Homer football nabs coach of the year, offensive player of the year awards

Homer came away with big recognitions when athletic directors and coaches released the All-Peninsula Football awards late last month.

The results for the first and second All-Peninsula teams were released on Oct. 28, and represented a deviation in how the awards are normally done. Players are traditionally sorted by playing conference, followed by All-State awards. This year, Kenai Peninsula football teams only played each other due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which kept many Alaska football teams playing within their own geographic regions.

Homer head coach Justin Zank was named coach of the year, and quarterback Carter Tennison was honored as offensive player of the year.

Tennison finished a strong season with the following stats, provided by Homer Athletic Director Chris Perk:

Passing: 51/106 800 yards; 7 touchdowns-5 interceptions; 160 yards per game; 15.7 yards per attempt

Rushing: 95-833 yards; 14 touchdowns, 9 points after touchdown; 166.6 yards per game; 8.8 yards per attempt

Also named to the first all-peninsula team were Sly Gaona and Kian Smith as wide receivers, and River Mann on the offensive line. Senior Josh Manwiller was named to the first team in both directions, as an offensive lineman and linebacker. So was Sean Pilant, as both an offensive and defensive lineman.

Coleman Stephens, Kamdyn Doughty and Nestor Kalugin were all named to the second all-peninsula team.

Homer’s football team had made it to the playoffs this season, and was poised for its first playoff game when the Alaska Student Activities Association canceled all state playoff and championship competitions for remaining fall sports due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The Mariners finished their season 3-2. Soldotna High School finished undefeated at 4-0.

All-Peninsula Football Team

Offensive Player of the Year — Carter Tennison, Homer

Defensive Player of the Year — Dennis Taylor, Soldotna

Lineman of the Year — Dylan Dahlgren, Soldotna

Coach of the Year — Justin Zank, Homer

First team


Quarterback — Carter Tennison, Homer; Brock Wilson, Soldotna; Tommy Cronin, Seward. Running back — River Tomrdle, Kenai; Koleman McCaughey, Nikiski; Tucker Vann, Kenai; Elmo Lackey, Seward; Austin Escott, Soldotna; Dennis Taylor, Soldotna; Josh Heiber, Soldotna. Wide receiver — Sly Gaona, Homer; Kian Smith, Homer. Tight end — Josh Pieh, Soldotna; Noah Harper, Soldotna. Offensive line — Caileb Payne, Nikiski; River Mann, Homer; Joe Whittom, Soldotna; Dylan Dahlgren, Soldotna; Sean Pilant, Homer; Rocky Sherbahn, Kenai; Spencer Kapp, Soldotna; Josh Manwiller, Homer; Quentin Oskolkoff, Nikiski; Marcus Lastimosa, Seward. Utility — Gavin White, Nikiski. Kicker — Trenton O’Reagan, Soldotna.


Linebacker — Josh Manwiller, Homer; Caileb Payne, Nikiski; Tommy Cronin, Seward; Tucker Vann, Kenai; Elmo Lackey, Seward; Riley Graves, Kenai; Noah Harper, Soldotna; Josh Bond, Soldotna. Defensive back — Will Simmons, Soldotna. Defensive line — Sean Pilant, Homer; Marcus Lastimosa, Seward; Dylan Dahlgren, Soldotna; Josh Pieh, Soldotna; Shane Taylor, Kenai; Spencer Kapp, Soldotna.

Second team

Coleman Stephens, OT; Kamdyn Doughty, DE; Nestor Kalugin, ILB, all Homer. Cody McCanna, OL; Aiden Arness, OL; Kukoa Diorec, DB; James Sparks, RB; Levi Good, DB, all Kenai. Harley Johnson, OC; Bryce Zimmer, OT; Wayne Mellon, DE; Kaiden Spies, DT; Brock Wilson, ILB, all Soldotna. Charlie Chamberlain, C; Simon Grenier, RB; Dwyght Mullins, OLB; Wyatt Stormer, T, all Nikiski. Collin Mullaly, RB/OLB; Jordan Sewell, C/MB; Dylan Marcus, G/DT, all Seward.