Soldotna took a 48-0 advantage in the first quarter en route to a 73-7 victory over Skyview on Friday in Northern Lights Conference play at Skyview.
The Stars, coming off a 70-0 victory over Ketchikan last week, improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the league. Skyview is 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the league.
The longest Soldotna went without scoring in the first quarter was 2 minutes, 39 seconds. The Panthers went three-and-out three times in the first quarter, lost three fumbles and threw an interception.
Once the Stars had the ball, they were lethal. Soldotna got its seven scores on a total of just 10 offensive plays.
SoHi junior Colton Young, who punctuated the first-quarter scoring with a 56-yard pass from Noah Fowler and a 46-yard run, said the Stars were pumped up to play their rivals. Young also had a 6-yard touchdown dash and an interception in the first quarter.
"We knew we had the talent," Young said. "We finally clicked and came together."
Soldotna coach Galen Brantley Jr. said his team played great in all three phases — offense, defense, special teams — of the game, but he said the defense stood out. The Stars took the ball away seven times — three on interceptions, four on fumbles. One of the fumbles came on special teams.
The Stars also turned two of those turnovers directly into points, with Fowler returning a fumble 31 yards for a score and Chet Henson taking an interception 26 yards for a score.
"I was extremely pleased with the level of execution, especially on defense," Brantley Jr. said. "The defensive effort in the first half was excellent."
Skyview's defense had made Nikiski use long, multiplay drives in Week 2, but the Panthers couldn't keep SoHi from big plays. The Stars also had a 43-yard scoring run from Reid Schmelzenbach and a 67-yard scoring run from Hunter Lott.
"There's a difference between running plays and executing plays, and we were executing plays tonight," Brantley Jr. said.
The coach said his team's effort showed up in the downfield blocking that makes big runs possible.
"Those were huge holes," Young said. "The offensive line did a great job for me tonight."
The Panthers came into the game dealing with injury issues, but coach Eric Pomerleau said that is no excuse.
"We're young and we're beaten up, but we need to play better," Pomerleau said. "Nobody is going to feel sorry for us."
Starter DJ Tourtelot was taken from the field on a stretcher at the end of the first quarter. Pomerleau said after the game that Tourtelot had an elbow injury, but he did not know the extent of it.
Jake Kooly, Drew Gibbs, Jared Chavez and Brooks Furlong added touchdown runs for the Stars. Zane Miller, Drew Fowler and Eli Daman added fumble recoveries for the Stars, while Max Conradi added an interception.
"We have a great linebacking corps and they did a great job getting to the ball," Brantley Jr. said. "We also got great pressure from our front four. That made it really hard for them to get yards."
Skyview was able to put together a 79-yard, eight-play scoring drive to start the second half. Quarterback Kyle Zimmerman found Tyler Howell three times for 48 yards on the drive, including a 5-yard touchdown catch.
Pomerleau said senior DJ Collier provided good leadership during the tough game.
"Turnovers really hurt us," Pomerleau said. "We came in a little shorthanded, and they really took it to us. When we made a mistake, they took advantage of it quickly."
Both squads go on the road for league games next week, with Skyview playing at Houston on Friday at 6:30 p.m., and Soldotna playing at Homer at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Stars 73, Panthers 7
Sol — Schmelzenbach 43 run (Grothe kick), 10:46.
Sol — Kooly 1 run (Grothe kick), 9:54
Sol — Gibbs 3 run (Grothe kick), 8:45.
Sol — Young 6 run (kick failed), 7:20.
Sol — Fowler 31 fumble return (Young pass from Fowler), 5:29.
Sol — Young 56 pass from Fowler (Grothe kick), 2:47.
Sol — Young 46 run (kick failed), 0:48.
Sol — Lott 67 run (Grothe kick), 6:56.
Sol — Chavez 6 run (run failed), 3:10.
Sky — Howell 5 pass from Zimmerman (Jones kick), 6:46.
Sol — Furlong 1 run (run failed), 1:03.
Sol — Henson 26 interception return (run failed), 10:19.
Rushing — Soldotna: Schmelzenbach 1-56, Fowler 4-86, Young 4-89, Kooly 1-1, Gibbs 1-3, Fenton 1-(-1), Lott 1-67, Chavez 4-26, Furlong 4-72, Riley 1-3. Skyview: Tourtelot 5-8, Zimmerman 11-(-25), West 3-14, Collier 6-20, Edwards 2-4.
Passing — Soldotna: Fowler 2-2-0—56. Skyview: Zimmerman 5-11-3—66.
Receiving — Soldotna: Miller 1-20, Young 1-56. Skyview: Howell 5-66.