Kodiak caught a touchdown pass with no time remaining to defeat Kenai Central 20-19 on Saturday in Northern Lights Conference play.
The Kards fell to 0-2 in the NLC and 0-5 overall with the loss. Kodiak improves to 2-0 in the league and 3-2 overall.
Trailing 19-14, Kodiak got the ball at its own 42 with 48 seconds left in the game. On two pass plays, the Bears were able to move the ball to Kenai’s 20-yard line. With four seconds left, a Kodiak receiver caught the ball just short of the end zone and fell into the end zone as time expired.
“It happens in football,” Kenai Central coach John Marquez said. “Our kids ... they deserved to win this game, just as much as Kodiak deserved to win this game.
“We can’t control what happened with 3.9 seconds left. We had good coverage, the ball was tipped a little by our guy, and he makes a great play and falls in the end zone.”
Marquez said that play is not what lost the Kards the game. He said Kenai had the ball with 2:40 left to play and made some crucial errors in trying to run out the clock.
“You can’t do that in close games,” Marquez said. “(Kodiak) has great heart, they never quit playing. Our boys never quit either.”
Kenai took a 13-7 lead into halftime. Jason Daniels and Grayden Mendenhall scored in the first half for Kenai.
Mendenhall had a huge game for the Kards, rushing for 170 of Kenai’s 256 yards. He also had 10 tackles.
Kenai opened the second half with a long scoring drive that ended with a Mendenhall touchdown for a 19-7 lead.
Kodiak came right back with a scoring drive of its own then took up the rest of the third quarter. The crucial point on that drive came when Kodiak faced fourth-and-long and got a first down due to pass interference.
“We’ll pull it together,” Marquez said. “We’ve got a season to finish. We’ve got three games left and my kids will continue to fight. We’ll get ready for Houston next week.”