Kenai Central's defense held visiting Kodiak to 69 rushing yards and forced four turnovers as the Kardinals blanked the Bears 29-0 in Northern Lights Conference action Saturday at Ed Hollier Field. With the win, the Kards improve to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the league. Kodiak falls to 2-4 and 0-3.
"Overall, we did exactly what we wanted to do. We won the game and shut them out," Kenai head coach Jeff Baker said. "The whole defense played really well."
Kenai's linebacking corps and line led to its success on defense, lineman Richie Ziehmer said.
"We had good linebacker play," he said. "The line got (Kodiak's) linemen off the linebackers so they could do their job."
Kenai was well-prepared for Kodiak's offensive attack, Kards running back Kai Risung said.
"They did what we thought they'd do," he said. "Defense is the most important side of the football."
After a scoreless first quarter, Kenai quarterback AJ Hull ran in a pair of touchdowns in the second. His first came on a 13-yard run at the 4:21 mark. Less than three minutes later, he scored on a 9-yard run. Hull had 60 rushing yards for the game.
Kenai put the game out of reach with two touchdowns and a safety in the third quarter.
"That was huge," Risung said. "It put the nail in the coffin."
Baker said his team has struggled with third quarters and wanted Kenai to make a statement.
"The kids responded well and obviously made a pretty good statement off the bat," he said.
"The third quarter is huge," Risung said. "You can win it or lose it in the third quarter."
Kenai had great field position to start the second half. Starting out at Kodiak's 48-yard line, the Kards scored in six plays. Tyler Glidden ran in a 15-yard touchdown at the 9:41 mark to cap off the drive. Glidden led Kenai with 83 rushing yards and 47 receiving. Risung had 76 on the ground, 32 through the air and one touchdown.
"Kai and Tyler Glidden both ran the ball hard-nosed," Baker said. "It was just kind of a grind-it-out game."
"Our backs ran hard today," Ziehmer said. "We had pretty good execution."
Great blocking led to success on the ground, Risung said.
"I give it all to the linemen," he said.
After Glidden's touchdown, Kodiak fumbled a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff and Kenai recovered. The Kards' drive was stalled at Kodiak's 1-yard line when Hull was stopped just before crossing the goal line on fourth-and-goal.
After the turnover on downs, Kenai's Tyler Williams tackled Kodiak's Brandon Canete in the end zone for a safety. The Kards then strung together an eight-play drive on the following possession -- with Hull hooking up with Risung on a 31-yard strike to put Kenai up 29-0.
Kardinals 29, Bears 0
Kodiak 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Kenai 0 14 15 0 -- 29
Ken -- Hull 13 run (Hayes kick), 4:21
Ken -- Hull 9 run (Hayes kick), 1:39
Ken -- Glidden 15 run (Hayes kick), 9:41
Ken -- Williams safety, 5:39
Ken -- Risung 31 pass from Hull (kick blocked), 2:50
First downs 8 14
Rushes-yards 26-69 58-242
Comp-att-int 13-24-3 4-10-1
Passing yards 109 98
Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-1
Return yards 34 37
Penalties-yards 11-93 7-60
Punts-avg 2-37 4-32.7
Rushing -- Kodiak: Parsons 7-17, McFarlin 8-4, Johnson 4-10, Chavarria 2-0, Canete 5-38; Kenai: Hull 16-60, Risung 23-76, Glidden 12-83, Hansen 3-5, Carlson 2-6, Sandahl 2-12.
Passing -- Kodiak: Chavarria 13-24-3-109; Kenai: Hull 4-10-1-98.
Receiving -- Kodiak: Anderson 1-22, Parsons 4-17, McFarlin 2-29, Lepola 3-24, Marion 3-17; Kenai: Risung 1-31, Glidden 1-47, Sandahl 1-0, Nason 1-20.
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