The Eielson Ravens are renowned for a running game that helped them win four of the last five Division III state high school football titles.
The Ravens showed during a 56-0 romp of the visiting Seward Seahawks on Saturday afternoon that they can be effective through the air, too.
Sophomore quarterback Payton DeVaughn completed two of three passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow sophomore Christen Bolton accounted for both receptions and scores in the nonconference game at Buck Nystrom Field on Eielson Air Force Base.
“It just opens up options, because every team doesn’t expect us to pass,” said DeVaughn, who registered his first touchdown passes in his first season as a varsity starting quarterback.
“So it gives them that surprise that we can pass and we will pass if it keeps working,” added DeVaughn, who contributed a rushing TD and also plays at linebacker for the 1-1 Ravens of the Aurora Conference.
Bolton corralled touchdown passes in the second quarter, helping Eielson take a 41-0 lead into halftime.
The 5-foot-10, 151-pounder, who also plays at defensive back, scored on a 31-yard reception at the 11:45 mark.
Eielson had first down and 20 to go from its 17-yard line. DeVaughn threaded a pass that Bolton caught at about the 45-yard line amid double coverage from the Seahawks. Bolton slipped away from the defenders and streaked down the left sideline for his second touchdown of the game and the season.
“The first one (touchdown) was a perfectly placed pass by Payton. He did a great job of delivering the pass,” Bolton said. “The second one, it was tough. I had to readjust to try to get it but I’m glad I came down with it.”
The passing attack added to a Ravens offense that hummed. Eielson generated 438 yards rushing, with six other touchdowns on the ground.
“From our starters to our backups, they got in did some things well,” head coach David DeVaughn said of the Ravens’ execution against the 1-1 Seahawks of the Division III Peninsula Conference.
“We always preach doing those little things well,” coach DeVaughn continued. “… You take care of those little things, good things happen.”
Senior running back Jeramiah Brown amassed nine carries for 164 yards while producing Eielson’s first touchdowns on a 49-yard run in the first 17 seconds of the game, and 41-yard scamper at the 8:05 mark of the opening quarter.
Jaydenn Manibusan compiled a game-high 185 yards on 13 carries. The junior running back dashed for a 47-yard TD with 5:43 left in the first quarter for a 20-0 lead and he scored the game’s last touchdown with a 14-yard sprint up the middle of the field.
Payton DeVaughn plunged in from 1 yard out with 1:50 left in the first for a 27-0 lead.
Jiro Dobashi-Noa, a reserve junior running back, contributed a 10-yard touchdown burst with 4:04 left in the third to put Eielson up 48-0. The Ravens got a safety at the 2:16 mark of the third on a fumbled punt attempt in the end zone.
Eielson’s defense limited Seward to 69 yards from scrimmage — 65 rushing and 4 passing — for the afternoon. However, it seemed early in the first quarter that the Seahawks were going to reach the end zone.
Eielson had first down and goal from the Seward 4-yard line, and the Seahawks pressured Payton DeVaughn, forcing a fumble.
Beau Freiberg scooped up the ball at the 9 and blazed up the field for 70 yards before he was stripped of the ball. The Ravens recovered the fumble at the Eielson 21.
“Our cornerback (Freiberg) was running and Eielson is always coached well on running from behind and knocking out fumbles,” Seward head coach Kelly Cinerski said.
“We’ve told them to cover, cover (the ball),” Cinerski said. “I was hollering ‘Cover with two hands,’ and I saw the (Eielson) guy coming up.”
Seward had 15 players for Saturday’s game and seven of them are first-year football players.
“The team is very young,” Cinerski said. “We were focusing on doing our little things right, trying for each one to have a personal goal or either their job, and youth showed.”
Freiberg also led the Seahawks in rushing with 12 carries for 42 yards.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.