• Homer, Kodiak tie for second in league, square off Saturday
By Sean Pearson
The wind howled. The rain hammered. Saturday’s football weather was perfect if you’re a rugged, seasoned Mariner. If you’re a purple Panther — not so much.
The Homer Mariners’ home-field advantage against Northern Lights Conference rival Skyview over the weekend included a full-on storm swell with gale-force winds that would test even the toughest of Alaska seamen.
Thanks to a steady running game and some key defensive stops deep in their own territory, the M’s weathered the storm with a 28-14 win over the Panthers.
The win moves Homer to 2-1 in the conference and 3-2 overall – and sets up an epic showdown between the Mariners and the Kodiak Bears, who are now tied for second in the league.
The two teams face off in Kodiak this Saturday.
And, while the Mariners survived the offensive onslaught of the Skyview Panthers – who played a much cleaner game, scored twice as many first downs and picked up 77 yards in the air – that didn’t necessarily make it a pretty win. (The M’s gave up a whopping 106 yards on 12 penalties.)
“We had some setbacks last week, but we should be back on track for Kodiak,” said senior running back Konstantin Reutov, who picked up 154 yards rushing on eight carries.
Wet field conditions proved costly for Reutov, who left the game with a knee injury before the half.
“The field conditions may have played a factor in me getting hurt, because the ground felt like a sponge when I took steps,” Reutov said. “The hardest part was the rain. It made it harder to hold onto the ball.”
The Mariners marched out to a 28-0 lead early in the game, thanks to Reutov’s two touchdowns; one of them a second-quarter, 60-yard run. Mark McGregor scored on a 2-yard run to close out the half, putting the M’s up 22-0 at the break.
Homer opened the second half with the same momentum, as Noah Swenson returned an interception to push the Mariners’ lead to 28.
The Panthers would not go down easily.
Homer defense stepped up in the third quarter, forcing the Panthers to turn the ball over on downs at the Homer 1-yard line. Skyview scored on a 5-yard run with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Skyview turned the ball over on downs at the Homer 3- and 8-yard lines, before running another one in from the 4-yard run with 5:12 left in the game.
The Mariners take on the Bears at Saturday. Reutov is not exactly sure where he will be at that point.
“I can walk on it, so I don’t think it’s too serious,” he said. “I just can’t run.”
That could be a problem.
Following this weekend’s away game, the Mariners return for Homecoming, and their final regular-season game against the Houston Hawks.
Mariners 28, Panthers 14
Skyview 0 0 6 8 — 14
Homer 8 14 6 0 — 28
First downs 14 7
Rushes-yards 55-197 38-220
Passing yards 77 0
Comp-att-int 4-10-2 0-4-1
Return yards 87 21
Punts-ave. 2-35.0 3-28.7
Fumbles-lost 6-1 4-3
Penalties-yards 7-39 12-106
Rushing: Reutov 8-154, McGregor 13-42, Bowe 8-27.
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