On an occasion to celebrate the commitment of senior student athletes, the Homer Mariner Varsity Boys Football team shined against the Kenai Kardinals.
Last Saturday was Senior Night at Homer High, and a ceremony of honor for the soon-to-be graduates preceded a Mariner win, 38-20.
Reflecting on his four years with the team, senior Coleman Stephens said, “It’s been an absolute journey for sure. A lot of ups and downs — mostly ups.”
It certainly was on Senior Night, as the eldest players performed particuarly well alongside the exuberant efforts of the rest of the team.
Homer grabbed an 8-0 lead after the first quarter when Carter Tennison scored on a 5-yard run, then also ran in the two-point conversion.
For a long time the game was closely contested, as the Mariners opened up their lead with two Tennison rushing touchdowns and two-point conversions, only for the Kardinals to mount a resistance before halftime. The Kardinals fought back in the final minutes of the half on a pair of touchdown runs by Reagan Graves, with a lost Homer fumble coming between those runs. Kenai got one of the two two-point conversions and trailed 16-14 at the half.
However, the Mariners did not lose momentum and came storming back in the second half to secure their victory.
Jake Tappan put Homer up 22-14 in the third quarter with a 5-yard run. After Kenai lost a fumble, Tennison quickly made it 30-14 with a 1-yard run and a two-point conversion.
Kenai wasn’t done yet. Early in the fourth quarter, Bridger Beck found Wade James for a 59-yard scoring pass, cutting the deficit to 30-20.
But Tennison wasn’t done yet, either, scoring from 3 yards out and adding another conversion to finish the scoring.
Mariners senior offensive guard and defensive tackle Coleman Stephens was happy with the perserverence from his team.
“We kept going … We pushed through and even after, you know, there was a bit of lost momentum, they got some scores, we came back second half and pushed it in,” Stephens said.
“I think everyone did amazing,” said Stephens. “That’s how you win a game.”
The Mariners now have a record of 3-1 as they continue to head towards their championship goal.
East JV 58, Nikiski 20
The Nikiski football team lost 58-20 to East’s junior varsity team Saturday in Anchorage.
With Monroe Catholic and Valdez dropping out of the Denali Conference, the Bulldogs had an open week on their schedule and were able to fill it with East JV. Nikiski head coach Matt Trammell said he is not counting it as an official game.
Trammell said he played his varsity for the first half and forged a 20-20 tie with the Thunderbirds. Dwyght Mullins had a pair of touchdowns for the Bulldogs, while Braeden Porter also had a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs put in their own junior varsity squad for the second half.