Kenai Central posted a 61-6 nonconference victory Saturday over the Seward Seahawks in a game that featured 46 penalties, four lost fumbles, three interceptions, a mid-game coaches conference and an ejection.
“That’s the strangest game I’ve ever played in or seen in my entire life,” Seward head coach Mark Woodward said after the game, which lasted nearly three and a half hours.
In between the ugliness, the defending state small-schools champion Kardinals managed to put up some pretty solid numbers, including a 244-yard, four touchdown rushing performance from Brandon Miles.
“Brandon did a great job running the football today,” Kenai coach Jim Beeson said.
Miles opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run that was set up by a Bill Chimphalee interception deep in Seward territory on Seward’s second play from scrimmage.
Chimphalee was the day’s defensive star, picking off Seward quarterback Coty Beck three times, including one that went for a touchdown. Chimphalee actually returned two of his three picks for touchdowns, but one return was called back on a penalty.
“I was just trying to make plays,” the sophomore said following the game.
The rest of Kenai’s defense wasn’t exactly napping. Employing a unique coverage scheme that saw 300-pound lineman Papapa Nicholas blitzing from a linebacker position, the Kardinals constantly hounded the Seward offense, holding the Seahawks to minus-21 yards on the ground and limiting Beck to just three completions for 73 yards.
“It was pretty fun,” Nicholas said. “The first two games I had about four plays to my side. This way we were able to get constant pressure on them.”
Miles’ second touchdown run of the game pushed Kenai’s lead to 13-0 after one quarter.
Chimphalee set up the Kards’ third touchdown of the day when he stepped in front of Beck’s pass in Kenai territory and ran out to the Seward 37. Seven plays later, Isaia Faumui punched it in from one yard out to put Kenai up 19-0.
After a Seahawk punt (combined with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty) gave Kenai good field position on its next drive, Kardinal quarterback Tyler Chappell got in the scoring column, calling his own number for a 1-yard score. Chappell’s score would turn out to be the first of three touchdowns the Kardinals would put up in a 25-second span.
On Seward’s next drive, Chimphalee stepped in front of a short Beck pass and ran through a stunned Seward offense into the end zone.
“Bill’s a pretty good athlete,” Beeson said of Chimphalee, who also contributed 73 rushing yards despite suffering from leg cramps in the second half.
The Seahawks fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Kenai recovered on the Seward 7-yard line. One play later, Miles had his third touchdown run of the game and the Kards had a 40 point lead at the half.
Miles’s next carry produced a similar result, as he sprinted past the Seward defense for a nifty 67-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half.
Miles came out of the game after that, but Kenai wasn’t done scoring. Dusty Ward added a 4-yard touchdown run late in the third and Chimphalee got his second score of the day with a 3-yard plunge in the fourth.
Seward’s lone bright spot came in the third quarter, when linebacker Nick Spurr scooped up a fumbled handoff in the Kenai backfield and ran 88 yards to the end zone for the Seahawks’ only touchdown of the afternoon.
The second half was marred by some trash talking by both teams, as Seward’s frustration began to show through. At one point, both coaches and team captains were called onto the field to try and keep things orderly. Calm lasted all of one play, as a Seward player was ejected for arguing with a referee on the next play from scrimmage.
Woodward said the tone of the game was not in character for his squad,.
“That’s really not our team,” Woodward said.
Despite the ugliness, Beeson said he was proud of the way his team played, especially after the Kards lost their first two games of the season in lackluster fashion.
“Offense, defense and special teams played well,” Beeson said. “This was the first game where we played all three facets of the football game.”
Kenai must now travel to Kodiak for the Kards’ Northern Lights Conference opener. Beeson said he’s hopeful Kenai will be able to handle the ferry ride to “The Rock,” where the Skyview Panthers fell 22-14 Saturday.
“Kodiak obviously must have something going on down there,” Beeson said of the Bears, who are 1-1 in NLC play and must win in order to avoid falling below .500 in the NLC, which features four of the state’s top five small-schools teams according to the most recent coaches poll.
Kardinals 61, Seahawks 6
Kenai 13 27 14 7 61
Seward 0 0 6 0 6
Ken Miles 5 run (kick failed), 10:04
Ken Miles 10 run (Kim kick), 1:16 2nd Quarter
Ken Faumui 1 run (kick failed), 8:47
Ken Chappell 1 run (Kim kick), 4:52
Ken Chimphalee 8 int return (Kim kick), 4:33
Ken Miles 7 run (Kim kick), 4:27
Ken Miles 64 run (Kim kick), 11:37
Ken Ward 3 run (Kim kick), 3:30
Sew Spurr 88 fumble return (kick blocked), 0:21
Ken Chimphalee 4 run (Kim kick), 3:14
First downs 15 3
Rushes-yards 56-392 25-(-21)
Passing yards 29 73
Return yards 59 140
Passing 2-8-0 3-11-3
Punts-avg 2-22.0 5-30.2
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-2
Penalties-yards 24-139 22-133
Rushing Kenai: Miles 21-244, Chimphalee 11-73, Faumui 4-32, Chappell 6-20, Pierce 5-16, Stretch 3-7, Ward 4-2, Oliver 2-(-2). Seward: No. 22 1-2, Perea 3-1, Beardsley 1-(-6), Beck 13-(-8), Wilder 7-(-8).
Passing Kenai: Chappell 2-8-0-29. Seward: Beck 3-11-3-73.
Receiving Kenai: Miles 1-19, Oliver 1-10. Seward: Spurr 1-62, Beardsley 1-6, Hatch 1-5.
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