Kenai's Tyler Chappell looks runs the ball in the second quarter Saturday against Homer. Chappell scored on a 15-yard run in the first quarter.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The Kenai Central High School football team overpowered Homer to win a Northern Lights Conference game Saturday at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.
"That's what we talked about we wanted to take care of business and run the football," Kenai coach Jim Beeson said after his Kardinals posted a 41-8 win.
The Kardinals were all business in the first quarter, grinding out a 10-play, 61-yard drive for a touchdown to open the game. Brandon Miles, who carried the ball six times on the drive, scored on a 5-yard run to put Kenai on the board.
Homer got the ball back for just two plays as Kenai forced a fumble on the Homer 26-yard line, and the Mariners spent the rest of game just trying to make it out of their own end.
"Our coaches told us to get after it, get in their face and don't let down," said Kenai's Dustin Stelljes. "The coaches all week told us to be relentless."
Kenai needed four plays to convert the fumble recovery into six points as Miles scored on a 4-yard run.
Kenai's Brandon Miles scores a touchdown in the third quarter Saturday in front of Homer's Collin Hagen. Miles scored 30 points in the 41-8 game.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Homer started its next drive on its own 13. The Mariners picked up two first downs, aided by a pair of offsides penalties, but the Kenai defense drove the Mariners all the way back to the 12 as Homer quarterback Canyon McKinstry, facing a third-and-14, threw a pass to one of his own lineman under heavy pressure from the Kardinals. Between the loss on the play, the penalty yardage and the loss of down for the illegal touch, and another punt into the wind, Kenai once again started a drive at the Homer 26.
Kenai quarterback Tyler Chappell called his own number twice to get into the end zone, scoring on a 15-yard run to give Kenai an 18-0 lead.
"We jumped on top early, and that was huge," Beeson said. "Our offensive line and defensive line just kept pounding and pounding."
Save for four plays after a long Homer punt with the wind, the Kardinals kept the ball in the Mariners end of the field for the whole second quarter. However, Homer was able to buckle down defensively and keep the Kardinals from adding to their lead before the half.
Mariners defensive coach Cameron Wyatt said the Mariners did well reading Kenai's offense they just couldn't stop it often enough.
"Kenai works hard, and when you work that hard, you get ranked No. 1 on the peninsula," Wyatt said.
Kenai, with the wind once again at its back, added a pair of touchdowns and a safety in the third quarter.
The first touchdown came after a sack forced Homer to punt into the wind from its own 6. Kenai got the ball back at the Homer 27, and four plays later, Miles was back in the end zone after a 3-yard carry.
The Mariners were forced to punt from their own 4 on their next series. Luke Gilbert got off a decent kick, but it took a wicked bounce in Kenai's favor and scooted all the way back to the 8-yard line. Miles covered the distance quickly for his fourth touchdown of the day.
A touchback gave the Mariners the ball out at the 20-yard line to start their next drive. Kenai made tackles for losses on the first two plays of the series, though, and McKinstry was chased back into his own end zone trying to find daylight to throw on third down. McKinstry flung the ball away before getting sacked, but the intentional grounding call in the end zone gave Kenai a safety.
"Our defensive line just tried to get pressure on the quarterback as much as we could," said Kenai's Papapa Nicholas.
The Mariners finally got their offense moving after the safety, recovering the free kick after a low, hard drive caromed off a Kenai defender. Two plays later, the Mariners had the wind at their backs and McKinstry connected with Justin Smith for a 35-yard gain on the first play of the fourth quarter. McKinstry eventually got his team in the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak, then feathered a nice pass to Smith for the two-point conversion.
Kenai's defense regrouped and stiffened for the rest of the fourth quarter, though, and Miles added one more touchdown his fifth of the game on a 30-yard carry. Miles finished with 108 yards on 29 carries for the Kardinals.
Beeson said he was impressed with the way his line played and called the win a "team effort." He also cited the improved play of Nicholas over the past few games.
"Papapa, over the last two weeks, he's become a man out there. He's playing hard all the time and making plays on both sides of the ball. They can't block him," Beeson said.
Homer, now 2-1 in conference play and 4-3 overall, will finish the regular season at home against Skyview Saturday. A win for the Mariners would secure a playoff berth.
Kenai improves to 3-0 in the NLC and 5-2 overall. A win next week at home against archrival Soldotna would clinch the conference title for the Kardinals.
Kardinals 41, Mariners 8
Homer 0 0 0 8 8
Kenai 18 0 16 7 41
Ken Miles 5 run (kick blocked), 7:49
Ken Miles 4 run (run failed), 5:46
Ken Chappell 15 run (pass failed), 1:32
Ken Miles 3 run (Kim kick), 3:46
Ken Miles 8 run (Kim kick), 1:37
Ken Safety, intentional grounding in end zone, 0:43
Hom McKinstry 1 run (J. Smith pass from McKinstry), 9:40
Ken Miles 30 run (Kim kick), 4:04
First downs 7 13
Rushes-yards 33-(-1) 50-230
Passing yards 122 46
Return yards 0 28
Passing 11-24-0 3-9-0
Punts-avg 8-26.9 3-25.7
Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 16-96 7-50
Rushing Homer: Cam. Hagen 12-16, McWilliams 5-7, Gilbert 1-4, McKinstry 15-(-28). Kenai: Miles 29-108, Chappell 9-66, Faumui 9-31, Chimphalee 3-25.
Passing Homer: McKinstry 11-24-0122. Kenai: Chappell 3-9-046.
Receiving Homer: Ju. Smith 5-91, McWilliams 4-12, Cam. Hagen 1-10, Layland 1-9. Kenai: McLeod 2-41, Miles 1-5.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.