The Eagle River Wolves rolled to a 31-0 Northern Lights Conference win Saturday over Kenai Central, and locked up a Division II state playoff spot in the process.
Eagle River, last year’s Division II runner-up to Soldotna, improved to 2-0 in conference and 4-2 overall this year. Kenai dropped to 0-1 in its NLC opener and 1-4 overall.
Kenai head coach Dustin Akana said mistakes and lapses in judgment doomed the Kardinals, who were backed up 90 yards on 13 penalties.
“We’re our own worst enemies,” Akana said. “That’s exactly what it was today … we just hurt ourselves on plays, whether it was by (penalty) flag, turning the ball over, not doing our responsibilities.”
Akana also said Kenai struggled to establish a strong run game against the Eagle River line. The Kardinals finished with 83 team rushing yards, led by Tucker Vann’s 57.
The inability to get a ground game going led to senior Kayden Daniels opening up the pass game, as Daniels threw 18 times, hitting 10 targets for 78 yards with two interceptions.
Cashiez Reaves led the Wolves with two touchdowns runs and 142 rushing yards. Reaves punched it in from a yard out in the second quarter to give Eagle River a 10-0 lead at halftime, then bust free for 50 yards in the third quarter to push the lead to 17-0.
Overall, the Wolves ground out 248 yards on 42 carries.
“They brought it today,” Akana said about the Wolves. “They were pushing to end the season strong, but we just take care of what we have in front of us next.”
Kenai will travel to Kodiak next weekend for an NLC contest that will likely decide Kenai’s playoff fate.
Homer 30, Seward 0
The Mariners secured a Peninsula Conference victory Saturday in Seward.
Homer (1-1 conference, 3-2 overall) moved into a three-way tie for second in the Peninsula Conference standings with Nikiski and Ketchikan. Houston leads the division at 3-0.
Seward dropped to 0-3 in conference, 0-6 overall.
Seward head coach Kelly Cinereski said the Seahawks had their hands full against Homer QB Anthony Kalugin, who helped get the Mariners out to a 16-0 lead at halftime.
Homer scored once in both the third and fourth quarters to put the game away.
“We played hard, we’re just young,” Cinereski said. “We shined at times, but other times just couldn’t seem to stop them.”
Next weekend, Homer hosts Nikiski, while Seward hits the road against Eielson, which lost 42-0 Saturday to Barrow.
Saturday at Eagle River
Wolves 31, Kardinals 0
Kenai Central 0 0 0 0 —0
Eagle River 2 8 7 14 —31
ER — Team safety (Kenai snapped ball out of end zone), 6:28
ER — Reaves 1 run (Simon run), 9:22
ER — Reaves 50 run (Hamilton kick), 8:17
ER — Simon 27 pass from Guderian (Hamilton kick), 11:54
ER — Hamilton 6 run (Hamilton kick), 6:58
First downs 10 12
Rushes-yards 39-83 42-248
Comp-att-int 10-18-2 3-6-0
Passing yards 78 41
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0
Penalties 13-90 8-90
Punts-avg 3-24.0 42.0
Return yards 0 0
RUSHING — Eagle River: Reaves 15-142, Simon 13-46, Hamilton 9-33, Guderian 5-27. Kenai: Vann 13-57, Burnett 15-21, Tomrdle 3-11, Sylvester 4-(-4), Daniels 4-(-2).
PASSING — Eagle River: Guderian 3-6-0—41. Kenai: Daniels 10-18-2—78.
RECEIVING — Eagle River: Simon 1-27, #34 1-11, Flagg 1-3. Kenai: Vann 3-15, Pitsch 2-41, Tomrdle 2-5, Smith 1-13, Sylvester 1-10, Burnett 1-4.