The Nikiski football team toppled the Homer Mariners 26-22 Saturday in Homer to set up a potential Div. III playoff clincher in the final week of the high school football season.
Sam Berry scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead Nikiski to the win, which came just four weeks after Homer beat Nikiski by 32 points.
Nikiski (2-1 conference) currently holds the second spot in the Peninsula Conference, which has already been won by Houston (4-0). Homer (1-2) must beat Ketchikan (1-2) in the regular season finale next weekend in order to have a shot at a playoff berth. The Peninsula Conference only allows two teams into the Div. III postseason.
Berry finished the day with 217 rushing yards and all four Nikiski touchdowns.
The loss for Homer came despite senior QB Anthony Kalugin racking up 301 yards of all-purpose offense. Kalugin passed for 173 yards and a TD and ran for 128 yards and a TD on 27 carries.
Homer had beaten Nikiski 50-18 on Aug. 30 in a nonconference game that was quickly set up due to other cancelled contests relating to the Swan Lake Wildfire.
Tied at 14-all at halftime, Homer took a 22-14 lead in the third quarter on a four-yard scoring burst by QB Anthony Kalugin, who then ran in the two-point play.
The Mariners had two possessions that took them deep in Nikiski territory, but came up empty on both drives after failing to convert on fourth down plays, first at the Nikiski 12 and later at the Nikiski 23.
Nikiski got the ball with 7:41 to play in the fourth quarter, and a 43-yard scramble by Berry on a third down helped get the Bulldogs into Homer territory, where they capitilized on a 14-yard scoring run by Berry, although Nikiski could not tie the game on an attempted two-point play, and remained behind Homer 22-20.
Once again, Homer got the ball back and began driving down the field, but gave it up on a fumble by Kalugin with under two minutes remaining.
On the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs faced third down when QB Noah Litke found senior receiver Michael Eiter for a 31-yard connection, putting Nikiski in Homer territory.
On the next play, Berry burst through the defense for a 21-yard touchdown run, giving the Bulldogs the lead for good with just 13 seconds left.
Kodiak 14, Kenai 7
The host Kodiak football team defeated Kenai Central 14-7 on Friday in Northern Lights Conference play. The Kardinals were officially eliminated Saturday when the Soldotna Stars crushed Eagle River 81-7.
The Bears, who are already eliminated from playoff contention, improved to 1-2 in the league and 1-6 overall, while the Kardinals dropped to 0-2 in the league and 1-5 overall. Only an Eagle River victory over Soldotna on Saturday could have kept Kenai’s chances alive, but SoHi took care of business.
The game was a defensive struggle, with Kodiak getting 178 rushing yards and no passing yards, while Kenai had 192 rushing yards and 72 passing yards.
The Bears got on the board in the second quarter when Vince Mangrobang scored on a 53-yard run. Kodiak pushed the lead to 14-0 with 11:29 left in the game when Josue Martinez scored on an 11-yard dash.
Tucker Vann, who rushed for 99 yards, had a 1-yard run to make it 14-7 with 4:48 to play.
Eielson def. Seward, forfeit
The Seahawks did not play their scheduled nonconference game in Eielson because Seward did not have enough eligible players, according to Seward athletic director Al Plan.
Saturday in Homer
Bulldogs 26, Mariners 22
Nikiski 0 14 0 12 —26
Homer 8 6 8 0 —22
Hom — Doughty 6 run (Kalugin run), 8:24
Nik — Berry 88 run (Eiter pass from Litke), 9:49
Hom — Tenison 16 pass from Kalugin (pass failed), 8:57
Nik — Berry 16 run (kick failed), 6:11
Hom — Kalugin 4 run (Kalugin run), 8:37
Nik — Berry 14 run (run failed), 5:48
Nik — Berry 21 run (pass failed), 0:13
First downs 9 18
Rushing yds 31-255 39-172
Pass yds 88 173
Comp-att-int 6-16-1 12-27-3
Punts 0 2
Fumbles 3 3
Penalties 7-32 7-50
Rushing — Nikiski: Berry 20-217, Druesedow 2-18, Mysing 7-14, Zoda 2-6. Homer: Kalugin 27-128, Doughty 9-33, Bradshaw 2-11, Wickstrom 1-0.
Passing — Nikiski: Litke 6-15-1—88, Eiter 0-1-0—0. Homer: Kalugin 12-27-3—173.
Receiving — Nikiski: Eiter 4-43, Berry 1-38, Druesedow 1-7. Homer: Reutov 3-53, Bradshaw 4-40, Gaona 3-29, Tenison 2-51.
BEARS 14, KARDINALS 7
Kenai 0 0 0 7 — 7
Kodiak 7 0 0 7 — 14
Kod — Mangrobang 53 run (Cruz kick), 7:25
Kod — Martinez 11 run (Cruz kick), 11:29
Ken — Vann 1 run (Pitsch kick), 4:48
First downs 3 14
Rushing yds 30-178 55-192
Pass yds 0 72
Comp-Att-Int 0-2-0 4-21-2
Punts 3 0
Fumbles 2-1 1-1
Penalties 12-106 8-8-80
Rushing — Kenai: Daniels 3-(-16), Burnett 17-34, Vann 22-99, Sylvester 9-60, Tomrdle 4-15. Kodiak: Mangrobang 5-58, Walker 8-9, Martinez 10-90, Galindez 6-18, Ocampo 1-3.
Passing — Kenai: Daniels 4-21-0 — 72. Kodiak: Walker 0-2-0 — 0.
Receiving — Kenai: Burnett 2-34, Sylvester 1-17, Vann 1-1, Pitsch 1-20.