Kenai Central, Soldotna and Homer came out of the 2010 prep football season's first week undefeated. The Kards, which hold the No. 1 small-schools ranking in the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Poll, dominated both sides of the field while shutting down and shutting out Skyview 36-0. Second-ranked SoHi edged out Wasilla 15-7 in a penalty-and-fumble-filled affair. The No. 4 Mariners topped the Bulldogs, who just couldn't pound the ball in from close range, 14-6. Kodiak and Thunder Mountain also notched Week 1 victories and are ranked third and fifth, respectively. Here's a look at the Week 2 matchups.
Service JV at Skyview, Friday 6:30 p.m.
Execution was stressed all week at practice, Panthers head coach Eric Pomerleau said. He said all 11 players need to be on the same page each play.
"We're just one mistake on each play that is the difference between really successful on offense or just blowing up," Pomerleau said.
The Panthers didn't give up many big plays to Kenai in Week 1, Pomerleau said. The team had some breakdowns on special teams and offense, he said.
"We executed pretty well last week on defense for the most part," Pomerleau said. "We're just trying to clean it up and get everybody on the same page. If just one player is not on the same page, bad things happen."
SkyHi is close to clicking on offense, Pomerleau said.
"We're just one little thing away from getting big plays," he said. "The execution is there, but not all the time."
Homer at Thunder Mountain, Friday 8 p.m.
The Mariners and Falcons, both undefeated, play a nonconference game in Southeast.
Homer opened up its season by using a strong second half to top Nikiski 14-6, with quarterback Cody Shealy running 22 times for 90 yards and a touchdown. Shealy also was 3-for-6 for 59 yards and a score.
Thunder Mountain topped Sitka 40-17, with quarterback Camden Thomas going 6-for-9 for 133 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Cameron Fronimos had 84 yards and a score.
Homer coach Camron Wyatt has seen tape on Thunder Mountain and he is impressed.
"They're going to battle us hard-core," he said.
The Mariners have just 14 varsity kids to bring to the game. Homer graduated 14 from last year, and also is being hampered by 11 ineligible players.
"Athleticism and hard work is not going to get this game," Wyatt said. "We're truly going to have to play a step up."
Service at Kenai, Saturday 2 p.m.
Keeping Service's offense off the field will be key for success, Kards head coach Jeff Baker said.
"They have a couple of real dynamic players," he said. "It will be a real test for us."
Baker said his team needs to sustain long drives on offense and wear down the Cougars.
"We're gonna have to use up the clock and chew up a bunch of yardage," he said. "The more time we spend on offense, the less their real fast kids spend on offense."
Like Kenai, Service has strong linemen, Baker said. The Kards' line flexed its muscles against Skyview.
"Our line did a real good job of controlling the line of scrimmage," Baker said. He said he'd like the same outcome against Service.
Kenai will also look for another solid performance from quarterback AJ Hull, who rushed for more than 100 yards and four touchdowns last week.
"He's a fast, athletic, shifty kind of runner," Baker said. "Fortunately for him, he's behind a very good line."
If the Kards defense plays the same, too, that will keep the Cougars offense quiet. Kenai allowed SkyHi to gain just 4 all-purpose yards.
"Defensively we felt really good," Baker said. "The kids were just in the right spots at the right times all four quarters."
Between Service, West Valley and Palmer, Kenai has a tough nonconference schedule this season. Baker said those faster-pace games will benefit his team.
Right now Kenai's No. 1 goal is to remain healthy, Baker said.
SoHi at Kodiak, Saturday 3 p.m.
Using Eielson as a measuring stick, the Bears will present a challenge for the Stars.
Eielson was toe-to-toe with SoHi during three days of a preseason camp, Stars head coach Galen Brantley Jr. said. Last week, Kodiak cruised to a 33-7 win over Eielson in Fairbanks.
"They're a very good football team," Brantley Jr. said of Kodiak. "We're gonna have our work cut out for us shutting down their running game."
The Bears collected 218 rushing yards and four touchdowns in Week 1. SoHi's Philip Bennett was even better. Bennett ran for 235 yards against Wasilla and scored both SoHi touchdowns.
"Phil stepped up big for us the first week," Brantley Jr. said. "He's a sensational athlete."
Brantley Jr. said he's hoping for big games from Bennett, Robbie Smithwick, Auston Tennis and Tanner Fowler. The more success SoHi can have with multiple running backs, it will prevent Kodiak's defense from swarming Bennett, he said.
The Bears' option game will be an adjustment for SoHi, Brantley Jr. said. If the Stars bring the same effort as they did in Week 1, take better care of the ball and eliminate false starts, they'll be hard to stop, he said.
"If we're able to address those issues, it will definitely help the cause from an offensive standpoint," Brantley Jr. said.
Having manageable third downs will be key, Brantley Jr. said.
"We can't get into long downs. We're not designed for that," he said. "We're designed to keep the train on time."
Kodiak has earned its No. 3 small-schools ranking, Brantley Jr. said.
"They're as advertised," he said. "They are substantially better than they were last year. They'll be right there knocking at the door."
Nikiski at Delta Junction, Saturday 11 a.m.
Punching the ball across the goal line at opportune times will be crucial, Bulldogs head coach Ted Riddall said. Nikiski fumbled six times in its game against Homer, twice inside the 5-yard line.
"We definitely need to finish when we're inside the 5-yard line and hold onto the football," Riddall said.
After competing hard in the first half, mental errors cost Nikiski in the second half, he said. The young Bulldogs used Week 1 as a learning opportunity, Riddall said.
Intensity was a positive from the Homer game.
"Our kids played pretty aggressive," Riddall said. "The level of hitting was at a pretty good level. I think we're starting off on a high note."
Delta's offense is evenly split between passing and running, Riddall said. It will give Nikiski's defense a chance to see a different style of offense than what it's used to, he said.
Riddall said he'll look for big games from quarterback Colton Anderson and running back Kaden Spurgeon. Spurgeon ran for 134 yards and a touchdown to lead Nikiski last week.
If Anderson and Spurgeon carry their Week 1 success into this week and the team limits mental errors and plays at a high level, the Bulldogs will have success, Riddall said.
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