Homer’s Sly Gaona (No. 8) and Kamdyn Doughty (No. 24) tackle Soldotna’s Hunter Secor during a Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 football game at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Sly Gaona (No. 8) and Kamdyn Doughty (No. 24) tackle Soldotna’s Hunter Secor during a Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 football game at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Soldotna football topples Homer

Heiber notches 3 touchdowns

The Homer football team fell to the Soldotna Stars 61-14 on homecoming night.

The Stars had been scheduled to play Kenai last weekend, but the game was called off when several Kenai players came down with non-COVID-19 illnesses. SoHi wasted no time in charging to a third straight win on Saturday during Homer’s homecoming game.

The win took the Stars to 3-0, while Homer dropped to 3-2. The team’s two losses have both been to Soldotna.

Josh Heiber had touchdown runs of 10 and 50 yards for the Stars, as well as a 90-yard kickoff return. Heiber rushed five times for 101 yards.

SoHi quarterback threw a score to Josh Pieh, and Wilson ran for a touchdown himself. Wilson was 4 for 5 for 134 yards.

Austin Escott, Dennis Taylor and Hunter Richardson also had touchdown runs, while Braden Taylor ended the scoring with an interception return. Dennis Taylor rushed six times for 125 yards, and also had six tackles and an interception.

Carter Tennison had a pair of TD runs for the Mariners. He had 21 carries for 103 yards and also was 12 of 23 for 110 yards through the air. He did have two interceptions.

Josh Manwiller led the Homer defense with nine tackles and a blocked extra point.

Of the win, Soldotna head coach Galen Brantley Jr. said he thought the Stars had improved considerably since their first game of the season, also against Homer.

“I think there’s a lot of inexperience still,” he said.

Soldotna graduated 22 starters from the team last year, and none of this year’s players were starters last year.

“And so there’s still a level of football IQ that needs to be developed through experience, and we just haven’t been getting that throughout the year,” Brantley Jr. said.

Brantley Jr. said the effort from the Stars is always there, though.

“As coaches we always appreciate their effort, and that’s probably the biggest compliment they can give us,” he said.

Brantley Jr. also credited Homer’s program for getting stronger.

“They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next couple of years,” he said.

Unlike Soldotna, the Mariners have been able to hit the field in more games so far this season. The southern Kenai Peninsula has remained in the low-risk category for community spread of COVID-19 since schools opened this fall.

That means its sports programs have been able to carry on with mitigation measures, unlike the central peninsula sports teams which had to shut down momentarily earlier this year when COVID-19 spread got too high in that region.

Head Homer coach Justin Zank said the Mariners were able to do some good things in the first quarter, but they weren’t able to hold on to that momentum.

“I’m disappointed in our execution, or lack thereof,” Zank said of the outcome. “… We didn’t rise to the challenge as I hoped we would have.”

He said the team had “flashes” of good moments during the game.

“We’re doing a lot of good things on offense and defense, we’ve just got to figure out now moving forward how to put them all together and have a complete game,” Zank said.

Stars 61, Mariners 14

1st Quarter

Sol — J. Heiber 10 run (O’Reagan kick), 9:44.

Hom — Tennison 40 run (run failed), 5:50.

Sol — J. Heiber 90 kickoff return (run failed), 5:35.

Sol — Pieh 47 pass from Wilson (Pieh pass from Wilson), 2:05.

2nd Quarter

Sol — J. Heiber 50 run (kick blocked), 10:21.

Sol — Wilson 6 run (O’Reagan kick), 8:22.

3rd Quarter

Sol — Escott 1 run (O’Reagan kick), 10:36.

Sol — Taylor 36 run (O’Reagan kick), 1:17.

4th Quarter

Hom — Tennison 8 run (Tennison run), 9:59.

Sol — Richardson 22 run (Buckbee kick), 1:52.

Sol — Taylor 35 interception return (kick failed), 0:52.

Sol Hom

Rushing yards 34-276 31-129

Passing yards 186 110

Comp-att-int 12-24-3 6-8-0

Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1

Penalties 7-65 4-25

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Soldotna: D. Taylor 6-125, J. Heiber 5-101, Escott 12-20, Wilson 3-(-6), Bond 1-9, Richardson 2-27, Medcoff 3-5, Buckbee 2-(-5). Homer: Doughty 7-12, Tennison 21-103, Smith 1-0, Wood 1-5, Dax 1-9.

Passing — Soldotna: Wilson 4-5-0—134, Buckbee 2-3-0—52; Homer: Tennison 12-23-0—110, Raymond 0-1-1—0.

Receiving — Soldotna: Pieh 2-69, Escott 1-25, Heiber 1-40, Mowrey 1-29, Richardson 1-23; Homer: Gaona 6-79, Smith 3-31, Wood 1-2, Huffman 1-0, Reutov 1-7.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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