The host Nikiski football team celebrated its homecoming by defeating Valdez 42-16 on Friday in nine-man nonconference action.
The rest of the game was called off with 9:25 left in the fourth quarter because Valdez, which started with 12 healthy players, did not have enough healthy players to continue.
The nine-man Great Land Conference has four teams, with all teams playing a home and away series against everybody in the league. The second game counts for conference.
Nikiski is now through its nonconference schedule at 2-1, while Valdez is 0-3.
“I feel bad calling the game tonight, but it just wasn’t wise to put the kids back in,” Valdez head coach Lee Chadwick said.
Chadwick coached at Nikiski from 1999 to 2009 before moving to Utah and coaching there. He returned to Alaska and coached Valdez for five years before retiring two seasons ago.
Last year, Chadwick said the program had good numbers, but in the first scrimmage against Houston, two players sustained serious knee injuries.
Other players quit, then Chadwick said the Buccaneers canceled their season and the coaches quit.
The change to nine-man before this season lured Chadwick back to the sidelines when Valdez had trouble recruiting a coach.
“I hate to drop the program because we started nine-man,” Chadwick said. “Honestly, we’ve been pushing for nine-man since three or four years ago.
“I kind of feel bad to drop a program right when we got what we want.”
The Buccaneers started the game by holding the ball until the 3:56 mark in the first quarter, when Truit McCaughey tackled Andrew Baczuk for a loss on fourth-and-one.
After that, the Nikiski offense took over. The Bulldogs would only be stopped once, when they lost a fumble.
Nikiski had 417 yards of total offense, 405 of those rushing. Valdez gained 106 yards, all on the ground.
“We noticed a couple of things they were doing and took advantage of it,” Nikiski coach Matt Trammell said of the Valdez defense.
Oliver Parrish rushed nine times for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Kaiden Parrish had 14 rushes for 148 yards and a score.
Quarterback Ethan Ellis had a big game, running for a 50-yard touchdown and throwing scores to Wyatt Maguire and Lynn Deveer.
“Lynn Deveer has been starting at guard for his entire high school career, but started at tight end today and got his first touchdown,” Trammell said.
The coach said the defense played a lot better after that first Valdez drive. Trammell said the only disappointment was on special teams.
Baczuk had kickoff returns of 80 and 70 yards for scores.
“He did well in track last year,” Chadwick said of Baczuk. “He’s got some speed. This was kind of the first game where he’s seen kind of what he can do a little bit.”
Chadwick is optimistic the Buccaneers should be healthy enough to take on Seward on Saturday, Sept. 9, at noon in Seward.
He also is optimistic about the future of nine-man. He just wishes he had enough to field a JV team.
“I think it was needed years ago,” Chadwick said. “If we wouldn’t have gone to nine-man, we would have dropped the program. No question.”
Nikiski travels to Eielson on Saturday, Sept. 9. for an 11 a.m. game. The Bulldogs beat the Ravens 66-46 on Aug. 19 in a game where the defenses didn’t have much success.
Trammell said he’s looking forward to coming up with a better plan on defense for the game.
Bulldogs 42, Buccaneers 16
Valdez 0 8 0 8 —16
Nikiski 6 16 14 6 —42
Nik — O. Parrish 22 run (pass failed), 2:01.
Nik — Deveer 7 pass from Ellis (O. Parrish run), 4:58.
Nik — Maguire 5 pass from Ellis (K. Parrish run), 0:14.
Val — Baczuk 80 kickoff return (Baczuk run), :00.
Nik — K. Parrish 34 run (Payne pass from Ellis), 10:27.
Nik — Ellis 50 run (run failed), 6:24.
Nik — O. Parrish 32 run (pass failed), 11:53.
Val — Baczuk 70 kickoff return (K. Peterson run), 11:41.
First downs 7 11
Rushes-yards 39-106 30-405
Passing yards 0 12
Comp-att-int 0-0-0 2-4-0
Return yards 0 0
Punts 3-18.7 0-0
Fumbles 4-1 1-1
Penalties 3-15 3-15
Rushing — Valdez: Baczuk 17-61, Aldrich 7-11, M. McCumby 3-11, B. McCumby 9-12, K. Peterson 3-11. Nikiski: O. Parrish 9-166, Maguire 2-9, K. Parrish 14-148, Ellis 2-54, Tru. McCaughey 3-28.
Passing — Valdez: none. Nikiski: Ellis 2-4-0—12.