The Soldotna Stars and the Homer Mariners met Saturday night at Chugiak High School to determine the state’s medium-sized school football champion.
The SoHi Stars’ dominance over the weekend in Chugiak was reminiscent of the teams’ meeting in September, when the Stars won 38-8. The Mariners, who end their season with a 6-3 overall record, took the ball to within inches of the goal line on their opening drive, but a strong fourth down stop by SoHi prevented the Mariners from reaching the end zone.
The first quarter was marked by strong defense on both sides and saw just one score, a five yard run for a touchdown by SoHi’s Drew Gibbs.
The tone for the game was set in the second quarter, when SoHi made four trips to the end zone, including a twenty-two yard pass from Noah Fowler to Zane Miller and three touchdowns on the ground; a three yard run by River Calloway, a two yarder from Reid Schmelzenbach and a one yard jog into the endzone by Fowler.
The Mariners struck first in the second half, as Joseph Cordoza carried the ball five yards for a touchdown to open the third quarter. Homer couldn’t create any momentum, though, as SoHi continued to pile on the points.
The Stars went on to score three more times in the third quarter, all on the ground, with a 79-yard run by Drew Gibbs, followed by another three yard carry by Galloway and Fowler’s 16-yard run to end the period at 55-6.
SoHi’s Ty Fenton took care of the Stars’ final points, scampering in from 14 yards in the fourth quarter. The Mariners showed pride and resilience in the final period, scoring twice on a pair of passes from Shelton Hutt to Tommy Bowe to end the game.
This was Homer’s second runner-up finish in as many years, and SoHi’s first medium schools championship. They end the year with an overall record of 9-1. The Nikiski Bulldogs also made it to the final game in the small school’s division, falling to Eielson by a score of 27-7.