Homer's Michael Swoboda tries to run the ball during a small schools semifinal game at Eielson High School on Saturday, October 10, 2015. Eielson will be competing in the small schools state championship game next weekend at Dimond High School in Anchorage. ERIN CORNELIUSSEN/NEWS-MINER

Homer's Michael Swoboda tries to run the ball during a small schools semifinal game at Eielson High School on Saturday, October 10, 2015. Eielson will be competing in the small schools state championship game next weekend at Dimond High School in Anchorage. ERIN CORNELIUSSEN/NEWS-MINER

Eielson football knocks off Homer

  • By Danny Martin
  • Sunday, October 11, 2015 12:13am
  • Sports

Eielson head coach David DeVaughn pointed to the Ravens players on Saturday as the reason the team is getting its third shot in four years for the small-schools state football title.

Eielson earned trip No. 3 to the state championship game with a 62-0 win over the Homer Mariners in a small schools state semifinal on Saturday afternoon at Buck Nystrom Field at Eielson High School on Eielson Air Force Base.

“I think it’s a testament to those guys over there that are happy right now,’’ DeVaughn said while pointing to a postgame gathering of the Ravens, “and all the hard work they’ve put in and the dedication they’ve put into this program, and the guys from the past that have shown them that and have given these guys this kind of drive.

“We’ve just got a good thing going and a great group of kids,’’ DeVaughn added.

For the third time in four years, Eielson faces the Nikiski Bulldogs for the state title, starting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Dimond High School’s Alumni Field in Anchorage. Eielson defeated Nikiski for the title in 2012 and last year.

Nikiski advanced to the state final after downing the Barrow Whalers 41-18 in Nikiski in the other small-schools semifinal on Saturday.

The 8-1 Ravens got their running game going on Saturday to help them to go back to the state championship contest. Eielson churned out 408 yards on a windy, cool afternoon and its defense limited the Homer to 122 yards.

Kalib Dunlap, among seven Ravens seniors who were playing their last time on their home field, ended up with six touchdowns after the Eielson coaches made adjustments to the Mariners defense. Dunlap accounted for the first five of Eielson’s six scores in the first half, which it led 41-0.

“They were trying to take some things away from us, which gave us other things and that happened to be Kalib,’’ DeVaughn said.

“I told him as soon as we saw what they were doing, I was going to ride him to the saddle fell off,’’ he added.

Dunlap rushed 17 times for a game-high 185 yards, and his production started with a 5-yard run with 9:10 left in the first quarter and a 50-yard scamper with 4:33 remaining in the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, he rattled off an 8-yard burst (9:03), 21-yard dash (6:36) and 3-yard surge (2:11). Dunlap contributed a 15-yard TD run with 4:19 left in the third quarter for a 48-0 lead.

“I tried to be a leader and play like every play is my last play,’’ Dunlap said.

The Ravens displayed an offensive versatility with 0.2 seconds left before the halftime break, as junior quarterback Antonio Griffith threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Brown, a sophomore who is Eielson’s reserve quarterback.

It was the Ravens’ only pass of the afternoon.

Andrew North provided Eielson’s last two touchdowns of the game.

The senior, while playing linebacker, collected two interceptions, returning the first one 61 yards to make it 55-0 with 1:54 left in the third quarter.

“I saw the ball coming and I turned all my focus on that ball,’’ North said. “I knew if I could bring it in, I could score.”

While playing at running back, he added a 26-yard scoring run with 5:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.

North finished with five carries for 58 yards, and though, he didn’t score, fellow senior running back Caleb Velez compiled 132 yards on just eight carries.

Josh Fisk, who’s among six seniors on Homer’s roster, ran nine times for 87 yards for the Mariners, who finished the season 4-5.

The Mariners, despite the Ravens pulling away, continued to try to move the ball on offense and play intensely on defense.

“Unfortunately, we were on the side of several games like this; so it wasn’t unnatural for us,” Homer head coach Josh Fraley said. “We have kids that have tremendous heart and they’ve always been big hitters. I’m extremely proud of these kids; even though the score got out of hand, they didn’t give up. They were still trying to do the best they can.

“We just got beat by a better team today, but I’m real proud of these kids,’’ he continued. “It’s tough to have our seniors go out like this, but that’s football.”

Mariners sophomore quarterback Teddy Croft completed four of 13 passes for 41 yards with the two interceptions. Fellow sophomore Dawson Felde made two catches for 31 yards and Fisk had two receptions for 10 yards.

Contact sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.

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