Soldotna football upends crosstown rival Skyview

Skyview’s Cody Williams gets his hands on Soldotna’s Colton Young in the fourth quarter Saturday at SoHi. The Stars rolled to a 34-7 victory over the Panthers.

Skyview's Albert White took the opening kickoff and raced 86 yards through a slew of Soldotna defenders for a touchdown.


For the next 47 minutes, SoHi raced through Skyview's defense.

The host SoHi football team had three running backs finish with more than 100 yards and reeled off 34 unanswered points, earning a 34-7 win over the Stars' crosstown rivals in Northern Lights Conference play Saturday.

SoHi, winners of 18 straight, moves to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the NLC. Skyview drops to 2-5 overall and 0-5 in the conference.

"That just showed us it was game time," SoHi's Auston Tennis said of White's opening return. "That's all it really did."

What SoHi did was capitalize on five turnovers and wear down Skyview's defense with 46 running plays, giving the Panthers a healthy dose of Tennis, Jared Duncan and Reid Schmelzenbach.

Tennis scored two rushing touchdowns, while Duncan and Schmelzenbach earned one apiece.

The trio combined for 323 yards on the ground, with Tennis carrying the ball 15 times for 109 yards, Duncan taking it 19 times for 111 yards and Schmelzenbach adding 103 yards on seven carries.

But it wasn't until the second half that the Stars imposed their will in the Wing-T offense.

Up 13-7 at halftime thanks to Tennis' first touchdown and a 25-yard pass connection between quarterback Noah Fowler and wide receiver Colton Young, SoHi opened the third with a 64-yard scoring drive that swayed the momentum.

Tennis capped it with a 33-yard score, staying on his feet despite a big hit from Skyview's Jasen Suonvieri and spinning into the end zone.

SoHi coach Galen Brantley Jr. said it took a half for the Stars to wake up, avoiding their first loss to the Panthers since 1998.

"It's pretty tough emotionally to get your kids going when it means absolutely everything to those kids and it's just another game for us," Brantley Jr. said. "But eventually in that second half, our kids were finally able to put some drives together and find some things that were working."

Schmelzenbach all but put the game away on a 1-yard plunge with 10:47 to play in the fourth, capping a three-play drive in which he took every handoff - including a 50-yard scamper to Skyview's 5-yard line.

Duncan then scored on a 29-yard run to make it 34-7 at the 4:30 mark.

That touchdown came on the heels of one of Skyview quarterback Jordan Jones' four interceptions.

"I don't think we were overpowered or overwhelmed," Skyview coach Eric Pomerleau said. "I just think that when you turn the ball over, you give them too many opportunities.

Eventually they are going to capitalize."

Skyview's defense was stout at times, especially over the first 24 minutes.

Of SoHi's 22 running plays in the first half, only three went for more than 10 yards and the longest was 13. In the second half, however, the Stars peeled off four rushes of 30-plus yards.

The Panthers didn't help themselves, either, committing five turnovers.

Two of the turnovers led to SoHi touchdowns - a fumble on a botched handoff in the second quarter and a Jones interception in the fourth.

"You've got to eliminate turnovers and penalties," said Pomerleau, whose team committed nine penalties for 64 yards. "Physically, the battle in between the lines looked a lot closer than the score. But turnovers and penalties will make a score lopsided."

Speaking of penalties, the Stars overcame 16 of them for 119 yards - including one that negated a Tennis touchdown.

Brantley Jr. said his team must clean up the miscues heading into a Week 8 game against Kenai Central (4-3 overall, 3-1 conference), 21-14 losers to Homer in double overtime Saturday.

The Kenai Central-SoHi game is big for a few reasons.

A Kenai Central win, coupled with a Homer victory over Houston, would create a three-way tie for the NLC regular-season championship because all three schools would have a 4-1 conference mark.

Seeding for the medium-schools playoffs would then be determined by a tiebreaker.

A SoHi win, however, would give the Stars the title outright and set up a rematch between the Stars and Kardinals in the first round of the playoffs. The game would be played at SoHi since the Stars would have the higher seed.

Perhaps more than anything, when it's Kenai Central-SoHi, pride is at stake.

"We're looking forward to Kenai and we've been anticipating it. It's one of those builds-up we've been waiting for," Tennis said, adding the Stars need their best week of practice to date. "It's the most important thing I've got going right now. I don't want to go out with any losses with SoHi, so we'll do all we can."

The Panthers, who received 144 rushing yards from Suonvieri on Saturday, end the season at home against West Valley, a large-schools power.

"We're going to have our hands full," Pomerleau said.

Stars 34, Panthers 7
Skyview 7 0 0 0 -7
Soldotna 7 6 8 13 -34
1st Quarter
Sky - White 86 kickoff return (Jones kick), 11:47.
Sol - Tennis 13 run (Grothe kick), 7:17.
2nd Quarter
Sol - Young 25 pass (kick failed), 5:44.
3rd Quarter
Sol - Tennis 33 run (Schmelzenbach run), 9:32.
4th Quarter
Sol - Schmelzenbach 1 run (Grothe kick), 10:47.
Sol - Duncan 29 run (kick failed), 4:30.

Sky Sol
First downs 12 13
Rushes-yards 30-142 46-326
Passing yards 70 69
Passing 5-21-4 4-10-0
Punts-avg 2-35.5 2-44.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 9-69 16-119
Rushing - Sky: Suonvieri 21-144, Jones 6-(-3), White 2-2, Williams 1-(-1). Sol: Tennis 15-109, Duncan 19-111, Schmelzenbach 7-103, N. Fowler 1-2, Young 1-(-1), Lott 2-2, Elsey 1-1, Kooly 1-(-1).
Passing - Sky: Jones 4-15-4-70. Sol: N. Fowler 4-10-0-69.
Receiving - Sky: White 2-17, Reynolds 1-19, Pietro 1-37, Williams 1-(-3). Sol: Young 3-52, Duncan 1-17.


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