The host Nikiski football team defeated Valdez 52-42 on Saturday in Denali Conference play.
The Bulldogs move to 2-1 in the league and 2-4 overall, while the Buccaneers drop to 1-2 in the league and 2-3 overall.
According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Eielson forfeited its game this weekend to Monroe, keeping the Rams undefeated. With just one game left against each other, Seward and Nikiski, both with losses to Monroe, can’t catch the Rams for the league’s lone playoff spot.
Nikiski coach Paul Nelson said his team knew the playoffs was a long shot headed into Saturday’s game. Nelson said the Bulldogs still have plenty of incentive to finish the season strong. One of those incentives was to honor seniors Simon Grenier, Wyatt Stormer and Alen Nelson with a win in the final home game.
Nikiski led 22-0 after the first quarter, 30-14 at halftime and 44-28 after three quarters.
“Valdez was a good team,” Nelson said. “They kept fighting and scratching back. I thought we had them a couple times and they just kept scoring and making it close again.”
The leaders on offense were Seth Payne with two touchdown passes from Brady Bostic, Grenier with two touchdown runs and Dwyght Mullins with two touchdown runs. Bostic added two interceptions on defense, while James Hemphill had a fumble recovery. Truit McCaughey also had a rushing touchdown.
“We’ve really clicked in the last week and a half and made strides on offense,” Nelson said. “We’re bummed we have no playoff shot. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks and it’d be nice to see what we could do with more time.”
Eagle River 48, Kenai Central 6
The visiting Wolves moved to 5-1 overall by knocking Kenai to 1-4 overall.
Kardinals coach Dustin Akana said Eagle River executed the run game well on offense. On defense, the Wolves had big players up front that forced Kenai into a passing game that made some big plays, but didn’t have the consistency needed to keep the score close.
“We did have some older players get injured,” Akana said. “The younger players played well and made some big plays.”
Kenai has been bit by the injury bug among experienced players this season. Except for a concussion, Akana said the injuries Saturday were relatively minor.
Talon Whicker, Gavin Dirks, Jordan Martinez, Elijah Dambacher, James Sparks, Levi Good, Morgan Sparks, Samiel Wilson, Daniel Myers, David Martin and John Wright were honored for senior day.
Martin closed the game by catching an 18-yard touchdown pass from Roc Riggle.
Akana said this is a special group to him, because they were all freshmen when he first became head coach.
“They’ve been awesome leaders,” the coach said. “The other players look up to them. They work hard, play hard and are disciplined and accountable. I’ve been able to trust and depend on them.”
Redington 56, Homer 14
The visiting Huskies stormed to a 50-8 lead at halftime en route to topping the Mariners on Friday in Mid Alaska Conference action.
Redington moves to 3-0 in the league and 6-0 overall, while Homer’s season ends at 0-3 in the league and 1-5 overall. Homer’s Week 8 opponent, Barrow, has canceled the rest of its season due to COVID issues.
Redington quarterback Wayde Bowman was 11 of 15 for 260 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Bryce Murdock caught four balls for 185 yards and two touchdowns for the Huskies, while Logan Seymore and John Gosh also caught touchdowns.
Jeremiah Bailey and Jaden Spaulding ran for touchdowns for Redington.
Homer was hurt by turnovers, throwing five interceptions and losing three fumbles. Carter Tennison rushed for a Homer touchdown, while Malachi Raymond threw a 45-yards scoring strike to Luke Hanson.
Homer coach Justin Zank said via text message the play of first-year player Hanson stood out. He caught four balls for 137 yards and also had five kick returns for 85 yards.
The Mariners honored five seniors for senior night: Michael Ritter, Braden Huffman, Dodge Petrosius, Nestor Kalugin and Kamdyn Doughty.
Huskies 56, Mariners 14
Redington 22 28 0 6 —56
Homer 0 8 0 6 —14
Red — Murdock 61 pass from W. Bowman (conversion failed).
Red — T. Bowman 28 interception return (Spaulding run).
Red — Spaulding 20 run (Spaulding run).
Red — Gosh 7 pass from W. Bowman (conversion failed).
Red — T. Bowman 40 interception return (Seymore pass from W. Bowman).
Red — Seymore 3 pass from W. Bowman (conversion failed).
Red — Murdock 61 pass from W. Bowman (Murdock pass from Bowman).
Hom — Tennison 5 run (Martin pass from Tennison).
Red — Seymore 38 pass from Bowman (conversion failed).
Red — Bailey 31 run (conversion failed).
Hom — Hanson 45 pass from Raymond (conversion failed).
First Downs 8 7
Rushing yds 7-65 23-50
Passing yds 260 173
Comp-Att-Int 11-15-2 10-22-5
Punts 1-42 2-45.5
Fumbles 1-1 3-3
Penalties 5-40 5-39
Rushing— Redington: Bailey 2-36, Spauling 4-29, Vargas-Gutierres 1-0. Homer — Tennison 12-45, Petrosius 9-10, Nyvall 1-(-5).
Passing— Redington: Bowman 11-15-2—260. Homer — Tennison 9-20-4—128; Raymond 1-2-1—45.
Receiving—Redington: Murdock 4-185, Seymore 1-38, Gosh 2-16, Bailey 2-15, Spaulding 1-6. Homer: Hanson 4-137, Martin 2-18, Petrosius 3-15, Huffman 1-3.