The Soldotna football team rolled to a 46-21 homecoming victory over Eagle River Saturday in nonconference action.
Aleks Pfaffe passed for four touchdowns and ran for another as the Stars improved their overall record to 5-2. Pfaffe rushed for 101 yards and passed for 127 yards.
Because Eagle River has played a junior varsity schedule this year, Soldotna coach Sarge Truesdell was worried about getting his No. 1 unit quality repetitions heading into the game.
Those fears appeared to be realized when the Stars jumped to a 26-0 lead in the first quarter on Pfaffe touchdowns to Bryce Gardner, Kory Wilbanks and Kelly Seggerman and a Pfaffe run.
However, Truesdell put some junior varsity players in the game and Eagle River started a comeback. After an 80-yard fumble return, the score stood at 32-21 and then Eagle River recovered an onside kick.
"We put in our No. 1 group the last eight minutes and they got some meaningful reps," Truesdell said. "The Eagle River kids were fired up and playing hard. The game ended up going much better than I thought."
Truesdell was able to get his running backs more than just a few carries and was able to play his top linemen for a half.
The Stars also were able to put up their most prolific passing game of the year. Truesdell said his team has shown it can run the ball, so now they can move on to the pass.
The passing attack should give Kenai something else to think about when the two meet Saturday a game crucial to the playoff hopes of both teams.
Truesdell also was happy that the Stars came away from the Eagle River game healthy.
Wilbanks added another touchdown reception for the Stars, while Mike Reed had a pair of touchdown runs.
STARS 46, WOLVES 21
Eagle River 0 0 7 14 21
Soldotna 26 6 0 14 46
Sol Wilbanks 50 pass from Pfaffe (kick failed), 11:30
Sol Gardner 30 pass from Pfaffe (Grubb kick), 7:46
Sol Seggerman 11 pass from Pfaffe (kick failed), 4:36
Sol Pfaffe 60 run (Grubb kick), 2:24
Sol Reed 50 run (kick failed), 6:29
ER No. 45 1 run (kick good), 5:24
ER No. 45 24 run (kick good), 11:20
ER No. 11 80 fumble return (kick good), 6:44
Sol Reed 10 run (run failed), 5:59
Sol Wilbanks 20 pass from Pfaffe (Tate run), 1:09
First downs 7 18
Rushes-yards 41-160 51-435
Passing yards 46 135
Return yards 0 0
Passing 2-8-0 6-11-0
Punts-avg 6-30 1-12
Fumbles-lost 2-2 3-2
Penalties-yards 7-60 9-76
Rushing Soldotna: Reed 5-78, Howarth 7-70, Tate 7-72, Gardner 4-55, Pfaffe 9-101, Hatt 5-29, Miller 3-21, Grubb 2-7, Demallie 2-3, Tachick 3-0, Elson 2-5, Coreson 2-14.
Passing Soldotna: Pfaffe 5-7-0127, Tachick 1-4-08.
Receiving Soldotna: Wilbanks 3-86, Besse 1-8, Gardner 1-30, Seggerman 1-11.
Nikiski 53, Valdez 14
What Superman and Batman are to the Justice League, Justin Tumbaga and Zech Hemphill are to Nikiski football.
Hemphill and Tumbaga combined for six touchdowns as the Bulldogs routed the Valdez Buccaneers 54-14 in a Greatland Conference tilt Saturday afternoon in Valdez. With the win, Nikiski moved to 4-1 in the conference and now can clinch a playoff spot next week with a win over Seward.
"We know what we need to do next week," Nikiski head coach Ned Clooten said after the game.
Like a speeding bullet, Hemphill got the 'Dawgs off to a fast start, returning the opening kickoff 88 yards to the house to put Nikiski up 6-0. Just three minutes later, it was Tumbaga's turn, as the peninsula's third-leading rusher scored on a 19-yard run. Tyler Payment added a 1-yard run to put the Bulldogs up 20-0 after just one quarter.
Things didn't get any easier for the Buccaneers after that, as the Bulldogs continued to pile on the points. Also getting a touchdown run for Nikiski was Tab Schwenke, who scored on a 1-yard-plunge in the fourth to give Nikiski its final tally.
Clooten said Saturday's win was nice, but his team still has one more building to leap before it can punch its ticket to the post season.
"We need to win," he said.
BULLDOGS 54, BUCCANEERS 14
Nikiski 20 15 13 6 54
Valdez 0 8 0 6 14
Nik Hemphill 88 kickoff return (kick failed), 11:40
Nik Tumbaga 19 run (C. Smith run), 8:18
Nik Payment 1 run (kick failed), 3:18
Nik Hemphill 24 pass from C. Smith (Hemphill run), 9:20
Val 36-yard pass (conversion successful)
Nik Tumbaga 3 run (Blatchford kick)
Nik Hemphill 53 run (Blatchford kick), 11:45
Nik Hemphill 20 run (kick failed), 7:15
Nik Schwenke 1 run (kick failed), 9:19
Val 38-yard run (kick failed), 1:36
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