Soldotna football knocks off South; Juneau routs Kenai

The Soldotna football team defeated South 53-20 on Saturday in Anchorage in a nonconference matchup of two of the top-ranked teams in the state.

The Stars came into the game ranked No. 1 in Division II in the Alaska Football Coaches Association poll, while the Wolverines were No. 2 in the Division I rankings. The game was originally scheduled for Friday in Soldotna, but the Swan Lake Fire forced the game to move to Anchorage.

That worked out just fine for the Stars, because they already had to be in Anchorage anyway on Sunday to fly to California, where they will take on Christian High School on Friday at 6 p.m. ADT.

Soldotna head coach Galen Brantley Jr., whose team moved to 2-0, said he was happy to get in Saturday’s game because he did not want to travel to California with just one game under his belt.

“That would have been rough,” he said. “It’s not very often you play a game out of state and they have more games than you do.”

As it is, both teams will have two games headed into their matchup.

Against the Wolverines, Soldotna got off to a quick start, which allowed them to lead 32-20 at halftime despite four turnovers in the first half. In the second half, SoHi was able to run away from South.

“We showed our rust for sure,” Brantley Jr. said. “We looked like a team, at times, that had practiced in a gym and hadn’t played football in two weeks. All in all, though, there were a lot of really positive moments.”

On defense, Brantley Jr. was happy to hold South to 20 points while forcing five turnovers. The Wolverines use a spread offense, which the coach said is not easy to prepare for when staying indoors due to smoky air.

“South’s got too many athletes to stay off the scoreboard,” the coach said. “They have a tremendous amount of speed. They’re the fastest team we’ve seen in a while.”

Wyatt Medcoff led the charge with two rushing touchdowns, a kickoff return and a pair of interceptions. Medcoff has five interceptions in just two games this year.

“Wyatt’s been phenomenal,” Brantley Jr. said. “He’s put together two sensational games. We’ve always known Wyatt is a very talented player and people in the state are starting to catch on.”

Hudson Metcalf also came through with a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Metcalf also caught a touchdown pass from Jersey Truesdell, who also ran for a score.

Near the end of the first half, Soldotna had threatened twice but fumbled and lost the ball both times, the second coming with just 59 seconds left until halftime. But with under 30 seconds left, Metcalf got an interception, then on the next play caught that touchdown pass for a 32-14 halftime lead.

Aaron Faletoi had a touchdown and a fumble recovery for Soldotna, while Cameron Johnson also added a rushing touchdown.

“That wasn’t the prettiest victory but we expected a little bit of rust,” Brantley Jr. said. “I thought we were the better team, and if we did the right thing, we’d pull away. The kids knew that as well.”

Brantley Jr. said he had to check on a few players before he could say how healthy the team would be for the California showdown.

Juneau football routs Kenai

The Juneau Huskies handed the Kenai Central Kardinals their first loss of the season on Saturday night at Adair-Kennedy Field, rolling to a 59-18 victory.

The Huskies scored five touchdowns before Tucker Vann’s 54-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The visitors jumped on a plane to Juneau after their second straight home game was canceled due to hazardous air quality conditions and travel restrictions due to the Swan Lake Fire.

Kenai added two more touchdowns in the second half courtesy of Braedon Pitsch and Zach Burnett.

The Kardinals defeated the Homer Mariners 28-14 in Week 1. The Huskies lost their season-opener 58-42 to Service, but rebounded at home last week and defeated Antelope Union from Arizona, 56-18. Juneau was scheduled to play Dimond High School in Anchorage on Friday, but Anchorage and Juneau school officials called the game off due to poor air quality.

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