Skyview's Gregory Bosick brings down Kenai's Brandon Miles in the third quarter Friday night at Skyview.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
On a sloppy, slippery Skyview High School football field, Kenai Central's Brandon Miles was as steady as they come.
The senior running back scored three rushing touchdowns on offense and intercepted three passes on defense to lead the Kardinals to a 33-0 Northern Lights Conference victory over the Skyview Panthers.
"I just tried to hold onto the ball," Miles, who finished with 152 yards rushing on 31 carries, said after the game.
With the win, Kenai moved to 2-0 in the NLC while Skyview fell to 0-2.
Kenai was able to make the most of the rainy conditions, forcing seven Skyview turnovers.
"We got some bad breaks and we fumbled the ball too much," Skyview head coach Phil Sheridan said after the game.
The first break of the game came early, as Kenai's Isaia Faumui blocked Skyview's first punt of the game. Kenai's Stuart Stretch recovered the loose ball in the back of the end zone to take a 7-0 lead after only two minutes of play.
The tough breaks continued for Skyview on its second drive, when Miles picked off Eddie Buffington's pass attempt in Panthers territory.
Kenai's Jeff Dolifka drives for yardage in a hard downpour during the third quarter Friday at Skyview.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Despite the turnover, Skyview got a break of its own after forcing the Kardinals into a punting situation. After Kenai punter Bill Chimphalee fumbled the snap, Skyview had great field position inside the Kenai 40. Skyview was unable to capitalize, however, fumbling the first snap of the ensuing drive and handing the ball right back to the Kardinals.
Skyview's defense then forced another punt, but once again the Panthers turned the ball over quickly as Miles got his second interception of the quarter on Shane Strausbaugh's pass attempt.
Kenai got its second touchdown of the half through the air, a tough feat considering the sloppy conditions. Chappell made his 27-yard strike to Chimphalee look easy, however, rolling out to his right and finding the Kardinals' sophomore standout wide open in the end zone to give the Kardinals a 13-0 lead.
Skyview had a golden opportunity to cut into the lead late in the second quarter after a long pass completion from Strausbaugh to Jeff Dolifka put the Panthers deep in the Kardinals' end. But Miles again came up big, getting his third interception of the half in the end zone with under a minute to play.
Miles credited both solid preparation and a little luck for his big first half on the defensive side of the ball.
"I watched a lot of tape on them," he said. "But mostly it's being in the right place at the right time."
The pick nearly led to another score for Kenai, as Chappell broke loose on the final play of the half and motored deep into Skyview territory before being forced out of bounds as the clock ran out.
The first half score didn't really indicate how well the Panthers played on the defensive side of the ball, as the Panthers were able to hold the Kardinals' rushing attack to just 88 yards on the ground a figure that included Chappell's 57-yard carry to end the half.
"I thought our defense played extremely well," Sheridan said.
What was a close game through much of the first three quarters was broken open late in the third quarter as the Panthers were driving toward a potential game-changing score. But when Strausbaugh tried to find a receiver near the end zone, Chappell came up from his cornerback spot to outmuscle the Skyview receiver and pull the ball away. There was a bit of contact on the play, but the official in the area ruled that both players were going for the ball.
"We just didn't get any breaks today," Sheridan said.
Sheridan's assessment was dead-on when it came to Kenai's knack for recovering fumbles. Despite fumbling the ball 10 times themselves, Kenai didn't turn the ball over once. Meanwhile on defense, Kenai managed to scoop up three of the five Skyview fumbles. Lineman Clint Keener led the way in that department, getting two fumble recoveries.
Seven plays after Chappell's interception return, Miles found the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown run that put Kenai up 20-0 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
From that point on, it was all Kenai, as the Kardinals' line began to wear down their smaller Skyview counterparts.
"That's what we wanted to do physically," Kenai head coach Jim Beeson said.
With holes starting to open up in the Skyview line, Miles began breaking off big runs that both put Kenai in scoring position and ran down the clock. Miles said he was impressed with how the offensive line did, especially considering fullback Stuart Stretch played a down lineman spot in the absence of starter Mackenzie Boyle.
"Stuart Stretch stepped it up and played really well," Miles said. "I'm going to have to take him out to dinner."
Another Skyview fumble led to a Miles touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter that effectively put the game away at 26-0. Miles would later add one more score, a 3-yarder to give Kenai its final margin of victory.
"We wanted to come out and play hard for four quarters of football, and that's what we did," Beeson said after the game.
Next up for Kenai is a nonconference game against Service in Anchorage. Skyview, meanwhile, plays crosstown rival SoHi.
Kardinals 33, Panthers 0
Kenai 7 6 0 0 33
Skyview 0 0 0 0 0
Ken Stretch recovered blocked punt in end zone (Kim kick), 9:59
Ken Chimphalee 27 pass from Chappell (kick failed), 2:59
Ken Miles 8 run (Kim kick), 1:02
Ken Miles 12 run (kick failed), 11:56
Ken Miles 2 run (Kim kick), 3:01
First downs 13 8
Rushes-yards 61-217 29-92
Passing yards 46 26
Return yards 60 0
Passing 3-5-0 1-7-4
Punts-avg 2-29.0 2-30.5
Fumbles-lost 10-0 5-3
Penalties-yards 8-53 4-50
Rushing Kenai: Miles 32-152, Chappell 19-75, Faumui 5-1, Krusen 1-(-1), Chimphalee 4-(-10). Skyview: Strausbaugh 6-30, Bosick 7-30, C. Buffington 8-19, E. Buffington 7-12, Burlison 1-1.
Passing Kenai: Chappell 3-5-0-46. Skyview: Strausbaugh 1-6-3-26, E. Buffington 0-1-1-0.
Receiving Kenai: Chimphalee 2-38, Miles 1-8. Skyview: Dolifka 1-26.
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