While Homer football coach Josh Fraley admits to doing a little “forward thinking” about next season in the Mariners’ 42-7 thrashing of the Voznesenka Cougars, he said the focus in Friday’s “away” game at Homer High was to have fun.
And yes, you read that right. Throughout the 2016 football season, Homer High School has allowed the Cougars to use the Mariner turf as “home field” in their games. So on Friday, Homer was the “visitor” — on their own field.
“I’ve never coached on that side (of the field) before,” Fraley said. “I didn’t like it.”
Homer High School cross country teams continued their dominance on the trails with Class 1-2-3A division State Championship wins for both boys and girls teams at Bartlett High School on Saturday. Homer coach Bill Steyer said the “double championships” and “three-peat” for the girls team has been the team’s goal for a year.
“I’m extremely happy with both boys and girls teams becoming state champions,” Steyer said. “We knew we had a good shot at obtaining this objective, but realized it could only be obtained if everyone executed a race strategy that was team-oriented, versus an emphasis on individual performance.”
Homer senior Lauren Kuhns placed third overall at the 35th-annual SoHi Pentathlon on Friday in Soldotna. Kuhns finished the five-event competition with a total combined time of three minutes, 6.76 seconds — less than one second behind second-place Camille Dayton of Colony.
The race comprises a 100-yard individual medley, 50-yard butterfly, 50-yard backstroke, 50-yard breaststroke and 50-yard freestyle.
“You’re put into a heat based on your 200 IM time,” Kuhns explained. “You have that same heat and lane assignment the whole meet.”
Kuhns said she was pleased with her swims at this weekend’s meet — she definitely found them challenging.
When Mariner senior Jaime Rios went down with an ankle injury in practice last Tuesday, Homer football coach Josh Fraley found himself completely out of quarterbacks as Saturday’s Homecoming game against Joe Redington loomed.
Rios is the third QB the M’s have lost to injury since the beginning of the season; junior Dawson Felde was injured in August, while Teddy Croft — also a junior — suffered a leg injury in the Sept. 2 home game against Juneau.
Faced with a number of talented ball-carriers — including freshman phenom Noah Fisk — but no real play-caller, Fraley did the next most logical thing.
He took out the middle man.
The Homer Mariners’ domination on the high school cross country trails continued over the weekend with both boys’ and girls’ teams bringing home titles in the Class 1-2-3A Region III Championships in Soldotna on Saturday.
Seniors Megan Pitzman and Audrey Rosencrans, and freshman Autumn Daigle swept the top three places in the 5k girls race at Tsalteshi Trails, beating second-place Grace Christian by 23 points. Pitzman led the way with a time of 19 minutes, 37 seconds. Rosencrans finished nine seconds later, with Daigle right on her heels — just one second behind.
The south peninsula found itself well-represented at this year’s Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, as some 23 of Homer’s finest competed in the annual Kenai Community Foundation fundraising event.
With the Bulldogs taking a mere 3-0 lead into the half at Saturday’s Peninsula Conference game against Homer in Nikiski, it seemed the Mariners might get a chance to put one in the win column.
A 13-point Bulldog third quarter quickly put any of those hopeful thoughts to rest, however, as Nikiski dropped the M’s 22-6.
Homer significantly improved its rushing game this weekend, picking up 150 yards on 31 carries. Mariner freshman Noah Fisk led the team with 123 of those yards, and picked up Homer’s only touchdown in the game on a 37-yard run in the fourth quarter.
After starting their 2016 season with an 0-4 record, the Voznesenka Cougars ended their losing streak last Friday with a 12-8 win over Joe Redington Jr/Sr High School outside Wasilla.
And while Voz head coach Justin Zank was almost as stoked as his players with the win, he was also quick to point out that they have plenty to practice this week before meeting Seward.
“We were a little reserved with our excitement, as we knew we made a bunch of mistakes,” Zank said. “Those are all things that we need to correct prior to our game this weekend.”
The Huskies scored early with a first-quarter touchdown and successful 2-point conversion that put them up 8-0. But Cougar quarterback Azary Reutov answered with a touchdown run on what Zank called a “midline option read.”
In Class 3A girls volleyball action, the Lady Mariners beat Anchorage Christian Schools on the road in three games Saturday. Homer beat ACS 25-19, 25-20 and 25-22. The Lady M’s fell to the Grace Christian Grizzlies on Friday, 19-25, 25-10, 25012 and 25-10.
Mariner cross country teams once again flexed their muscles in a dominating finish at Saturday’s Homer Spit Trials.
Teams from Voznesenka, Nikolaevsk, Port Graham, Nikiski, Kenai and Soldotna also competed in the rainy race, but Homer ran away with the show.
Freshman Autumn Daigle turned in a personal-record performance on her way to first place in the girls’ time trials. Daigle led the way for the Lady Mariners with a time of 19 minutes, 18.53 seconds. Finishing fourth, senior Megan Pitzman also turned in a personal record for the season. She led a long line of Mariner runners, all seven of which finished within the top nine places.
“Seeing Autumn win it was awesome,” Pitzman said of her young teammate. “She’s shown so much improvement each week and has been such a great addition to our team.”