In a game where you have to count your blessings wherever you find them, Mariner Head Coach Josh Fraley and the Homer High football team have something to brag about in spite of Saturday’s 51-6 loss to the Soldotna Stars.
“We’re only the second team to score on them all year,” said Fraley of the Mariners putting themselves on the board during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game.
The beginning looked grim, however, with the SoHi Stars racking up 41 points in the first quarter. Homer’s Connor Seay made the kick-off. When one of the Mariners lost a mouthpiece and made a quick exit off the field, with less than a minute into the quarter, the Stars’ Brooks Furlong handed off the ball to Drew Gibbs right where the absent player was supposed to be and ran it 35 yards for a touchdown.
“Everybody was kind of bummed out because of that,” said Fraley. “That was the way the whole first quarter went. We didn’t quite get our momentum back.”
In the second, third and fourth quarters, the Mariners were able to slow the Stars’ progress and get a better handle on things, but it was too little, too late.
“A couple of touchdowns we manufactured for them, but they definitely ran the ball effectively, too,” said Fraley.
In the final quarter, when it looked like SoHi had managed another shutout of the opposition, the Mariners came back with a strong finish. Sheldon Hutt passed the ball to Josh Fisk, who ran a 68-yard gain, giving the Mariners their total six points of the game and cause to rejoice.
“Surprisingly enough, everyone had a smile on their face when they left the game. They were happy they were one of the teams to score on the Stars,” said Fraley.
The only other team to battle the Stars and manage to score was Eagle River, who also scored six.
“It’s amazing what a few points can do after a beat-down like that,” Fraley said of the Mariners’ attitude following Saturday’s game. “They were pretty happy about it.”
Injuries have plagued the Homer team the past several weeks, but Fraley said he is hoping to have most of the team back by the homecoming game against Houston on Oct. 4.
This Saturday, the Mariners travel to Kenai to play the Kardinals. It is Kenai’s homecoming game and is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
“(The Mariners) knew it was going to be tough,” said Fraley of the game against Soldotna. “They didn’t fool themselves. They knew what they were getting into. But Kenai will be a little different. We match up quite a bit better with them. It’s going to be a great game.”
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.