Jace Daniels exploded for another big game in a 78-6 blowout victory over the Mariners in Homer on Saturday in Northern Lights Conference action.
According to radio broadcaster Dan Gensel, the senior running back carried the ball 17 times for 270 yards and had an impressive eight touchdowns — six rushing and two defensive (one fumble return and one interception return).
Homer, a team missing many of its powerful linemen from last year’s medium-schools state runner-up team, finally got on the board in the fourth quarter with an 80-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback Sheldon Hutt. But that was all the Mariners (0-2 overall, 0-2 NLC) managed to do against a run-heavy Kenai squad.
“They got way behind and kept trying to throw the ball and trying things to score,” said Kenai assistant coach Jim Beeson after improving to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the league. “They were making mistakes because of that and we took advantage of it.”
A 63-0 score at halftime resulted in a running clock for the entirety of the second half, and the result paled in comparison to the 20-0 loss the Kards endured against the Mariners last year.
Beeson explained that Saturday was an indication of the changed talent level on the two teams. While Homer made it to the state title game last year on a 6-2 regular season record, Kenai slogged its way through a 2-6 regular season en route to missing the playoffs.
“They just were having trouble blocking us and we were getting through almost every time,” Beeson said. “It was good for us to get all our kids some playing time and contribute to the game. It was a complete game for us.”
Along with Daniels’ eight scoring runs, Chase Logan, Michael Tilly and JV player Andrew Welborn each added a touchdown in the second half.
Nikiksi 50, Barrow 14
The Bulldogs finally got into the win column with a win over Greatland Conference rival Barrow on Saturday up on the North Slope of Alaska. Nikiski is 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the league, while Barrow is 1-1 in the league and 1-1 overall.
Junior running back Christian Riddall led the charge with 72 rushing yards on the “smurf turf,” while Nikiski quarterback Dennis Anderson orchestrated the passing attack with 67 yards.
Voznesenka 42, Valdez 28
The Voznesenka football team picked up the first 11-man victory in school history Friday at Homer High School, defeating Valdez in Greatland Conference action to move to 1-1 in the league and 1-1 overall.
“It was huge, especially at home in front of the community,” Voznesenka coach Justin Zank said. “It was a big one. We needed it, especially after getting roughed up at Barrow.”
Zank said he had 16 or 17 players suited up for the game. He said the Cougars got some players back from fishing and ineligibility to beef up the roster for the game. He said he hopes to get up to 20 of the 38 or so boys in the high school.
Avraam Kalugin had a big game for the Cougars, rushing 19 times for 93 yards and a score, completing 10 of 19 passes for 193 yards and three scores, racking up a return score, and coming up with an interception on defense.
Dennis Martishev led the team with 11.5 tackles, while Mavrick Ivanov carried 20 times for 70 yards and a score, and also had eight tackles.
The Cougars led 8-6 after the first quarter.
“The first quarter was back-and-forth,” Zank said. “Our guys were pretty excited with it being their first home game. They were pretty jittery.”
Voznesenka then led 30-20 at halftime, and outscored the Buccaneers 30-22 in the third quarter.
“They were taking some shots out there,” Zank said of his team. “Our guys play both ways, so they showed a lot of heart.”
Also on the ground for Voznesenka, Dennis Martishev rushed 10 times for 56 yards and Kosta Reutov rushed once for 3 yards.
Reutov led receivers with five catches for 81 yards and two scores. Martishev had three catches for 70 yards, while Kiril Sanarov had a 37-yard touchdown catch and Ivanov caught a ball for 5 yards.
Gavril Kalugin had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while Reutov also recovered a fumble.
Eielson 59, Seward 8
The Seahawks dropped to 0-2 overall for the season with a blowout loss to the defending small school champions on Saturday.