The Homer football team stumbled into 1-2 standings in the Peninsula Conference on Saturday when Nikiski eked out a 26-22 win during Homer’s homecoming game.
The win brought Nikiski to 2-1 in the conference, or second place in standings behind Houston (4-0). Only two teams from the Peninsula Conference are allowed to continue in the Division III postseason, so in order to have a shot at a playoff berth, Homer must win its game against Ketchikan (also 1-2 in the conference) this weekend.
The loss was especially bitter for the Mariners, who beat the Bulldogs 50-18 earlier this season.
Nikiski’s Sam Berry scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take the lead and win away from Homer. Berry also scored Nikiski’s two touchdowns in the second quarter. He ended the game with 217 rushing yards.
Homer quarterback Anthony Kalugin racked up 173 passing yards and ran for 128 yards. He contributed a touchdown along with Homer’s Kamdyn Doughty and Carter Tennison.
The Mariners were able to bring the score to 22-14 and drive into Nikiski territory in the second half, first to the Bulldog’s 12 yard line and then to their 23, but were unable to manifest additional touchdowns during either possession.
A fumble by Kalugin with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter gave Nikiski the ball. Quarterback Noah Litke passed it down the field to Michael Eiter before Berry made the final 21-yard run and touchdown to win the game.
Also at the game, senior football players and cheerleaders were recognized and students held a homecoming celebration at half time. Kalugin was honored along with fellow seniors Antonin Murachev and Zack Condon. Senior cheerleaders honored were Mackenzie Ormond, Tapanga Roderick, Shyanne Sallee, Charity Stewart and Bethanie Yungeberg. Senior Joey Thompson, who films every game, was also honored.
Homer next faces Ketchikan in an away game at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.