Hoping to get a good start in the second half, the Houston Hawks elected to kick after winning the coin toss Saturday evening at Soldotna High School. Bad idea.
Soldotna scored on its first three plays from scrimmage on its way to a 56-14 non conference rout of the Hawks. With the win, SoHi moved to 2-1 (1-0 NLC) on the season.
SoHi running back Mike Reed set the tone on the first play of the game, breaking a number of tackles at the line of scrimmage before bursting through for a 70-yard touchdown run.
After the game, Reed said Soldotna was fired up before the game and wanted to come out strong.
“We didn’t want to mess around,” Reed said.
After Houston’s first drive fizzled out deep in Soldotna territory, it was Marvin Tate’s turn to get a carry. Tate didn’t disappoint, busting to the outside and going 85 yards on the Stars’ second play.
After a Houston punt, Jonny Coreson got into the act, slicing virtually untouched through the line of scrimmage on his way to a 73-yard score. After having the ball for all of 46 seconds, Soldotna led by a score of 22-0. From that point on, things were pretty much academic.
“We had good film on them, but they just came out and did their job,” Houston head coach Norm Bouchard said following the game.
The Hawks were able to move the ball fairly well against Soldotna in the first half, piling up first downs with a solid rushing attack. Whenever Houston threatened, however, Soldotna was able to step up and halt the Hawks’ momentum.
“We just couldn’t punch it in early,” Bouchard said.
Soldotna pushed its lead to 29-0 in the second quarter on its longest scoring drive of the half four plays when quarterback Aleks Pfaffe scampered in from 10 yards out.
Following the game, SoHi head coach Sarge Truesdell said he was pleased to see his team come out and execute so well offensively.
“I was really excited about the way our offense moved the ball,” Truesdell said.
Soldotna’s running attack ran up 537 yards on only 34 carries Saturday, including triple digit performances from Reed (124 yards on four carries), Bryce Gardner (107 yards on two carries) and Jacob Howarth (108 yards on seven carries).
The second half was much the same as the first, with the Stars piling up huge chunks of yardage on the ground. It took SoHi just three plays to score its fifth touchdown of the game, a 34-yard run by Gardner that made the score 36-0 with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
In addition to dominating on offense, the Stars were able to take advantage defensively once the Hawks began trying to throw the football. Christos Asimakopoulos and Coreson each picked off Houston quarterback Ryan Thamm, and the Stars also recovered a fumble.
Howarth got his first touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run late in the third to push the Soldotna lead to 43-0.
Houston finally got on the board in the fourth quarter when Thamm found receiver Jeremy Bower in the end zone for a 3-yard strike.
That score was followed by two more rushing touchdowns from the Stars, including a 40-yard scamper by Howarth and a 16-yard run by freshman Anthony Griglione. Griglione also did the kicking duties for the Stars, going 6-of-7 on extra points.
Houston’s final touchdown came on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Thamm to David Monteil with three minutes remaining in the game.
Next up for the Stars will be a Northern Lights Conference tilt with the Homer Mariners, who posted a dominant 35-6 win over Nikiski on Friday.
“We’ve got to play a great football game next weekend,” Truesdell said.
With all five NLC teams looking strong this season, the Soldotna coach said he expects things to get a lot tougher now that the Stars head into the meat of their conference schedule.
“Skyview’s super talented, Kenai’s very talented and from everything I’ve seen, Homer’s outstanding as well,” Truesdell said. “I think we have several battles ahead.”
Stars 56, Hawks 14
Soldotna 22 7 14 13 56
Houston 0 0 0 14 14
Sol Reed 70 run (Besse pass to Landess), 11:40
Sol Tate 85 run (Griglione kick), 5:22
Sol Gardner 73 run (Griglione kick), 2:29
Sol Pfaffe 10 run (Griglione kick), 11:37
Sol Gardner 34 run (Griglione kick), 8:00
Sol Howarth 5 run (Griglione kick), 3:07
Hou Thamm 3 pass to Bower (Smyth kick), 11:07
Sol Howarth 40 run (Griglione kick), 9:17
Sol Griglione 16 run (kick failed), 4:41
Hou Thamm 40 pass to Monteil (Smyth kick), 3:00 Soldotna Houston
First downs 10 16
Rushes-yards 34-537 46-140
Passing yards 16 160
Return yards 0 2
Passing 1-2-0 12-22-2
Punts-avg 2-33.5 4-29.8
Fumbles-lost 1-0 5-1
Penalties-yards 12-105 4-25
Rushing Soldotna: Reed 4-124, Howarth 7-108, Gardner 2-107, Tate 2-88, Griglione 6-78, Pfaffe 5-16, Tachick 1-12, Hatt 2-7, Coreson 2-0, Wood 3-(-3). Houston: Thistle 18-80, Erickson 16-44, Smyth 6-25, Morales 1-2, Monteil 1-2, No. 35 1-1, Thamm 3-(-14).
Passing Soldotna: Pfaffe 1-2-0-16. Houston Thamm 12-22-2-156.
Receiving Soldotna: Tate 1-16. Houston Monteil 8-132, Elder 2-24, Bower 1-3, Thistle 1-1.
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