The Bulldogs cruised to an easy Greatland Conference victory over the Monroe Catholic Rams of Fairbanks Saturday afternoon.
According to Nikiski assistant coach Scott Anderson, Monroe was missing three key starters, including wide receiver Scooter Bynum.
Nevertheless, Nikiski dominated the game, scoring five touchdowns in the first half, including a Devon Berry fumble recovery in the second quarter.
“This was a huge game, and we came ready for it, but we need to cut down on the silly mistakes like penalties,” Anderson said. “We were jumping offsides and other stuff, but felt pretty good overall on execution. The defense stepped up, and the offensive line played really well.”
Anderson said Nikiski missed three field goals — one before the first half ended, and two in the fourth quarter — but came up with a few big fourth-down plays.
“Offensively, our line is really working well, and we didn’t even punt all day,” he said.
Stephen Hartley put up the biggest numbers once again for Nikiksi, rushing 204 yards on 18 carries, and teammate Christian Riddall ran 119 yards on six carries.
Hartley said last week that his personal goal was to reach 2,000 yards on the ground by the end of the season, but will need 479 more in next week’s game against Barrow.
The win also puts Nikiski in good position to claim home-field advantage in the playoffs, and a win against the Whalers next Friday will clinch that scenario. If not, then the Bulldogs could be in a three-way tie for second in the Greatland conference standings.
Bulldogs 49, Rams 0
Nikiski 15 21 13 0 —49
Monroe 0 0 0 0 —0
Nik — Hartley 2 run (Stangel kick) 11:39
Nik — Carstens 15 pass to Riddall (Hartley run), 2:20
Nik — Riddall 13 run (Stangel kick), 9:50
Nik — Berry fumble recovery (Stangel kick), 9:35
Nik — Hartley 1 run, (Stangel kick), 1:32
Nik — Riddall 33 run, (kick blocked), 4:30
Nik — Hartley 7 run (Stangel kick), :15
First downs 12 4
Rushing yards 341 33
Passing yards 37 77
Comp-att-int 3-4-0 6-17-2
Punts-yards 6-23 0-0
Fumbles 1 4
Rushing — Nikiski: Hartley 19-215, Riddall 6-119, Stangel 3-22, Apted 2-9, Carstens 1-1, Castro 1-20, Uhls 1-4, Anderson 1-2. Monroe: Gavora 18-56, Eidenmiller 4-1, Wells 8-(-24).
Passing — Nikiski: Carstens 3-4-0—37. Monroe: Wells 6-17-2—77.
Receiving — Nikiski: Riddall 1-15, Apted 2-22. Monroe: Neville 2-35, Clark 2-24, Eidenmiller 2-18.