7), G. Anderson 2-7, T. Anderson 1-2, Wolfe 1-0. Nik: Spurgeon 13-104, Brown 7-56, Hartley 6-96, Anderson 2-(-4), Riddall 1-12, Stangel 1-(-1).
Passing - Sew: O'Leary 4-15-3-31. Nik: Anderson 7-12-0-136.
Receiving - Sew: Rininger 1-(-2), Martin 3-33. Nik: Hartley 1-25, Moore 2-39, Eide 2-55, Parrish 2-17.

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