• Two transfers and a soccer player add new dimension to Homer Football
By Sean Pearson
Saturday’s football scrimmage between the Homer Mariners and the Voznesenka Cougars wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t fair. The larger and deeper Homer team beat up on the fledgling Cougars, racking up 615 total offensive yards and a 48-6 win.
Voznesenka just recently moved to 11-man football. They first competed in eight-man football in 2008 and eventually went on to take the 2010 State title by defeating the Nunamiut Wolves 66-8.
Voz went undefeated in the 2010 season against seven other teams. They are the only team not on the North Slope.
And, what they didn’t have in size and numbers this year, the Cougars made up for with plenty of tenacity.
“That quarterback for Voz was very impressive,” said Homer Head Coach Josh Fraley. “And it looks like they have someone to help lead and build an offense around.”
Fraley said he was happy with his team’s performance and pleasantly surprised by a few players.
“I was very impressed with Mike Swoboda,” Fraley said of the sophomore transplant whose teammates call him “Texas;” because he’s from — well, you know, that Lower 48 state that thinks it’s big.
Fraley said he also got strong performances out of sophomore Wisconsin transfer Josh Fisk and Homer High junior basketball and soccer standout, Drew Brown.
“These newcomers this season definitely made an impact on the field in every aspect of the game,” he said.
Brown kicked two field goals, 22 yards and 30 yards for the M’s, and added several extra points.
It’s been a long time since Homer has had any kind of kicking game.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Brown said of his Saturday play time. “Got my first-game butterflies out — finally. I think once I caught that first pass, I had my confidence back.”
Receiver Brown and sophomore quarterback Sheldon Hutt connected on several pass plays, picking up 127 yards in the air.
“I’m feeling really good about this season,” Hutt said after the game. “Our scrimmage gave us a good look at where we are, and what things we need to work on.”
Fraley said he thought Hutt “did well managing the offense and calling quality plays; he made adjustments to his game as needed.”
Brown also commented that it helps to have “two great quarterbacks putting the ball where I need it,” referring to the clean play of Hutt, as well as junior back-up quarterback Ian Lowe.
Senior tailback and safety Joseph Cardoza was a workhorse for the M’s, running, blocking and making his fair share of open-field tackles.
“Joey did what he always does,” Fraley said. “He gave 150 percent. He is our heartbeat and his passion really drives our squad.”
The M’s picked up 488 yards rushing and Fisk intercepted two Cougar passes.
As Saturday’s home game against Kodiak approaches, Fraley said he is feeling good.
“I think we have a lot to build on, but there’s also much to clean up and improve upon,” he said. “All in all, I was pleased with the scrimmage; especially the fact that everyone from both sides came away healthy.”
Homer’s game against Kodiak starts at 1 p.m. Saturday at Homer High School.
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