Kenai Central takes fourth straight state crown

Posted: Sunday, October 16, 2005


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  Kenai coaches Jim Dawson and Jim Beeson give players a game plan for the second half in the locker room at halftime. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Eilson's Nick Rogers can't get past Kenai's Les Krusen (54), Papapa Nichols (77) and Austin McLeod (42) in the first quarter of Saturday's small-schools state championship football game at Anchorage Football Stadium.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

The first 6 minutes, 31 seconds of Saturday's Alaska School Activities Association small-schools state championship football game belonged to the Eielson Ravens.

However, the remaining 41:29 — and the First National Bowl championship trophy — were firmly in the grasp of the Kenai Central High School football team as the Kardinals defeated Eielson 42-10 to claim their fourth straight state title on the turf at Anchorage Football Stadium.

"I think it was just desire," Kenai's Isaia Faumui said of the Kardinals' resilience. "We wanted to get that four-peat, and we weren't going to let them deny us."

The Ravens had their sights on an upset, and Eielson's swarming defense forced a Kenai punt from deep in Kardinals territory on the first series of the game.

A 34-yard run from Nick Rogers put the Ravens inside the Kenai 20-yard line, and Matt Broussard connected for a 34-yard field goal to give Eielson a 3-0 lead 4:18 into the game.


Players celebrate with the First National Bowl Championship trophy during post-game festivities following Kenai's fourth consecutive small-schools state title Saturday evening.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Eielson tacked on seven more points just over two minutes later as the Ravens pass rush got to Kenai quarterback Tyler Chappell. The ball was knocked loose as Chappell tried to get a pass off, and Travis Pew scooped up the bouncing ball and scampered into the end zone.

"(Eielson) came out flying, and we came out too hard. We were running past the play and shooting ourselves in the foot," said Kenai's Les Krusen.

The Kardinals never lost their composure, though, and took the ball 78 yards in six plays for a touchdown with 3:13 left in the first quarter. Chappell and Brandon Miles each had runs of 22 yards on the drive, and Chappell capped the drive with a 10-yard keeper, cutting back after starting to the right and finding his way to the end zone.

"We started running the option out of trips (three receivers in the formation). It spread them out, and they started overpursuing," Chappell said of the adjustment. "It was just great coaching to recognize that kind of stuff."

The Kardinals took the lead on the first play of the second quarter when Chappell lofted a pass just over the top of the defense for Austin McLeod, who pulled the ball down and cruised into the end zone for a 22-yard score.


Sporting Kenai's black and red colors on their faces, Kassandra Handricks, Juston Spotts, Kellan Flanagan and Joe Foglia cheer the Kards in the first half Saturday. Kenai fans had a lot to cheer about with a final score of 42-10.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Miles broke free for a 24-yard touchdown run with 8:01 left in the half, and Bill Chimphalee, after tipping away a fourth-down pass attempt by the Ravens, scored on a 63-yard pass from Chappell on the final play of the half. Chimphalee out-jumped an Eielson defender just past midfield to pull down Chappell's pass, then outran three Ravens defensive backs to get to the end zone as time expired, giving Kenai a 28-10 halftime lead.

"It was a bad start on our part, but we never think we're going to lose a game," said Kenai's Papapa Nicholas. "We expect ourselves to win, no matter what happens."

While Kenai's offense got rolling, the defense pounded the Eielson line and Rogers, who carried the ball 33 times in the game, was hit hard on every play.

"We wanted to come out and be physical. They played a lot of small schools that don't bring it as hard as we do. That's Kenai football — go out and whack them on every play," Krusen said.

An interception and a fumble ended ended Kenai's first two possessions in the second half, but Faumui was able to sniff out a lateral from his linebacker position, knocking the ball away from the intended receiver and pouncing on it at the Eielson 3-yard line, setting up Chimphalee's second touchdown of the day.


Kenai coaches Jim Dawson and Jim Beeson give players a game plan for the second half in the locker room at halftime.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Chimphalee got his hat trick early in the fourth quarter, finding a seam in the Eielson defense and darting 49 yards for the score.

Ju Kim added the extra point — he was 6-for-6 on the day — to give the Kardinals their final margin of victory.

Rogers ran for 95 yards for the Ravens.

Miles led the Kardinals with 150 yards rushing while Chappell ran for 96 yards.

"I'm feeling fantastic right now," Faumui said of Kenai's four-peat. "It's never been done in state history. We're the first to do it in Alaska."

Kardinals 42, Ravens 10

Eielson 10 0 0 0 —10

Kenai 7 21 7 7 —42

1st Quarter

Eie — Broussard 34 field goal, 7:42

Eie — Pew 18 fumble return (Broussard kick)

Ken — Chappell 10 run (Kim kick), 3:13

2nd Quarter

Ken — McLeod 22 pass from Chappell (Kim kick), 11:54

Ken — Miles 24 run (Kim kick), 8:01

Ken — Chimphalee 63 pass from Chappell (Kim kick), 0:00

3rd Quarter

Ken — Chimphalee 3 run (Kim kick), 4:50

4th Quarter

Ken — Chimphalee 49 run (Kim kick), 9:42


Kenai's Tyler Chappell throws a pass in the first quarter. Chappell had 40 carries for 150 yards Saturday.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Eielson Kenai

First downs 9 13

Rushes-yards 44-112 40-355

Passing yards 101 130

Return yards 18 44

Passing 2-8-1 5-10-1

Punts-avg 6-36.8 2-34.5

Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-3

Penalties-yards 3-20 6-45


Rushing — Eielson: Rogers 33-95, Wright 3-26, Nixon 4-7, Horn 1-(-2), Renfro 3-(-14). Kenai: Miles 19-150, Chappell 10-96, Chimphalee 5-53, McLeod 2-40, Pierce 1-15, Faumui 2-4, Stretch 2-(-3).

Passing — Eielson: Renfro 2-8-1—101. Kenai: Chappell 5-10-1—130.

Receiving — Eielson: Pew 1-50, Horn 1-51. Kenai: Miles 2-30, Chimphalee 1-63, McLeod 1-22, Faumui 1-15.

Missed field goals — Eielson: Broussard 37 (wide left).

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