Nikiski’s Mason Payne makes a catch in front of Ketchikan’s Christopher Carlson on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Mason Payne makes a catch in front of Ketchikan’s Christopher Carlson on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan football gets revenge on Nikiski

The Ketchikan football team came north to Nikiski looking for revenge and got it.

The Kings used a strong first half to topple the Bulldogs 54-24 on Friday in the Peninsula Conference opener for both teams.

Senior quarterback Brendan Wong rolled up six passing touchdowns and 264 yards with a 16-of-26 effort that came without an interception. The air wizardry got the Bulldogs (2-2 overall) back for a 24-6 decision they dished out in Ketchikan (3-0 overall) last season.

“He’s got some accuracy and a good arm,” Nikiski coach Paul Nelson said of Wong, who has been on varsity for four years. “You don’t see quarterbacks like that in the state of Alaska too often.”

Wong hit Christopher Carlson for three touchdowns, while CJ Jasper grabbed two scores and also hit paydirt on a punt return.

The Bulldogs had five turnovers, keeping them from making a closer game of it despite constant connection between quarterback Noah Litke and wide receiver Michael Eiter. Eiter had eight catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns, while Litke was 16 of 28 for 246 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

“It’s a lot of the same guys, but they’ve definitely gotten better by working hard in the offseason,” Nelson said of the Kings, who moved from Division II to Division III this season and have averaged 60 points per game so far. “They’ve got fast athletes and they’re a big, strong team.”

Ketchikan head coach Jim Bryon, in his third year at the helm, said his players could have quit after finishing 0-8 last year. Instead, they got to work.

“It means a lot,” he said of the victory over Nikiski. “They came down to Ketchikan last year and beat us handily. We came up here looking for revenge.”

Nelson called the game a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Nikiski offense went three-and-out, fumbled, had a drive stalled by three penalties, scored a touchdown, fumbled, fumbled, threw an interception and ran three times to wind down the clock.

“We definitely had too many penalties,” Nelson said of the 13 infractions for 79 yards. “We weren’t super clean. We had too many turnovers.

“You can’t do that against a team like Ketchikan and expect to beat them.”

A touchdown run by Stevie Byron plus receiving and punt return scores by Jasper had the Kings up 18-0 with 9 minutes, 52 seconds, left in the second quarter.

Eiter started bringing the Bulldogs to life with a touchdown grab from Litke with 7:08 to play, but Wong closed the half with strikes to Brandon Wieber and Carlson for a 34-6 lead.

Coach Byron said he warned his team that Nikiski would come out in the second half and battle like it was 0-0, and the Bulldogs did exactly that.

Nelson said all of his players were playing both ways and some were battling injuries, so to lose the second half just 20-18 meant something.

“I’m proud of them, but we’ve got work to do,” the coach said.

Nikiski scored on a run from Sam Berry, who led all rushers with 91 yards on 25 carries, and a 45-yard hookup between Litke and Eiter in the third quarter, but after the first score Wong answered with a TD to Carlson and after the second he responded with a TD to Jasper. Coach Byron said the offensive line did a good job not only of protecting Wong, but paving the way for the ground game to net 175 yards on 36 carries.

Fourth quarter scores came from Carlson on a pass from Wong and Nikiski’s Mason Payne on a pass from Litke.

Ketchikan showed room for improvement as penalties piled up in the second half, resulting in 96 yards on 10 infractions for the game. The most costly came with 3:23 left in the third quarter, when Stevie Byron ran the ball into the end zone but then received a personal foul and was ejected for intentional helmet contact.

Coach Byron said the Kings will protest the call, because if it stands, Stevie Byron will receive a suspension.

Friday

Kings 54, Bulldogs 24

Ketchikan . 12 . 22 . 12 . 8 — 54

Nikiski . 0 . 6 . 12 . 6 — 24

1st Quarter

Ket — Byron 4 run (pass failed), 3:54.

Ket — Jasper 43 pass from Wong (run failed), :00.

2nd Quarter

Ket — Jasper 45 punt return (kick failed), 9:52.

Nik — Eiter 13 pass from Litke (run failed), 7:08.

Ket — Wieber 22 pass from Wong (Wong run), 4:35.

Ket — Carlson 41 pass from Wong (Byron run), 3:23.

3rd Quarter

Nik — Berry 5 run (run failed), 6:54.

Ket — Carlson 20 pass from Wong (run failed), 5:39.

Nik — Eiter 45 pass from Litke (run failed), 4:52.

Ket — Jasper 28 pass from Wong (run failed), 3:10.

4th Quarter

Ket — Carlson 20 pass from Wong (Byron run), 6:59.

Nik — Payne 11 pass from Litke (run failed), 4:21

Ket . Nik

First downs . 15 . 12

Rushes-yards . 36-175 . 37-102

Passing yards . 264 . 246

Comp-att-int . 16-26-0 . 16-28-2

Return yards . 67 . 0

Punts-avg . 1-25 . 3-23.3

Fum-lost . 5-3 . 3-0

Penalties . 10-96 . 13-79

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Ketchikan: Carlson 4-26, Jasper 2-25, Wong 5-16, Roof 10-51, Morris 5-15, Byron 1-4, Sasser 1-(-3), James 4-23, Malouf 4-18. Nikiski: J. Harris 1-1, Sarks 5-10, Berry 25-91, D. Harris 3-(-2), Litke 2-0, Eiter 1-2.

Passing — Ketchikan: Wong 16-26-0—264. Nikiski: Litke 16-28-2—246.

Receiving — Ketchikan: Jasper 6-104, Morris 3-23, Roof 1-10, Wieber 2-34, Carlson 4-93. Nikiski: Eiter 8-176, Payne 4-46, Berry 4-24.

Ketchikan quarterback Brendan Wong scrambles away from Nikiski’s Hamilton Cox and Dustin Mullins on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at Nikiski High School. Wong had 264 yards passing and six touchdown passes. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan quarterback Brendan Wong scrambles away from Nikiski’s Hamilton Cox and Dustin Mullins on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at Nikiski High School. Wong had 264 yards passing and six touchdown passes. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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