Nikiski quarterback Noah Litke evades a sack from Redington’s Eli Benson (50) Friday against the Redington Huskies at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski quarterback Noah Litke evades a sack from Redington’s Eli Benson (50) Friday against the Redington Huskies at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski football blanks Redington

Two weeks of sitting on the sidelines will rev up anyone’s motor.

A fresh trio of Nikiski’s best gridiron gladiators picked up the load Friday evening at Nikiski High School as the Bulldogs grabbed a convincing 28-0 win over Redington, a nonconference opponent.

The win pushed Nikiski to 2-1 overall this year with its first Peninsula Conference matchup still to come next week against Ketchikan. Redington dropped to 0-3.

The three players that made their season debuts after eligibility checks included seniors Michael Eiter and Justin Harris, and junior Mason Payne, and all three had impacts on the game.

Eiter caught two scoring passes on three catches and Harris chipped in two touchdowns, one on a blocked kick return and another on a 38-yard run, to fuel Nikiski to the victory.

“Sitting out left me with a lot of pent up energy, I had some butterflies in the stomach,” Eiter explained. “As a football player you want to go out there and talk some smack with your guys.”

Mason Payne also joined the action as a defensive back, following two weeks of sitting out, and notched a fumble recovery.

The workhorse of the day, however, returned as junior Sam Berry, who followed up a 214-yard rushing day last week against Valdez with a 101-yard day Friday against Redington. Berry brought his total ground yardage this year to 357 in just three games, leading all peninsula backs.

Overall, Nikiski outgained Redington 311 to 159 in total yardage, including 269 yards rushing.

Each side committed four fumbles, but Redington had three get away for good. In all, the Bulldogs forced five total turnovers — three fumbles and two interceptions.

Noah Litke and Eiter each hauled in an interception with the game on the line. Litke’s interception of Huskies quarterback Kyler Rumfelt with 1:08 remaining in the third quarter set up a drive that ended with Litke connecting with Eiter on a 14-yard fade route in the end zone, a touchdown pass that put Nikiski up 20-0 and helped ice the victory with 10:46 left.

Litke finished the day with only the two competed passes, both of which went to Eiter for touchdowns, and 42 passing yards.

Entering the day, Nikiski head coach Paul Nelson acknowledged Nikiski’s biggest task would be to keep Huskies QB Kyler Rumfelt from running wild on the Bulldogs, and they did by containing the burly Rumfelt to just 31 rush yards and pressured him into two picks in a 6-for-22 passing day.

Nelson said after nearly going scoreless for the entire first half, the Bulldogs showed moxie in finishing the game strong.

“It’s big,” Nelson said. “Redington really came out with a killer defensive plan and they shut us down early on.”

The first half was trending toward a scoreless halftime until Nikiski finally came through in the red zone with a touchdown pass from Litke to Eiter with five seconds left.

After nearly 24 minutes of empty possessions, a Redington fumble forced by Eiter late in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs the ball with just enough time to run a scoring drill.

The 58-yard drive was capped with an 18-yard lob from Litke to Eiter along the sideline, and Eiter snuck by a defender to get inside the orange pylon to give Nikiski a lead it wouldn’t give up.

“That was the spark that started everything for us,” Eiter said. “It’s a lot different when we went to the locker room at half with the lead.”

The Bulldogs finally managed to distance themselves in the second half starting with a 37-yard blocked punt return by Justin Harris that pushed the lead to 12-0 midway through the third quarter. Redington’s initial punt was blocked by a wall of Nikiski linemen, and while most on the field hadn’t realized the ball was live, Harris quickly recognized the situation and scooped the ball up for a touchdown.

Nikiski kept the momentum going late in the third quarter on a Litke interception that gave the Bulldogs great field position. Nikiski capitalized with a 14-yard scoring pass by Litke that landed into the hands of Eiter for the second time with 10:46 left in the game.

Eiter then provided one of the final daggers of the contest by forcing a fumble on Redington’s Josh Miller, getting his arm on the play to pop the ball loose and set up another touchdown drive.

