Chalk one up for the little guys and the laws of physics.
Despite facing a much heftier Anchorage Christian Schools team Friday, the Nikiski High School football squad dominated the game in the trenches, leveraging their way to a 41-6 win over the Lions in a Great Land Conference game in Nikiski.
"It was nice to get two birds with one stone," said Nikiski running back and linebacker Billy Anderson. "We got our first home win, and our first conference win."
But while Anderson put up the big numbers for the Bulldogs 11 carries for 114 yards, including a 71-yard scamper for Nikiski's first touchdown he was quick to credit his teammates who cleared the way.
"Our line was just making good blocks and sustaining them," Anderson said. "We've been doing it all season, and we're getting better and better as the year goes on."
Nikiski coach Ned Clooten said winning the battle at the line of scrimmage was just a matter of playing to the Bulldogs' strengths.
"I told the kids that when I played football, I was one of the big guys, and I hated playing against little, squirrelly linemen," Clooten said. "We beat them with quickness."
The Bulldogs also used a little bit of basic physics, putting themselves in a good position to exert some leverage on their larger opponents.
"We've been practicing a lot on down blocking, and that helped a lot today," said Nikiski center Josh Boye. "They had some really big guys, but we just stayed low and tried our hardest."
The same strategy worked on defense, where the Bulldogs held the Lions to 55 yards on 38 carries.
"We just did what we needed to do," Anderson said of stopping ACS' jumbo-sized backfield. "We wanted to make sure that when (Bobby Dunbar) had the ball, we hit him low. We knew he was going to get the ball a lot, and we knew he would get tired, so when we hit him, we hit him hard and wore him down."
For its part, the Nikiski offense was on full throttle from the start. Nikiski was forced to punt on its first offensive series of the game, but then reeled off touchdowns on its next four drives.
Anderson made Nikiski's next possession a one-play drive with his 71-yard run, and the Bulldogs took two plays to score on their next series, a 31-yard keeper by quarterback Travis McGahan and a 33-yard run by Jared Mazurek for the score.
Tyrone Landford capped the next Nikiski drive with a 7-yard touchdown run, and McGahan was able to scramble to his right and connect with Anthony Lorenzo on a 4-yard pass for the Bulldogs' fourth touchdown of the game.
Nikiski's defense accounted for all the scoring in the third quarter as Jeremiah Taylor returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown and the Bulldogs recorded a sack in the end zone for a safety.
The Lions got on the board midway through the fourth quarter after an interception by Cody Dunbar set up a 5-yard run by Alex Hawkins, but Nikiski's special teams finished off the scoring as Taylor returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown.
Clooten said the Bulldogs still have a few things to work on, but added that he was pleased with his team's performance, citing Anderson's effort on offense, as well as the contributions of tight end Louie Oliva and running back Landford. Clooten also credited Lorenzo with his best game of the season defensively.
Bulldogs 41, Lions 6
ACS 0 0 0 6 6
Nikiski 7 20 8 6 41
Nik Anderson 71 run (Taylor kick), 2:21
Nik Mazurek 33 run (Taylor kick), 11:51
Nik Landford 7 run (Taylor kick), 9:07
Nik Lorenzo 4 pass from McGahan (kick failed), 4:29
Nik Taylor 78 interception return (kick blocked), 4:11
Nik Safety, ACS quarterback tackled in end zone, 1:58
ACS Hawkins 5 run (run failed), 5:13
Nik Taylor 84 kickoff return (kick failed), 4:59
First downs 8 8
Rushes-yards 38-55 33-188
Passing yards 46 109
Return yards 24 158
Passing 8-23-2 6-12-1
Punts-avg 9-33.2 4-25.5
Fumbles-lost 6-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-45 7-60
Rushing ACS: Scott 7-28, Hawkins 5-21, B. Dunbar 22-6, Dyson 4-0. Nikiski: Anderson 11-114, McGahan 5-25, Lorenzo 7-23, Mazurek 6-21, Landford 3-7, Womack 1-(-2).
Passing ACS: B. Dunbar 8-16-146, Dyson 0-7-10. Nikiski: McGahan 5-10-092, Womack 1-2-117.
Receiving ACS: Scott 4-13, Senko 3-24, C. Dunbar 1-9. Nikiski: Lorenzo 2-7, Oliva 1-42, Taylor 1-33, Mazurek 1-10, Key 1-17.
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