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Eielson comeback overcomes Homer

Posted: Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eielson defeated Homer 21-20 Saturday in the semifinals of the small-schools playoffs at Buck Nystrom Field on Eielson Air Force Base.

With the victory, the Ravens advance to the small-schools state championship game Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Anchorage Football Stadium against Kenai Central.

Homer led 20-7 at the half, but Eielson came back to take the lead on a pair of rushing touchdowns by Nick Rogers in the second half. Rogers had three touchdowns and 146 rushing yards in the game.

Rogers tied the game at 20 with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run. Matt Broussard then added the crucial extra point.

Homer then used a 16-play drive to get within striking distance, but Eielson's Stan Nixon intercepted a pass by Canyon McKinstry with 48 seconds left in the game.

"This is the first time we've ever made the playoffs and I'm very proud of the boys for making a game of it," Homer coach Kelly Blake told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "In the second half, Eielson made some adjustments and we just made a few mistakes at bad times."

Homer got off to a great start by putting 13 points on the board in the first 4 minutes, 10 seconds, of the game.

The Mariners used a trick play on their first offensive snap, allowing Luke Gilbert to throw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Justin Smith. However, Eielson blocked the extra-point attempt — a block that would be the difference in the game.

Homer then recovered a fumble on the Eielson 19-yard line, then McKinstry scored three plays later on a 1-yard touchdown run.

After Eielson cut the lead to 13-7, a bad snap on an Eielson punt set up the Mariners at the Eielson 25 in the second quarter. In three plays, McKinstry had scored on another 1-yard run.

The Eielson defense stiffened in the second half. Homer running back Camron Hagen had 95 yards on 10 carries in the first half and minus 1 yard on eight carries in the second half.

RAVENS 21, MARINERS 20

Homer 13 7 0 0 —20

Eielson 7 0 7 7 —21

1st Quarter

Hom — Smith 49 pass from Gilbert (kick blocked), 8:39

Hom — McKinstry 1 run (Andrews kick), 7:50

Eie — Rogers 3 run (Broussard kick), 3:42

2nd Quarter

Hom — McKinstry 1 run (Andrews kick), 8:35

3rd Quarter

Eie — Rogers 20 run (Broussard kick), 7:17

4th Quarter

Eie — Rogers 1 run (Broussard kick), 9:03

Hom Eie

First downs 12 12

Rushes-yards 29-116 51-185

Passing yards 132 84

Passing 8-18-2 4-10-1

Return yards 73 55

Punts-avg. 2-15 3-24

Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2

Penalties-yards 10-38 7-57

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Homer: McKinstry 7-5, Hagen 18-94, Smith 1-(-6), Verbugt 1-0, McWilliams 2-18. Eielson: Rogers 33-146, Wright 10-25, Renfro 4-(-4), Pew 1-15.

Passing — Homer: McKinstry 7-18-2-83, Gilbert 1-2-0-49. Eielson: Renfro 4-10-1-84.

Receiving — Homer: Smith 4-84, Gilbert 1-19, Hagen 3-15, Kinney 1-14. Eielson: Pew 4-84.



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