Harris capped that drive with a 38-yard scramble to end the scoring with 8:20 left. Litke found Eiter in the end zone on the ensuing two-point play to make it a 28-point lead.

As if to make his impact felt, Eiter notched his second turnover in as many possessions with an interception on Rumfelt with 6:25 to play.

Nelson said the win was another step in the right direction for the Bulldogs.

“To see that adversity in the first half, and the kids battle back, it was good,” Nelson said. “It’s huge for us to maintain focus and keep our foot on the gas.”

Friday

BULLDOGS 28, HUSKIES 0

Redington 0 0 0 0 —0

Nikiski 0 6 6 16 —28

1st Quarter

no scoring

2nd Quarter

Nik — Eiter 18 pass from Litke (pass failed), :05

3rd Quarter

Nik — Harris 37 kick return (run failed), 7:50

4th Quarter

Nik — Eiter 14 pass from Litke (Harris run), 10:46

Nik — Harris 38 run (Eiter pass from Litke), 8:20

Red Nik

First downs 8 15

Rush yds 23-66 57-269

Pass yds 93 42

Comp-att-int 6-22-2 2-4-0

Return yds 33 84

Punts 6-21.8 4-40.2

Fumbles-rec 4-1 4-2

Penalties 1-5 7-50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Nikiski: Berry 27-101, Eiter 15-73, D. Harris 4-7, Litke 4-(-19), J. Harris 3-49, Sarks 4-58. Redington: Rumfelt 14-31, Miller 5-19, Pinard 2-6, Jones 2-10.

Passing — Nikiski: Litke 2-4-2—42. Redington: Rumfelt 6-22-0—93.

Receiving — Nikiski: Eiter 3-42. Redington: Bowman 4-47, Ingraham 1-20, #25 1-26.

Redington quarterback Kyler Rumfelt looks for an open receiver Friday at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Redington quarterback Kyler Rumfelt looks for an open receiver Friday at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski junior Michael Eiter (11) slips through a tackle Friday against the Redington Huskies at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski junior Michael Eiter (11) slips through a tackle Friday against the Redington Huskies at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski sophomore Dylan Harris is tackled by Redington’s Eli Benson (50) Friday at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski sophomore Dylan Harris is tackled by Redington’s Eli Benson (50) Friday at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Sports

tease
SoHi JV girls topple Ninilchik

The host Soldotna JV girls basketball team notched a 39-27 victory over… Continue reading

tease
SoHi JV cagers sweep CIA

The host Soldotna JV basketball teams scored nonconference wins over Cook Inlet… Continue reading

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, races to victory in the Under-18 and over men's 10-kilometer interval start classic at Besh Cup 4 on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The Besh Cup races are mostly used to select skiers for Junior Nationals, but also give younger and older skiers a chance for top-notch racing. It took over 50 volunteers to put together the two days of races, which had over 200 skiers each day.
Kenai grad Danielson sweeps Besh Cup weekend at Tsalteshi

Tsalteshi Trails hosted the Besh Cup on Saturday and Sunday.

tease
Ice Dogs sweep Brown Bears

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs got off to a solid start under new… Continue reading

tease
Hoops Roundup: Wasilla sweeps SoHi; Ninilchik boys win Cordova tourney

The visiting Wasilla boys basketball team defeated Soldotna 66-60 on Saturday in… Continue reading

Karl Danielson, a graduate of Kenai Central currently skiing for Alaska Pacific University, wins the Under-16 and over sprint at Besh Cup 3 on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai grad Danielson wins Besh 3 sprint

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, won the Under-16 and… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Erin Koziczkowski goes up for a shot against Nikiski on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai sweeps Nikiski Tip Off titles

The Kenai girls and boys swept the titles at the 30th Annual… Continue reading

Soldotna's Landon Stonecipher carries the puck against Homer on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Kevin Bell Ice Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer, SoHi split hockey games

The Homer and Soldotna hockey teams split junior varsity games Friday and… Continue reading

tease
Kenai girls, Nikiski boys start tourney with wins

The Kenai girls, Lumen Christi girls, Bethel boys and Nikiski boys opened… Continue reading

Most Read