It was a happy homecoming indeed this past weekend for the Homer Mariners varsity football team, as the players rolled over the Nikiski Bulldogs to their fifth straight win this season.
The Mariners topped Nikiski 38-0 on Saturday, Sept. 16 after going into a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“It feels pretty good,” Coach Walter Love said of the homecoming victory. “There’s a lot of hard work that the guys put in this last week, and it’s paid off.”
Starting out strong, the Mariners scored two touchdowns early in the first quarter, one a completed pass from quarterback Teddy Croft to sophomore Noah Fisk, and the other a 52-yard run by Croft.
The players kept up good passing in the second quarter, with two more touchdowns made after Croft completed successful passes to senior Justin Sumption for a 58-yard score and another to Fisk for a 63-yard score. Fisk ran the ball 2 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and ran it 14 yards for the Mariners’ last touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the Mariners had eight completed passes between Croft and senior Dawson Felde for a total of 234 yards, and a total of 219 rushing yards compared to the Bulldogs’ 136. Nikiski’s Michael Eiter made a total of four completed passes for a total of 25 yards.
Love said that over the years, Nikiski has been a consistently strong competitor for the Mariners.
“As a group of seniors, my seniors have never beat Nikiski since they’ve been here, so this year is a year of firsts,” he said.
The Mariners are now first in the Peninsula Conference standings at 2-0 and are 5-1 overall.
“Our goal is 7-1 — that’s not been done before,” Love said. “Our goal is to host our first playoff game here at Homer — that’s not been done. Conference champs — that’s not been done. So it’s all within our sights right now, so we’re just going to start working really hard, getting ready for Redington.”
Felde and Sumption said, as seniors who have played since freshman year, it felt great to win their last homecoming game.
“I think it just kind of shows, like, how much we’ve worked,” Felde said. “We’ve worked super hard, and every game Coach tells us, ‘Now that you’ve spent all week working that hard, go show everybody.’”
“We kind of came to this game mentally that we wanted to have this so we can have a home field advantage for playoffs,” Sumption added.
The junior varsity game scheduled for Saturday was canceled due to lack of enough players, but the Bulldogs gave the underclassmen a quarter of playing time even after struggling through a full game with the Homer varsity team.
The Mariners face off against Joe Redington Jr/Sr High School in a Friday, Sept. 22 away game.