The Soldotna Stars dealt a decisive defeat to the Chugiak Mustangs on Friday at Justin Maile Field. The final score was 55-21.
The Stars improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the Northern Lights Conference, while Chugiak fell to 1-2 and 2-3.
“I was pretty pleased with their effort,” Soldotna head coach Galen Brantley Jr. said. “I thought we executed well on offense, the kids played great on defense.”
The coach mentioned that quarterback Zac Buckbee and running backs Gehret Medcoff, Wyatt Faircloth and Collin Peck all played well on offense as the Stars rushed 41 times for 415 yards.
Buckbee ran five times for 57 yards and three touchdowns, also throwing a scoring pass. Medcoff rushed seven times for 148 yards and two touchdowns, Faircloth rushed eight times for 105 yards and two touchdowns, and Peck rushed five times for 56 yards.
In an evening equal parts blustery and cloudy, the Mustangs opened with the first possession.
In what would become a trend in the first half, SoHi stopped Chugiak and forced a punt.
The Stars would score three times in the first quarter — on two runs from Buckbee and a run from Faircloth — to take a 22-0 lead.
The second quarter had more Chugiak punts and a fumble recovery by Joe Whittom. Medcoff scored twice, while Buckbee and Faircloth each added scores to make it 49-0 at halftime.
On defense, Brantley Jr. said Trevor Michael started his first varsity game and played well at outside linebacker.
Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers said his team was “down big time at halftime.” But, “We battled and we played hard in the second half,” he said.
Opening the second half, Buckbee threw a touchdown for a 55-0 lead. This would be the last time Soldotna scored Friday.
With three minutes left in the third quarter, Soldotna lost the ball on downs and the Mustangs took the ball only 25 yards from the end zone.
Faced with the first crack in what had been an impenetrable defense, the Stars called a timeout.
SoHi managed to come back and hold the Mustangs, but Chugiak was close enough to attempt a field goal. Though the kick was missed, a penalty gave Chugiak a fresh first down, which the Mustangs used to lock in their first touchdown of the night. An extra point closes the third at 55-7.
“We finished on a positive note,” Landers said. “They just loosened up.”
Brantley Jr. said the shift in the tide was a result of a large shift in players.
“We sat everybody,” Brantley Jr. said. “I think at one point we had seven sophomores playing.”
“Those young kids need to get out there, if they’re gonna play they’ve got to get out there and get their bumps in and learn,” Brantley Jr. said.
In the fourth quarter, the Mustangs looked like a wholly renewed team. With six minutes left in the quarter, Kaden Lockwood made a stunning catch for a second Mustangs touchdown. Even with a penalty moving back the kick, an extra point made it 55-14.
A minute and a half before the end, the Mustangs made the last score of the game, 30 seconds after retaking control of the ball. The game closed at 55-21 after the extra point.
Landers said Tyson Billman was one of his performers Friday. Billman was sidelined for part of the game by a big hit, but came back and scored for the team in the fourth. Landers also named Alex Brown as a standout.
The Soldotna Stars will spend the next two weekends away, playing Palmer and Wasilla in NLC tilts.
Brantley Jr. said, looking at next week’s game against Palmer, he’s hoping to see a repeat of this weekend’s game. The Moose fell to the Mustangs earlier this season.
“We want to come out and we want to play well right out of the gate, get things under control and be able to play young kids,” he said.
Stars 55, Mustangs 21
Chugiak 0 0 7 14 —21
Soldotna 22 27 6 0 —55
Sol — Buckbee 18 run (kick failed), 7:29.
Sol — Buckbee 12 run (Faircloth run), 2:57.
Sol — Faircloth 25 run (Peck run), 0:20.
Sol — Buckbee 18 run (O’Reagan kick), 10:11.
Sol — Medcoff 54 run (O’Reagan kick), 5:13.
Sol — Faircloth 42 run (kick failed), 3:32.
Sol — Medcoff 19 run (O’Reagan kick), 0:48.
Sol — Miller 19 pass from Buckbee (kick failed), 8:54.
Chu — Baker 5 run (Neilson kick), 0:11.
Chu — Lockwood 28 pass from Friesen (Neilson kick), 5:40.
Chu — Billman 30 run (Neilson kick), 1:22.
First downs 11 5
Rushing 41-415 34-145
Passing 13 30
Comp-att-int 1-2-0 5-13-0
Return yds 2-36 7-92
Punts 0 4-30.0
Fumbles 1-1 4-2
Penalties 10-85 4-20
Rushing — Soldotna: Medcoff 7-148, Faircloth 8-105, Buckbee 5-57, C. Peck 5-56, Hinds 4-28, O’Reagan 7-11, C. Huff 3-10, Arthur 1-3, Ohnemus 1-(-2). Chugiak: Billman 12-45, Friesen 4-31, Baker 7-27, Kohler 4-22, Johnson 2-16, Sparrow 5-4.
Passing — Soldotna: Buckbee 1-1-0—13, Arthur 0-1-0—0. Chugiak: Friesen 4-11-0—25, Sparrow 1-2-0—5.
Receiving — Soldotna: Miller 1-13. Chugiak: Lockwood 3-28, Johnson 2-2.
Homer 52, Redington 12
The Mariners went on the road to claim a big Mid Alaska Conference win Friday.
Homer led 30-6 at halftime en route to improving to 2-1 in the league and 4-1 overall. Redington, the defending Division III state champ, drops to 0-1 and 0-4.