Monroe Catholic High School’s Alex VanWhye heads for Homer’s quarterback, Anthony Kalugin, while he searches for an opening during their game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at the turf field in Homer. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Monroe Catholic High School’s Alex VanWhye heads for Homer’s quarterback, Anthony Kalugin, while he searches for an opening during their game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at the turf field in Homer. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer, Seward football lose

The football players of Monroe Catholic High School eked out a slim win over Homer High School in their nonconference bout Saturday on the Homer field.

In a match that came down to the final minutes, the Rams (2-1 overall) walked off victorious, besting the Mariners 28-27. While this is the third loss in a row for the young Homer team, it’s a closer score than coach Walter Love has seen so far.

The Mariners came close when junior Noah Fisk scored a touchdown with a minute and 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to one.

Love elected to go for the two-point conversion and the win, but the Rams managed to hold on to their slim lead by stopping a run by quarterback Anthony Kalugin.

Love said he went for it because he could see his players didn’t have the fight left for overtime.

“You know, I’m playing with kids that got banged up in the last two games,” he said. “I saw … they were getting tired.”

Love said that, at the end of the day, it’s “zero or hero.”

“I could have kicked it and tied it, but these guys were banged up still,” he said. “There was no gas left for them.”

Saturday’s game was Fisk’s return to action since being injured in the team’s first game of the season against Kodiak. He had a strong return, scoring two of the game’s touchdowns for Homer and contributing 171 of the team’s total 229 rushing yards.

Senior Yuri Golick contributed another 54 rushing yards. He also scored the other two Homer touchdowns of the game, one in the second quarter for a 10-yard gain, and the other in the third for a 5-yard gain.

Kalugin — one of a few transplants from the disbanded Head of the Bay Cougars team made up of players from three Russian Old Believer village schools — completed 3 of his 13 passes. The Voznesenka junior also made a successful two-point conversion on one of Golick’s touchdowns.

Prokohpy Konev, another former Cougars player, also contributed handily to the game with a tackle, 13 receiving yards and 51 total kick return yards.

In a game of back-and-forth touchdowns that kept the score close throughout, points were put on the board for the Rams by Josh Grey, Garren Nicholson, Jordan Higbee and Isaac Minnema. Higbee intercepted a pass from Kalugin and went on to make a 32-yard return for his touchdown in the second quarter. Minnema completed a pass from quarterback Trae Puryear for a 43-yard gain and touchdown.

Monroe’s players completed 159 total rushing yards to Homer’s 229.

Even with the addition of a few more seniors, the Mariners team is still relatively heavy on sophomores. Sophomore mistakes were easy to pick out when they were made on the field Saturday, Love said.

At the same time, he called it a good game overall.

“We made less mistakes than we made the last two weeks,” he said.

Going forward with the season, Love said an area of focus will be to continue coaching his younger players up. Being young, some of them “bite on the misdirection,” Love said, so he and the other coaches will work on teaching them to stay in position.

“Young guys. Young football game. Young results,” Love said.

The Mariners will take on Houston High School in an away game Friday.

Eielson 45, Seward 0

The visiting Ravens moved to 2-1 on the season by shutting out the Seahawks, who fell to 1-2.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Saturday

Rams 28, Mariners 27

Monroe 0 14 6 8 — 28

Homer 6 7 8 6 — 27

1st Quarter

Hom — Fisk 2 run (conversion failed), 2:54

2nd Quarter

Mon — Gray 6 run (Higbee kick), 4:50

Mon — Higbee 32 interception return (Higbee kick), 3:10

Hom — Golick 10 run (Gaona kick), 1:09

3rd Quarter

Mon — Nicholson 4 run (kick failed), 4:45

Hom — Golick 5 run (Kalugin run), 1:50

4th Quarter

Mon — Minnema 43 pass from Puryear (Gray run), 11:55

Hom — Fisk 7 run (run failed), 1:32

Mon Hom

First downs 11 16

Rushes-yards 44-159 42-229

Passing yards 78 18

Comp-att-int 3-14-1 3-13-4

Punts-avg 1-38 1-38

Fumbles 4-2 0-0

Penalties 2-5 6-46

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Monroe: Higbee 2-(-12), Puryear 3-(-5), Gray 23-123, Garcia 9-24, Nicholson 6-29. Homer: Kalugin 10-4, Golick 9-54, Fisk 23-171.

Passing — Monroe: Puryear 3-13-1—78. Homer: Kalugin 3-13-4—18.

Receiving — Monroe: Higbee 1-23, Garcia 1-12, Minnema 1-43. Homer: Konev 2-13, Fisk 1-5.

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