No matter the size of the school they are playing, it seems that Soldotna is able to dominate football games.
The Stars cruised to a 53-6 win over large-schools opponent Eagle River Saturday at Eagle River High School, opening their season with the squad’s 21st straight victory, dating back two years.
Soldotna racked up 451 total yards on offense compared to 138 for Eagle River, which was enough to necessitate a running clock in the second half, where SoHi’s lead of 53-6 remained the only constant for the Wolves.
Junior Drew Gibbs scored four touchdowns — three rushing and one receiving — to lead the Stars, while Skyview transplant Bailey Blumentritt added two and Trevor Walden and Ty Fenton provided one apiece. Gibbs and Fenton each went over 100 yards in the first half alone.
Juneau-Douglas 28, Kenai Central 15
The Kardinals lost a rematch of last year’s state medium-schools semifinals Saturday night at Adair Kennedy Field in Juneau.
Juneau quarterback Dorian Isaak threw two touchdown passes in the victory, including a 45-yard bomb to senior Adam Empson to give Juneau the first lead of the day, then followed that up with a 29-yard toss to Manase Maake. Isaak also ran for a score in the second quarter and senior Brady Mallinger rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Kenai senior Kyle Foree scored on a five yard run in the second quarter and Kardinals junior Andrew Welborn scored from one yard out with seven seconds remaining in the game with senior quarterback Jace Baker passing to Foree for the two-point conversion.
“Number seven is a heck of a quarterback,” Kenai coach John Marquez said. “That first one he had us beat with our weak corner and they found a perfect ball. Second time our corner had good coverage, outstanding, you can’t do anything about that. I thought Juneau played a heck of a game, they are solid offensively and defensively, but most of all I am proud of our boys. We battled all game long. We are going to be a force to be reckoned with all season long, just as Juneau is. A couple plays here and there and the game would have been closer.”
Eielson 41, Homer 16
The Mariners opened their season with a loss to small-schools opponent Eielson Saturday in Fairbanks.
After Eielson took the lead first, Homer stole it away almost immediately with an 84-yard return by Connor Seay, followed by a two-point conversion run by quarterback Sheldon Hutt.
Eielson scored three times in the second quarter — including two touchdowns from Anthony Griffith — to distance itself.
Josh Fisk added a touchdown on a two-yard run in the fourth quarter for Homer.
Seward 14, Houston 7
The Seahawks opened their season with a win over the newly-independent Hawks Saturday in Seward.
Preston Atwood ran the ball for Seward’s first score in the first quarter, which was followed by Rhett Sieverts grabbing the 2-point pass conversion for an 8-0 first quarter lead. Quarterback Alex Pahno then added a touchdown in the second quarter to give Seward a 14-0 halftime lead.
Vanu Mose, among a number of new Houston starters, rushed for 87 yards on 11 carries in the loss. Mose scored on a 14-yard run in the third quarter, but Seward held its opponent in check the rest of the way, standing strong on a few redzone attempts by Houston in the second half, according to Seward athletic director Al Plan.
Houston hosts its home opener against defending small schools state champion Nikiski Friday at 7 p.m. at HHS.
Complete statistics were not available as of press time.
Mat-Su Frontiersman reporter Jeremiah Bartz contributed to this report.
STARS 53, WOLVES 6
Soldotna 27 26 0 0 —53
Eagle River 6 0 0 0 —6
Sol — Gibbs 31 pass from Furlong (Ackerman kick), 9:38
Sol — Gibbs 45 run (Ackerman kick), 7:02
ER — Banks 58 run (pass failed), 5:31
Sol — Gibbs 40 run (Ackerman kick), 4:26
Sol — Walden 7 pass from Furlong (kick blocked), 2:48
Sol — Blumentritt 3 run (kick blocked), 10:57
Sol — Fenton 57 run (kick missed), 9:11
Sol — Blumentritt 33 run (Ackerman kick), 8:05
Sol — Gibbs 14 run (Ackerman kick), 6:21
Soldotna Eagle River
First downs 13 6
Rushes-yards 46-413 22-53
Passing yards 38 85
Return yards 20 0
Passes 2-3-0 10-19-1
Punts 0-0.0 4-26.0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 3-30 4-20
RUSHING — Soldotna: Gibbs 7-146, Fenton 8-113, Blumentritt 6-73, Chavez 8-33, Winter 2-16, Prior 3-16, Jones 3-16, Furlong 6-(-9). Eagle River: Banks 9-67, Wilson 3-3, Osborne 1-3, Thompson 5-(-7), Heagy 4-(-13).
PASSING — Soldotna: Furlong 2-3-0—38. Eagle River: Thompson 6-12-0—58, Heagy 4-6-0—27, Clark 0-1-1—0.
RECEIVING — Soldotna: Gibbs 1-31, Walden 1-7. Eagle River: Keith 4-44, Barnes 4-34, Banks 1-4, Wilson 1-3.
CRIMSON BEARS 28, KARDINALS 15
Juneau 14 7 0 7 —28
Kenai 0 7 0 8 —15
Jun — Empson 45 pass from Isaak (Maake kick), 8:08
June — Maake 29 pass from Isaak (Maake Kick), 1:22
Ken — Foree 5 rush (Jackman kick), 11:09
Jun — Isaak 1 rush (Maake kick), 9:01
Jun — Mallinger 7 rush (Maake kick), 1:48
Ken — Welborn 1 run (Foree pass from Baker), :07
RAVENS 41, MARINERS 16
Eielson 6 22 7 6 —41
Homer 8 0 0 8 —16
Eie — Velez 15 run (run failed), 6:50
Hom — Seay 84 kick return (Hutt run), 6:33
Eie — Griffith 1 run (Dunlap run), 10:42
Eie — Dunlap 20 run (run failed), 8:10
Eie — Griffith 64 run (Griffith run), :12
Eie — Velez 15 run (Benjamin kick), 4:35
Hom — Fisk 2 run (Swaboda run), 10:06
Eie — Dunlap 11 run (kick missed), 1:53