It may have been raining as the Homer football team took on Kodiak on Saturday at Homer High School, but the Mariners were unperturbed by the slight drizzle in a 42-30 nonconference victory.
The Bears play in Division II, while the Mariners play in Division III. Homer coach Justin Zank said the victory was a nice start to the season.
“We keep saying in practice every day, we say, ‘Every dude, every day,’” Zank said. “What we did on the field today was because we had every dude, every day. And the guys are starting to, they’re starting to buy in, they’re starting to come together.”
Only three minutes into the first quarter, Mariners junior Jake Tappan ran the football 18 yards for a touchdown. Tappan’s athleticism was on display throughout the game, as he not only scored a second running TD in the next quarter, but steadily gained yards during most offensive Mariners possessions.
Zank said Tappan and fellow running back Russell Nyvall had plenty of help in getting their yards.
“I’m really proud of our O line and how they played today and letting Jake and Russ do their thing,” he said.
With Mariners up 12-0 halfway through the second quarter after a 6-yard run by Jonah Martin, the Bears began their resistance.
Kodiak stormed back to take a 16-12 lead as JM Ticman scored on a 61-yard run and also had a 12-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Edwards. Ticman got both two-point conversions on runs.
The M’s responded, finishing the half up 20-16 after Tappan scored from 12 yards and Martin got the two-point conversion.
After the half, Kodiak’s Wyatt Buck ran 37 yards to put the Bears back on top 22-20.
The Mariners and Bears lost some nerve, at points, with trash-talking and complaints to the referees becoming persistent.
Looking toward the next game, Zank said, “I think we can obviously clean up getting involved in little side arguments with the opposing team. … We need to clean up the penalties outside of those.”
However, the Mariners approached the insults as they did they rain, and remained unperturbed, exemplified by their three consecutive touchdowns, which essentially wrapped the game up.
The most regal play of the game came from the last TD of the third quarter, with Morgen Techie, a senior wide receiver with the Mariners, leaping above a Kodiak defender to catch Oak Anderson’s throw, before easily cruising into the end zone to finish his touchdown.
With Anderson stepping in at the quarterback position for an injured Carter Tennison, Zank said, “I’m also proud of Oak stepping into QB role. … I thought he led the team really well.”
Anderson also had a 15-yard scoring strike to Luke Hanson, while Nyvall also had a 2-yard scoring run.
Kodiak’s last touchdown was an 80-yard pass from Ticman to Edwards.
Homer will be tested Friday at 7 p.m., heading north to Big Lake to take on Houston Hawks in the Mid Alaska Conference opener for both squads.
Barrow 12, Nikiski 8
The Nikiski football team opened its season with a nonconference loss at Barrow on Saturday.
The Bulldogs and Whalers both play in Division III, but Nikiski is in the Denali Conference while Barrow is in the Mid Alaska Conference.
Nikiski led 8-6 at halftime on a scoring run by James Hemphill and a two-point conversion run by Truit McCaughey.
In the fourth quarter, the Barrow defense had a big stop as Nikiski turned the ball over on downs at the Barrow 1-yard line. The Whalers offense responded with a 99-yard drive, taking the lead on a 1-yard rush with 1:05 left in the game.
Nikiski still had a chance to go 58 yards in 1 minute, 5 seconds, for the score, but the Whalers iced the game with an interception.
Houston 45, Seward 0
The visiting Hawks shut out the Seahawks on Saturday.
Both teams play in Division III, but Houston is in the Mid Alaska Conference, while Seward is in the Denali Conference.
Seward coach Tyler Mallory said the defense played well and the offense did not in the loss.
“We were put in bad positions most of the game with turnovers by the offense, hence the 45 points,” Mallory wrote.
The offense had six turnovers, all fumbles, and also didn’t have a first down until the fourth quarter. The defense had four stops on fourth-and-short, but it was not enough.
Houston led 8-0 after the first quarter, 27-0 at halftime and 39-0 after the third quarter.
Mallory wrote that three players stood out.
Landen DeRoos had 12 tackles, including three for loss and two on fourth-down stops. Mallory also wrote that freshman Emerson Cross made multiple good plays, while Judah Brueckner played well at outside linebacker, registering a big sack.
Clarion sports editor Jeff Helminiak contributed to this report.