• Strong passing and 23-point second quarter seals Skyview’s fate
By Sean Pearson
After weathering stormy seas against the Kenai Kardinals at home two weeks ago, the Homer Mariner football team sailed back on course with a 30-0 win at Skyview on Saturday.
The Northern Lights Conference shut-out was just another dismal detail to an already rainy, bleary and somber Panther homecoming. With Skyview High School shutting down next year, this was the school’s final homecoming game.
The Mariners showed little mercy, however, as junior quarterback Sheldon Hutt connected with senior Mario Glosser in an 84-yard touchdown toss that gave the M’s a quick six points. Glosser provided the PAT and Homer took an early seven-point lead.
“It felt good to see something we have been working on in practice be successful in the game,” said Homer Head Coach Josh Fraley, referring to the touchdown pass play.
A strong Mariner defensive effort, including three interceptions, provided Homer’s offense ample opportunities to put points on the board. They stepped up to the task, scoring 23 unanswered second-quarter points. Hutt scored on a 4-yard quarterback keeper, and then reconnected with Glosser — this time for a 29-yard scoring pass midway through the second period. A 3-yard touchdown by Homer senior Joseph Cardoza and a Glosser 19-yard field goal gave the M’s a 30-0 halftime lead.
The Panthers threatened in the third quarter, capitalizing on a Hutt interception and fumbled Homer punt return. Deep in their own territory, a smothering Mariner defense consistently held firm and took over the ball on downs. Neither team scored in the second half.
“I was very happy with the first half of our game, but we slowed down and lost momentum in the second half,” said senior running back Joseph Cardoza. “The biggest difference in this game was our blocking; we were able to give Sheldon time to step up and make a throw.”
And throw he did.
Hutt passed for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Most of his long-distant passes connected with Glosser, who picked up 113 receiving yards for the day — all on two touchdown passes.
“I definitely feel more confident about myself as a player,” Glosser said of his performance. “From a team perspective, we still have a lot of ground to cover.”
Junior Ian Lowe, who picked up 31 yards receiving and 17 yards on the ground, said he was happy with the outcome of the game, but knows the team has plenty more things to work on.
“I think we started playing more as a team and not giving up or getting on each other when we made mistakes,” Lowe explained. “I am hoping we can continue to improve our blocking, so we can pass and run the ball more effectively.”
For Fraley, the Mariners’ success came down to unselfishness, mental and physical conditioning and momentum.
“I think we are starting to get a little chemistry on the line and between Sheldon and the receivers,” he said. “I’m hoping to improve our execution of plays, and build on the confidence we gained this weekend.”
Lowe agreed, adding that the team was a lot more “together” against Skyview than in any other game so far this season.
Cardoza, who picked up 85 yards rushing and 26 yards receiving, said he’s hoping to improve the team’s offensive effort.
“Our defense felt good against Skyview, and our offense was OK,” he said. “But we made mistakes we shouldn’t have.”
Some of those Mariner mistakes came in the form of 60 penalty yards on 10 separate infractions.
Glosser, who said he is feeling more stable making hits and reading plays alongside Homer defenders Zach McKenna and Hunter Harris, said he doesn’t want the team to get too comfortable with each other.
“We still need to grasp a greater form of unity while playing on the field,” he explained. “The sooner we can reach our goal as a team, the sooner we’ll become a factor during each game.”
A large part of that team unity Glosser referred to comes from trusting each other on the field.
“Trust is paramount to success as a team and we are doing much better in that department,” Fraley said. “It does feel like the team is closer.”
The M’s are scheduled to play Palmer this Saturday at home, but doubt about the somewhat mismatched Mariners and Moose has kept the game’s status in limbo.
Fraley has voiced injury concerns about putting his boys up against the significantly larger and more powerful Moose. Palmer High School has nearly double the enrollment of Homer.
And, while Glosser believes the Mariners need to rely more on game fundamentals in order to compete against bigger schools, Fraley isn’t convinced that will make the game any safer.
“We’re still going to need a little attitude going into this one,” Fraley said. “That’s another goal for this week; getting our guys to play with attitude and a bit of a chip on their shoulders.”
Saturday’s win over Skyview moved Homer to 1-2 in the Northern Lights Conference. The Panthers are 0-2.
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