Another strong performance from sophomore quarterback Carter Tennison helped propel the Homer football team to victory over the Kenai Kardinals on Saturday, the Mariners’ senior night.
Homer defeated the Kardinals 44-6 at the Homer High School field, moving to 3-1 overall. The loss dropped Kenai to 0-2.
Tennison ran in five of Homer’s six touchdowns, adding a smattering of two-point conversions on top of it. Senior Sly Gaona made the team’s last touchdown, a 38-yard run on a pass from Tennison, early in the fourth quarter to sew up the game.
Scoring for Kenai was senior Tucker Vann, who made a 17-yard run with just a minute left on the clock in the first quarter. The Mariners had started up at 6-0. After Vann’s game-tying touchdown, Tennison hastily answered with the final touchdown of the quarter with just 12 seconds left on the clock, reestablishing Homer’s lead at 14-6.
The Mariners continued to pile on the points from there.
Giving up a touchdown early in the game seems to be becoming a bit of a pattern with the Mariners, head coach Justin Zank said, and it’s something he’d like to see them tighten up on.
“That could definitely hurt us moving forward, so I’d like to see us clean that up,” he said. “But I am proud of the guys responding after being down a score, and facing that adversity, that we’re able to just come right back off and rattle off 44 points.”
Zank praised the work of Tennison and Gaona in Saturday’s game, as well as the work put in by much of the offensive line, including Kian Smith, Sean Pilant, Charles Van Meeter, River Mann, Josh Manwiller and Coleman Stephens.
“I thought that they played a very solid game,” he said.
Tennison continues to progress every week, Zank said.
“I’m happy to see him progress, especially in the passing game,” he said. “Because he’s a running first quarterback, so he’s getting better in the passing game.”
Overall, Zank said the Mariners played well after coming back from Kenai’s touchdown.
“I like the improvement that I’m seeing on the offensive side of the ball,” he said. “I thought that the (offensive) line played incredibly well today. … And then once our wide receivers got a little settled down, I was happy with how they played as well.”
Tennison ended up with 16 carries for a total of 194 yards, and had eight out of 14 passes for 135 yards. Kamdyn Doughty had nine carries for 36 yards, and Smith clocked 51 receiving yards, while Gaona has 48.
On defense, Manwiller had a big game with 10 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery. Gaona and Cade Hrenchir both made interceptions for Homer.
For Kenai, Vann rushed 16 times for a total of 102 yards. On defense, Riley Graves had 4.5 tackles, while Vann and Aiden Arness each had four tackles.
The senior team members honored during senior night were Josh Bradshaw, Andy Drake, Markian Reutov, Josh Manwiller, Sly Gaona, River Mann, Coda Wood, Cade Hrenchir and Charles Tappan. The senior managers honored were Hailee Alexander, Harmony Davidson and Mariah Grimes. The senior cheerleader honored was Emily Milam, and home game manager Bruce Graham was also honored.
Next, the Mariners will host Soldotna High School for Homer’s homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Mariners 44, Kardinals 6
Homer: 14, 16, 8, 6
Kenai: 6, 0, 0, 0
Homer — Carter Tennison 6-yard run (conversion failed), 5:33
Kenai — Tucker Vann 17-yard run (kick failed), 1:02
Homer — Carter Tennison 55-yard run (Tennison conversion), 0:12
Homer — Carter Tennison 11-yard run (Tennison conversion), 4:47
Homer — Carter Tennison 17 yard run (Tennison conversion), 2:59
Homer — Carter Tennison 12 yard run (Tennison conversion), 5:53
Homer — Sly Gaona 38-yard pass from Tennison (conversion failed), 10:56
Rushing yards: 31-230 Homer, 37-112 Kenai
Passing yards: Homer 135, Kenai 82
Completed, attempted, intercepted passes: 8-16-0 Homer, 4-8-2 Kenai
Fumbles, lost: 1 Kenai, 0 Homer
Penalties: 14-135 Homer, 10-90 Kenai