Soldotna quarterback Colton Young pulled a “Johnny Football” on Saturday with six touchdowns — four passing and two rushing — in a 63-0 beatdown against the Kodiak Bears that further established SoHi’s dominant position in the medium-schools division.
Soldotna improved to a 2-0 Northern Lights Conference record and went to 5-0 overall, one of only three schools in the state that is still undefeated. Kenai Central and Juneau-Douglas, both medium-size schools, are the other two.
“It’s just another step to our ultimate goal, and that’s a state title,” Young said. “That’s what we’re hungry for and hopefully we can get that at the end of the season.”
Young had 123 rushing and 134 passing yards for a combined 257 yards of offense, and four of his five total pass completions were scoring plays. Teammate Drew Gibbs added 62 rushing yards and two touchdowns of his own, and in all, seven SoHi players recorded a touchdown.
Of course, Young and the rest of the SoHi backfield wouldn’t have had the numbers they did Saturday without the superb play of the Stars defense.
It was apparent early in the game that Soldotna was not going to make it easy for Kodiak. The ball never made it onto Soldotna’s half of the field until the final few seconds of the first quarter — Kodiak’s fifth possession — when a 15-yard SoHi penalty placed the ball on its 45.
“Our defense did outstanding, Blake Riley and Drew Gibbs on the outside linebackers just shut down the sweep, so credit goes out to them,” Young said. “I have the easy job. Our line gets the blocks and I just throw the ball to the open receivers, so credit goes out to them.”
Soldotna coach Galen Brantley Jr. couldn’t have been happier with his defense, and said a lot of credit goes to defensive coordinator Phil Leck.
“Anytime you get a shutout, you’ve earned something,” Brantley Jr. said. “Coach Leck did a good job today calling a great game, and our kids flew around and made plays. Definitely one our better games this year.”
Midway through the first quarter, Kodiak punted from its own 7-yard line, and on the next offensive play, Young immediately connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Walden that put the Stars up 13-0. On Kodiak’s ensuing possession, two consecutive sacks of quarterback Josh Yavorsky resulted in a safety for the Stars.
“That was huge,” Young said. “Coach Leck does a great job, and he sends the stunts and Jake Kooly is an amazing middle linebacker, he gets the job done every single week.”
From there, Soldotna recovered a Kodiak fumble at the Bears’ 25 to score on a single-play possession (25-yard touchdown pass to Gibbs), and when Kodiak did manage to gain some yardage early in the second quarter, the Bears turned it over on downs at SoHi’s 3-yard line, with the end zone tantalizingly close.
The only time SoHi failed to get points on a possession in the first half was when Young lobbed a pass against defensive pressure that was picked off by Fred Llorente.
“I think Colton’s done a nice job,” Brantley Jr. said. “He had the one ill-advised throw with pressure in his face, but for the most part all year, he’s done a good job throwing the ball, and he’s just one of those guys that’s an athlete in whatever sport he does. He’s taken the new position we put him in and he’s flourished.”
Llorente and Kerry Powers both had 30 rushing yards to lead Kodiak, and Melvin Javier — one of Kodiak’s top ground threats — was contained with negative yardage, further displaying the dominant attack Soldotna leveled against Kodiak on Saturday.
With this win, SoHi is now averaging a margin of victory of 45.6 points each week.
“There’s always things to improve on, and we know there’s more talented teams as we go forward that will be much bigger challenges for us,” Brantley Jr. said. “A lot of teams will run plays and try to execute plays. That’s why we don’t run a ton of stuff, we try to do them right against as many different fronts as we can. That way, regardless of what’s going on with confusion and things on the other side of the ball, our kids can still get to the right spots.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for the rest of the evening, sit down and look at film and get ready for Homer.”
Next Saturday will feature a rematch of last year’s medium-schools state championship game, which SoHi won 62-20 over Homer.
Stars 63, Bears 0
Soldotna 29 20 14 0 —63
Kodiak 0 0 0 0 —0
Sol — Gibbs 14 run (Asimakopoulos kick), 8:53
Sol — Walden 20 pass from Young (kick failed), 6:44
Sol — Safety Dombovy, 5:43
Sol — Kooly 12 run (Asimakopoulos kick), 3:21
Sol — Gibbs 25 pass from Young (Asimakopoulos kick), 1:48
Sol — Young 49 run (Asimakopoulos kick), 5:05
Sol — Howell 26 pass from Young (kick failed), 2:03
Sol — Conradi 22 pass from Young (Asimakopoulos kick), :13
Sol — Young 32 run (Asimakopoulos kick), 9:11
Sol — Riley 2 run (Asimakopoulos kick), 1:57
First Downs 11 7
Rushing yds 37-328 41-54
Pass yds 134 29
Comp-Att-Int 5-9-1 2-5-0
Return yds 38 103
Punts 0-0 5-21
Fumbles 1-0 4-3
Penalties 4-40 5-45
Rushing — Soldotna: Young 8-123, Gibbs 6-62, Chavez 5-51, Kooly 5-48, Prior 2-8, Lott 2-7, Furlong 4-0. Kodiak: Llorente 6-30, Powers 12-30, LeVan 1-1, Javier 8-(-2), Yavorsky 14-(-5).
Passing — Soldotna: Young 5-9-1—134. Kodiak: Yavorsky 2-5-0—29
Receiving — Soldotna: Howell 2-67, Walden 1-29, Gibbs 1-25, Conradi 1-22. Kodiak: Balila 1-16, Powers 1-13.