Quarterback Anthony Kalugin runs the ball while being tackled by Monroe Catholic High School’s Jordan Higbee during their game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. The Rams beat the Mariners in a close game 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Quarterback Anthony Kalugin runs the ball while being tackled by Monroe Catholic High School’s Jordan Higbee during their game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. The Rams beat the Mariners in a close game 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Mariners lose to Monroe in close game

The football players of Monroe Catholic High School eked out a slim win over Homer High School in their bout Saturday on the Homer field.

In a match that came down to the final minutes, the Rams walked off victorious, besting the Mariners 28-27. While this is the third loss in a row for the young Homer team, it’s a closer score than Coach Walter Love has seen so far.

The Mariners came close when junior Noah Fisk scored a touchdown with a minute and 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but the Rams managed to hold on to their slim lead by stopping the attempted two-point conversion. Love said he could see his players didn’t have the fight left for overtime.

“You know, I’m playing with kids that got banged up in the last two games,” he said. “I saw … they were getting tired.”

Love said that, at the end of the day, it’s “zero or hero.”

“I could have kicked it and tied it, but these guys were banged up still,” he said. “There was no gas left for them.”

Saturday’s game was Fisk’s return to action since being injured in the team’s first game of the season against Kodiak. He had a strong return, scoring two of the game’s touchdowns for Homer and contributing 171 of the team’s total 229 rushing yards.

Senior Yuri Golick contributed another 54 rushing yards. He also made the other two Homer touchdowns of the game, one on the second quarter for a 10-yard gain, and the other in the third for a 5-yard gain.

Quarterback Anthony Kalugin — one of a few transplants from the disbanded Head of the Bay Cougars team made up of players from three Russian Old Believer village schools — completed three out of 13 passes. The Voznesenka junior also made a successful two-point conversion on one of Golick’s touchdowns.

Prokohpy Konev, another former Cougars player, also contributed handily to the game with a tackle, 13 receiving yards and 51 total kick return yards.

In a game of back-and-forth touchdowns that kept the score close throughout, points were put on the board for the Rams by Josh Grey, Garren Nicholson, Jordan Higbee and Isaac Minnema. Higbee intercepted a pass from Kalugin and went on to make a 32-yard return for his touchdown in the second quarter. Minnema completed a pass from quarterback Trae Puryear for a 43-yard gain and touchdown.

Monroe’s players completed 159 total rushing yards to Homer’s 229.

Even with the addition of a few more seniors, the Mariner team is still relatively heavy on sophomores. Sophomore mistakes were easy to pick out when they were made on the field Saturday, Love said.

At the same time, he called it a good game overall.

“We made less mistakes than we made the last two weeks,” he said.

Going forward with the season, Love said an area of focus will be to continue coaching his younger players up. Being young, some of them “bite on the misdirection,” Love said, so he and the other coaches will work on teaching them to stay in position.

“Young guys. Young football game. Young results,” Love said.

The Mariners will take on Houston High School in an away game on Friday, Aug. 31.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Monroe Catholic High School’s Jordan Higbee runs the ball down the field during his team’s Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 game against Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. Monroe beat the Mariners 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Monroe Catholic High School’s Jordan Higbee runs the ball down the field during his team’s Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 game against Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. Monroe beat the Mariners 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Monroe Catholic High School’s Alex VanWhye heads for Homer’s quarterback, Anthony Kalugin, while he searches for an opening during their game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at the turf field in Homer, Alaska. The Rams eked out a win over Homer, defeating them 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Monroe Catholic High School’s Alex VanWhye heads for Homer’s quarterback, Anthony Kalugin, while he searches for an opening during their game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at the turf field in Homer, Alaska. The Rams eked out a win over Homer, defeating them 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer junior Noah Fisk heads toward the ground after running the ball for the Mariners during their Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 game against Monroe Catholic High School in Homer, Alaska. The Rams came out victorious, beating Homer 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer junior Noah Fisk heads toward the ground after running the ball for the Mariners during their Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 game against Monroe Catholic High School in Homer, Alaska. The Rams came out victorious, beating Homer 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer junior Noah Fisk hoists a Monroe Cathloic High School player trying to tackle him as he runs the ball during their Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 game at the high school’s turf field in Homer, Alaska. Monroe eked out a slim win over the Mariners 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer junior Noah Fisk hoists a Monroe Cathloic High School player trying to tackle him as he runs the ball during their Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 game at the high school’s turf field in Homer, Alaska. Monroe eked out a slim win over the Mariners 28-27. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

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