A game that could have major playoff implications down the road lived up to its billing Saturday at Kodiak.
Kodiak defeated Kenai 28-27 when Kenai failed on a two-point conversion with 6:10 remaining in the Northern Lights Conference game.
With Soldotna looking ever more dominant, there could very well be just one playoff spot up for grabs in the NLC. Last season, Kodiak finished second in the conference and Kenai was third thanks to a 19-0 victory by Kodiak over Kenai. Saturday's win could turn out to be just as critical.
Kenai trailed 28-21 when Zack Rabung got behind the defense on the left side and Kenai quarterback Daniel Gustkey found him for a 30-yard touchdown.
After calling a timeout to talk about it, Kenai decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Gustkey rolled out to his right on the play, but the pass fell incomplete.
The Bears would not let the Kardinals have the ball the rest of the game thanks to some clutch plays on offense and a big mistake by Kenai's defense. Kodiak quarterback Jimmy Eggemeyer converted a third-and-11 by picking up 13 on a quarterback keeper and Michael Odell picked up 9 yards on a third-and-four with 2:48 left. On a fourth-and-two at Kenai's 41 with 1:37 left, the Bears were able to draw the Kardinals offside to get the first down.
The Bears were able to win despite a huge game from Bill Chimphalee, who grew up in Kodiak before moving to Kenai. Chimphalee rushed for 126 yards. He scored on a 42-yard run, an 86-yard kickoff return and also had an interception on Kenai's 2-yard line. Cody Booth had Kenai's other score on a 21-yard pass from Gustkey.
Odell had 111 yards rushing for Kodiak, while Eggemeyer passed for 109 yards and rushed for 89 yards.
Bears 28, Kardinals 27
Kenai 7 7 7 6 27
Kodiak 7 0 14 7 28
Ken Booth 21 pass from Gustkey (Gustkey kick), 8:15.
Kod Odell 48 run (Cratty kick).
Ken Chimphalee 42 run (Gustkey kick), 6:10.
Kod Dittman 50 pass from Eggemeyer (Cratty kick), 9:15.
Ken Chimphalee 86 kickoff return (Gustkey kick), 8:59.
Kod Odell 13 pass from Eggemeyer (Cratty kick), 1:46.
Kod Schwantes 18 run (Cratty kick), 9:30.
Ken Rabung 30 pass from Gustkey (pass failed), 6:10.
First downs 13 21
Rushes-yards 34-150 38-264
Passing yards 113 109
Return yards 152 54
Passing 8-14-1 6-13-1
Punts-avg 3-28.4 3-28
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 8-50 3-25
Rushing Kenai: Chimphalee 22-126, Gustkey 4-10, Booth 7-13, Kiefer 1-2. Kodiak: Odell 16-111, Schwantes 8-66, Dittman, 1-(-1), Eggemeyer 13-89.
Passing Kenai: Gustkey 8-13-0-113, Chimphalee 0-1-0-0; Kodiak: Eggemeyer 6-12-0-109, Diocares 0-1-1-0.
Receiving Kenai: Booth 5-68, Hughes 1-9, Rabung 2-36; Kodiak: Bryant 2-24, Odell 1-13, Dittman 2-57, Diocares 1-15.
Valdez 28, Nikiski 20
The Buccaneers overcame a 20-14 deficit heading into the final quarter on Saturday in Great Land Conference play to claim their first victory over Nikiski.
After falling behind 28-20, Nikiski got the ball needing to go 65 yards for a touchdown with 1:14 to play. Wiley Bennett drove the team to the Valdez 34-yard line before an interception with 31 seconds to play halted the drive. Bennett had thrown a 55-yard touchdown to Sheridan Olsen and a 10-yard touchdown to Beau Calderwood earlier in the game. Bennett was 5-of-14 for 122 yards. He also hit Evan Holloway four times for a total of 19 yards, Walker Boyle once for 13 yards and Calderwood twice for 35 yards.
Calderwood led the Bulldogs on the ground, getting 129 yards on 24 carries. Also, Boyle had 21 yards rushing on four tries and Holloway had 18 yards rushing on a single carry.
For Valdez, Austin Starbuck had 17 carries on 106 yards, while Adam Failing also had a rushing touchdown. At quarterback, Failing was 10-of-28 for 243 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. James Rogers caught four passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while Parker Hutchison had four catches for 67 yards and one touchdown.
Buccaneers 28, Bulldogs 20
Nikiski 0 14 0 6 20
Valdez 0 7 0 14 28
Nik Olsen 55 from Bennett (Bennett kick)
Val No. 12 pass from No. 2 (No. 47)
Nik Calderwood 10 pass from Bennett (Bennett kick)
Val No. 84 60 pass from No. 2 (No. 47)
Nik Calderwood 70 interception return (kick failed)
Val No. 12 70 pass from No. 2 (No. 47 kick)
Homer 26, Ketchikan 0
The Mariners shut out the Kings to notch a Northern Lights Conference victory in Ketchikan.
Homer had 314 yards of total offense and turned the ball over twice, while Ketchikan had 80 yards with one turnover.
Corey Sutherland led Homer's attack by rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown and passing for 20 yards and a touchdown to John Bouman. Cole Jacobsen and TJ Locklar also had scoring runs for Homer, while David Craig rushed for 55 yards and Matt Tyrrell rushed for 43 yards.
Ross Courtnet had two sacks for Homer, while Ben Jantzi added another.
Soldotna 49, Seward 7
The Stars kept on rolling with a nonconference victory at Seward on Friday. Soldotna improved to 3-0 overall, while Seward dropped to 0-3.
Soldotna quickly jumped to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter, getting interception returns of 45 and 28 yards from Anthony Griglione, a 40-yard touchdown run from Bryce Gardner, a 75-yard touchdown pass from Griglione to Gardner and a 28-yard run by Justice Elson. Griglione then added a 20-yard run in the second quarter.
Seward got its lone points from Dylan Beck's 67-yard run in the third quarter.
Kyle Wood added a touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Stars.
Stars 49, Seahawks 7
Soldotna 35 7 0 7 49
Seward 0 0 7 0 7
Sol Gardner 40 run (Elson kick), 11:41.
Sol Griglione 45 interception return (Elson kick), 10:26.
Sol Elson 28 run (Elson kick), 6:55.
Sol Griglione 28 interception return (Elson kick), 3:10.
Sol Gardner 75 pass from Griglione (Elson kick), 0:35.
Sol Griglione 20 run (Elson kick), 6:15.
Sew Beck 67 run (Beck kick), 10:45.
Sol Wood 5 run (Elson kick), 6:36.
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