• Cardoza rushes for 194 yards, 2 touchdowns in convincing conference win at home
By Sean Pearson
Just when you think you’ve seen the best of Homer’s running game in backs Konstantin Reutov and Tommy Bowe, and scrambling senior quarterback Mark McGregor, another face emerges from the Mariner backfield carrying the ball.
This time, it was Joseph Cardoza’s turn.
Cardoza, a junior, rushed for 194 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead the Homer Mariners past the Houston Hawks 38-7 on Saturday. The Mariner offense logged an impressive 492 yards on the ground; something Cardoza said wouldn’t have happened without his dogged offensive line.
“Those big linemen opened up some wide holes, which obviously made my job a whole lot easier,” he said. “They all played with incredible focus and energy throughout the game.”
Cardoza wasn’t the only Mariner racking up yards – and touchdowns. McGregor ran for 124 yards and scored three touchdowns, while Bowe picked up 122 yards on nine carries.
Reutov added 47 yards, as well as a 27-yard touchdown pass from McGregor.
“That game was huge for us” Cardoza said. “We wanted to play hard on our own field for our seniors, since it was the last time they’ll ever play on that field. We definitely made some mistakes with penalties, but ultimately came out with the win. And we learn from our mistakes.”
Homer lost 62 yards on eight penalties, but still managed to pick up 23 first downs and 519 yards of total offense for the game.
The win moves Homer to 4-1 in the conference and gives them sole ownership of second place in the NLC standings. They open post-season play at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau in a 7 p.m. Friday throwdown.
The Falcons finished first in the Southeastern division of the Northern Lights Conference.
Cardoza said he feels healthy, albeit a little sore from Saturday’s battle. His goal at Thunder Mountain is “to just run ‘til I drop.”
“It’s all for the team, because ultimately this isn’t about me or anyone else,” Cardoza said. “We are a team and we play as a team.”
Senior lineman Drew Raymond said staying relaxed and focused amid all the post-season hype is difficult, but he encourages his line to keep their eyes on the goal.
“We’re so close to the end, it’s hard not to keep focused,” he said. “Many of us are coming to the end of our high school football days, and we want to leave something behind. So we keep marching …”
Cardoza said tough games at the end of the season require more than just intense focus.
“It takes a family that will stick together from the beginning ‘til the end,” he said. “We fight until each play is over, for one another, 11 as 1.”
Mariners 38, Hawks 7
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