Kenai Central quarterback Daniel Gustkey (10) ends up on the bottom of the pile after scoring on a 1-yard sneak play against Skyview on Saturday in Kenai.
Photo by Will Morrow
The Kenai Central High School football team never delivered a knockout punch, but after four quarters of pounding the ball against the Skyview Panthers, the Kardinals found themselves on the winning end of a 28-0 decision Saturday at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.
“We just kept plugging away,” said Kenai head coach Jim Beeson. “We felt like we didn’t take advantage of all our opportunities in the first half. In the second half, we wanted to come out and set the tempo of the game.”
The Kardinals offense was in perfect rhythm to open the second half, starting with a good kickoff return by Bill Chimphalee and a seven-play, 59-yard scoring drive. Chimphalee finished off the drive with a 23-yard scamper up the left sideline, and a Jeremy Narlock extra point gave Kenai a 14-0 lead with 8:49 left in the third quarter.
The Kardinals added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Quarterback Daniel Gustkey connected with Cody Graham on a 14-yard pass play for a score 1:52 into the frame, capping a 13-play, 81-yard drive that started late in the third quarter.
Chimphalee rounded out the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown plunge with 3:38 left in the game to finish off a 12-play, 52-yard drive.
Kenai’s first-quarter touchdown came on a 1-yard sneak play by Gustkey.
“We just kept pounding and pounding and pounding,” Beeson said.
Skyview's Greg Bosick (33) follows the block of Tanner Hansen (21) in the first half Saturday in Kenai.
Photo by Will Morrow
Much of the pounding fell on the shoulders Chimphalee, who carried the ball 39 times for 193 yards.
Beeson gave much of the credit for the win to his defense, though, which held Skyview’s Greg Bosick to 62 yards on 21 carries.
“We knew he was going to get the ball, just like everyone knows Chimphalee is going to get the ball for us,” said Kenai linebacker Michael Dormady. “Our goal was to shut him out so he wasn’t a threat. He had a few good plays, but we were able to shut him down for most of the game.”
“I respect Bosick he’s the No. 1 running back in the state. Shutting him down was a real good thing for our defense,” added linebacker Stuart Stretch.
Skyview was able to move the ball at times, but the Panthers weren’t able to finish off any of their drives. A promising possession late in the first half ended with an interception by Chimphalee on the Kenai 7-yard line with 24 seconds left in the second quarter.
Early in the third quarter, the Panthers executed a double-reverse option pass all that despite some good penetration into the backfield by the Kenai defense. The pass downfield found a wide-open receiver, but the ball was bobbled and dropped.
Later in the quarter, the Panthers nearly came up with what might have been a momentum-changing turnover when a Kenai return man muffed a punt, but, once again, the ball eluded the Panthers’ grasp.
The Panthers final drive of the game ended on the Kenai 9-yard line with an incomplete pass.
“We didn’t catch any breaks, but they basically handled us,” said Skyview head coach Phil Sheridan. “We couldn’t get any momentum. We needed a big play to get it, but we botched every big play opportunity.
“It’s very disappointing.”
The Panthers fall to 3-3 overall and are now on the outside looking in at the Northern Lights Conference playoff race with a 1-2 conference mark.
“We’ve had a great attitude all year. I doubt this will dampen their spirits. We’ll get back to work on Monday and see if we can have a good homecoming against SoHi,” Sheridan said.
With the win, the Kardinals, 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the NLC, are still in the hunt for a state small-schools playoff berth.
“We know we need to keep winning games to stay in it, but we feel good we’re still in the running for a chance to be in the playoffs,” Dormady said.
Kardinals 28, Panthers 0
Skyview 0 0 0 0 0
Kenai 0 7 7 15 28
Ken Gustkey 1 run (Narlock kick), 0:15
Ken Chimphalee 23 run (Narlock kick), 8:49
Ken Graham 14 pass from Gustkey (Narlock kick), 10:08
Ken Chimphalee 2 run (Narlock kick), 3:38
First downs 3 15
Rushes-yards 32-69 58-230
Passing yards 53 48
Return yards 0 0
Passing 4-12-1 4-6-0
Punts-avg 6-33.8 3-38.3
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-0
Penalties-yards 3-20 5-30
Rushing Skyview: Bosick 21-62, Buffington 7-7, Cobb 1-2, Mallette 2-0, Bauer 1-(-2). Kenai: Chimphalee 39-193, Gustkey 9-19, Graham 6-12, Booth 4-6.
Passing Skyview: Bosick 4-9-053, Buffington 0-3-10. Kenai: Gustkey 4-6-048.
Receiving Skyview: Shirnberg 3-17, Kunz 1-36. Kenai: Graham 3-40, Werba 1-8.
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