The Soldotna football team won its first home game of the season Friday, bringing down the West Valley Wolfpack 55-26 at Justin Maile Field.
The Stars improved to 3-0 with the nonconference victory against the Division II rival. West Valley falls to 1-2.
Soldotna head coach Galen Brantley Jr. also got a victory in a matchup with Wolfpack head coach David DeVaughn. Brantley has 11 state titles to his credit as head coach, while DeVaughn has five.
“We’re pretty happy with our ability to run the ball today,” Brantley Jr. said. “We need to do a better job in the passing game. We played a team with some pretty good athletes and they exposed us for some things. We didn’t do very well.”
The Stars rushed for 438 yards on 48 carries, but didn’t have any passing yards. West Valley had 273 yards on the ground and 54 through the air.
The Stars claimed the lead on their first drive, with Brayden Taylor running for a 20-yard score.
Progress was slow for both teams in the first half, but the Wolfpack struggled to answer the scoring drives of the Stars. Wyatt Faircloth had runs of 9, 6 and 5 yards for a 28-0 SoHi lead with 3:13 left until halftime as the rain began to fall.
Brantley Jr. said he was happy with the outcome, but that he saw “inconsistencies” in his team. He said now is the time to learn from some mediocre outings.
“We didn’t play flawless football,” the coach said.
The Wolfpack made a strong push in the last 30 seconds before halftime. On second down, Zeke Miller of SoHi deflected an attempted touchdown pass. On third down, Miller did it again.
The Wolfpack finally managed to break through and score a touchdown on fourth down, bringing the score to 28-7 at the half.
In the third quarter, Lokeni Wong and Zac Buckbee scored on runs for Soldotna, while West Valley also scored for a 42-13 game headed to the fourth quarter.
West Valley scored to open the fourth, but Buckbee and Collin Peck had scoring runs to make it 55-19 with 6:39 left. At this point, a running clock was implemented, due to the Stars leading by 36 points.
The Wolfpack made the final score of the game, stopping the running clock with only 8 seconds remaining.
Brantley Jr. said Wyatt Faircloth and Collin Peck played well. Faircloth led with 12 rushes for 135 yards, while Peck rushed 11 times for 99 yards. Gehret Medcoff also had 11 rushes for 129 yards.
The SoHi Stars will return for another 6 p.m. home game Friday against the Division I South High School Wolverines.
Brantley said, “I think that if we play like this next week, we’ll lose.”
Stars 55, Wolfpack 26
West Valley 0 7 6 13 —26
Soldotna 6 22 14 13 —55
Sol — Taylor 20 run (kick failed), 8:49.
Sol — Faircloth 9 run (Peck run), 11:11.
Sol — Faircloth 6 run (O’Reagan kick), 7:08.
Sol — Faircloth 5 run (O’Reagan kick), 3:13.
WV — Dominque 11 pass from Nield (D. Glynn kick), :00.
Sol — Wong 7 run (O’Reagan kick), 9:11.
WV — Stebbins 8 pass from Nield (kick failed), 5:27.
Sol — Buckbee 1 run (O’Reagan kick), 2:49.
WV — D. Glynn 6 run (conversion failed), 11:15.
Sol — Buckbee 3 run (kick failed), 9:40.
Sol — Peck 2 run (O’Reagan kick), 6:39.
WV — Dominique 4 run (D. Glynn kick), :08.
First downs 20 13
Rushing 48-438 46-273
Passing 0 54
Comp-Att-Int 0-7-0 5-18-0
Return yards 3-50 5-38
Punts 0-0 4-30.3
Fumbles 1-0 1-1
Penalties 4-50 7-35
Rushing — Soldotna: Faircloth 12-135, Medcoff 11-129, C. Peck 11-99, Taylor 3-30, Buckbee 6-20, Z. Miller 4-18, Wong 1-7. West Valley: D. Glynn 12-89, Dominique 10-88, Caron 10-49, Stebbins 9-34, Nield 3-3, DeVaughn 2-1.
Passing — Soldotna: Buckbee, Taylor 0-7-0—0; West Valley: Nield 5-18-0—54.
Receiving — West Valley: Dominique 1-17, D. Glynn 1-15, Bostwick 1-8, Stebbins 1-8, DeVaughn 1-6.
Kenai 24, Palmer 6
Kenai Central notched a big win over an old rival.
The Kardinals scored 24 unanswered points, and walked away with a 24-6 nonconference win over the Palmer Moose on Friday night at Machetanz Field in Palmer.
Reagan Graves rushed for a pair of touchdowns to lead the Kards to a win over the Moose and help Kenai improve to 2-1 overall. Kenai and Palmer used to share a home in the old Northern Lights Conference. Kenai is now a Division III program, while Palmer sits at Division II.
Kenai took a lead late in the first half, scoring twice during the final three minutes of the second quarter. Bridger Beck tied the game with a 1-yard touchdown run and put the Kards on top when he connected with Wade James on a 9-yard touchdown strike.
Landon Kitzman rushed for Palmer’s lone score. The Moose dropped to 0-3 with the loss.
Kenai 24, Palmer 6
Friday, Palmer High School
Palmer — Kitzman 6 run (kick blocked) 5:52
Kenai — Beck 1 run (run failed) 2:58
Kenai — James 9 pass from Beck (pass failed) 0:53
Kenai — Graves 4 run (run failed) 7:26
Kenai — Graves 3 run (pass failed) 00:07
RUSHING — Kenai: Graves 16-67, Beck 7-54, Whicker 5-0, Wilson 4-11; Palmer: Asay 20-101, Kitzman 6-25, Heard 5-24, Gardino 1-7.
PASSING — Kenai: Beck 5-7-0–96, Riggle 5-11-0–79; Palmer: Kitzman 1-5-2–9.
RECEIVING — Kenai: James 5-110, Armstrong 5-65; Palmer: Garland 1-9.
Homer 46, Seward 0
The host Mariners notched a big victory over Division III rival Seward in nonconference action Friday night.
Homer improves to 2-1 overall, while the Seahawks fall to 0-3.
Mariners quarterback Carter Tennison had been out the first two weeks due to injury, but returned with a big game. On the ground, he rushed nine times for 240 yards and three touchdowns. In the air, he was 5 of 11 for 163 yards and an interception.
Homer had a big night on the ground in general. Preston Stanislaw rushed nine times for 41 yards and a touchdown, Jake Tappan rushed eight times for 38 yards and a touchdown, and Russell Nyvall rushed four times for 24 yards and a touchdown.
In the air, Luke Hanson caught 3 balls for 44 yards, while Jonah Martin had a catch for 72 yards and Mo Techie had a catch for 37 yards.
Jack Hrenchir led the shutout on defense by making six tackles and defending two passes. Justice Davidson also made five tackles for the Mariners.
Jeremiah Bartz of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman contributed to this report.