The Nikiski High School football team took the drama out of things early, scoring on its first play from scrimmage Friday en route to a 56-0 win over Anchorage Christian Schools in a Great Land Conference game at Nikiski.
In fact, after it took the Bulldogs just under five minutes to rack up 21 points, the only burning question left to be answered seemed to be just how fast Nikiski would score its next points.
"We really hammered on mental focus and getting ready to play," said Nikiski coach Scott Anderson. "We made very few mistakes in the first half and things went our way."
David Holloway got things started for the Bulldogs, catching a 60-yard touchdown pass from Josh Reilly with 9:36 left in the first quarter.
Steve Calderwood added the first of his five rushing touchdowns 1:19 later on a 23-yard run, then scampered for a 16-yard touchdown run with 7:06 left in the first quarter.
Chuck Seater converted converted all three extra-point attempts to give Nikiski its 21-0 lead. Seater converted six of his eight PAT attempts and just missed on a 40-yard field goal attempt.
The Lions thwarted Nikiski's next drive with an interception on their own 3-yard line, then put together a goal-line stand to force the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs at the ACS 1-yard line, but the Bulldogs defense responded by catching the Lions ballcarrier in the end zone for a safety with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Kyle Alexander returned the ensuing free kick 45 yards, setting the Bulldogs up with a first-and-10 on the ACS 15, a distance Calderwood covered in one run for his third touchdown of the game.
ACS fumbled away its next possession, and Nikiski took two plays to score again, using a 32-yard pass play to Holloway from Reilly and a 5-yard run by Calderwood to take a 36-0 lead after one quarter of play.
"It was a good game. We're all working together, accomplishing our goals," Nikiski lineman Angelo Luna said. "It's just hard work. We stick together and get better every week. We're aiming for perfection."
Anderson began calling the 'Dawgs off in the second quarter, working some of his reserve players into the lineup. Calderwood scored one more touchdown on a 27-yard run 1:30 into the second quarter, and Alexander got around the corner to break a carry for 49 yards and a touchdown with 9:03 left in the first half.
Nikiski's second unit was able to move the ball well in the second half. Nigel Penhale highlighted the effort with his 16-yard touchdown run with 7:35 to go in the fourth quarter.
"I tried to put in a lot of younger guys," Anderson said. "They're our future. They played hard and moved the ball offensively."
ACS quarterback Todd Alden said playing Nikiski was a learning experience.
"It's just about having fun," Alden said. "I've only had two years experience. Most of these guys have one.
"We're coming along. The intensity is up, and we're starting to learn the game. We're still working out the kinks. There's still some little problems, and it makes it tough when you're playing the state champs."
Anderson said he expects ACS to be a contender in a couple of years.
Nikiski's Kyle Alexander scrambles after a loose ball in the third quarter against Anchorage Christian Friday.
Photo by M. SCOTT MOON
"I was real impressed. They were able to keep going, and not quit," Anderson said. "Down the road, they're going to be a good football team."
Nikiski, now 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Great Land Conference, will host Seward Friday.
BULLDOGS 56, LIONS 0
Anchorage Christian Schools 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Nikiski 36 14 0 6 -- 56
Nik -- Holloway 60 pass from Reilly (Seater kick), 9:36
Nik -- Calderwood 23 run (Seater kick), 8:17
Nik -- Calderwood 16 run (Seater kick), 7:06
Nik -- Safety, Butler tackled in end zone, 2:20
Nik -- Calderwood 15 run (kick failed), 2:04
Nik -- Calderwood 5 run (Seater kick), 1:40
Nik -- Calderwood 27 run (Seater kick), 10:30
Nik -- Alexander 49 run (Seater kick), 9:03
Nik -- Penhale 16 run (kick failed), 7:35
First downs 4 11
Rushes-yards 33-47 40-297
Passing yards 45 133
Return yards 12 60
Passing 3-15-4 5-11-1
Punts-avg 4-37.3 4-28.0
Fumbles-lost 6-4 1-0
Penalties-yards 3-34 4-45
Rushing -- ACS: Butler12-31, Dunbar 3-5, Alden 7-5, Lemieux 1-0, White 1-0, McCarty 9-(-6). Nikiski: Calderwood 8-90, Anderson 5-72, Alexander 1-49, Haynes 11-35, Reilly 3-29, Crumpacker 4-18, Mellberg 3-4, Womack 1-0, Gerke 2-0, Allen 2-0.
Passing -- ACS: Alden 3-15-4--45. Nikiski: Reilly 5-10-1--133, Womack 0-1-0--0.
Receiving -- ACS: Homau 1-28, Dunbar 1-11, Cooper 1-6. Nikiski: Holloway 5-133.
Missed field goals -- Nikiski: Seater.
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