When small-schools Homer quarterback Teddy Croft connected with Joe Ravin for a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter of Saturday’s home game against medium-schools Juneau-Douglas, things were starting to look pretty good for the M’s.
Croft and Ravin scored with just 4:56 left in the first quarter to take what turned out to be Homer’s only lead in the game. Turnovers, penalties and injuries allowed the Crimson Bears to build a 26-point lead in the final three quarters to beat the Mariners 26-8.
Homer cross-country runners continued their solid season over the weekend, taking Class 1-2-3A boys and girls team titles at Saturday’s Palmer Invitational.
Junior Jacob Davis led the way for Homer boys, finishing fourth in 16 minutes, 48 seconds. A fifth-place finish from Jordan Beachy, sixth place for Jared Brant, and eighth for Luciano Fasulo secured the win for Homer. The M’s beat second-place Grace Christian by 34 points.
Lady Mariner Lauren Kuhns’ finish time of 12 minutes, 36 seconds wasn’t just the fastest swim time among women at Saturday’s Homer High Triathlon — it was the fastest overall.
The 18-year-old senior left the pool 11 seconds before top men’s swimmer John Roedl.
“I went pretty easy on the swim,” Kuhns said of her swim. “I knew I had to prepare for the hellish bike and run I had coming up.”
She prepared well, finishing the 1,000-yard swim, 15-mile bike, and five-mile run in 1:58:09 to secure her status as 2016 Ironwoman.
The Homer Lady Mariners dropped another match on Friday, this time to the visiting Nikiski Lady Bulldogs. Despite putting together several good plays, and keeping up with the Bulldogs in a number of long volleys, the M’s fell in three games: 25-11, 25-23 and 25-17.
“It was a rough day of games on Friday,” said Homer coach Kriste Mastre. “But Nikiski is an incredibly strong team this year.”
For as long as I can remember, Homer has always played ironman football. Fielding a team from a smaller school is always a challenge, and players are just expected to play both offense and defense — in every game.
But that sustained effort at such a high level of intensity takes its toll on even the mightiest of Mariner men. And when your opponent has enough depth on their team to keep sending fresh players in — well, you do the math.
“We just ran out of steam once we got tired in the second half,” said junior quarterback Teddy Croft of the Mariners’ 32-56 loss in Kodiak on Friday. “I let the tiredness affect my play on offense in the second half — and that can’t happen.”
The Homer Lady Mariner volleyball team continued its struggle through the 2016 season with a Southcentral Conference home loss to Seward last Thursday.
The Seahawks beat the Mariners 3 games to 1, opening with a 25-20 defeat that seemed to act as decent motivation for the Lady M’s in game 2.
With just two weeks left in the 2016 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, Austin Nelson of North Pole still sits atop the leaderboard with the 252.2-pound flatfish he caught on Aug. 17. Nelson was fishing with Homer Ocean Charters and Captain Travis Blount aboard the F/V Diamond Cape.
Tyler Dullum of Reno, N.V. landed the season’s first left-handed halibut while fishing with Captain B’s Alaskan C’s Adventures and Captain Bryan Bondoli aboard tyne F/V Ashtikan.
The Port Graham Killer Whales sent their first-ever cross-country team to the Bartlett meet on Saturday.
Under the guidance of Coach Colby Way — who put on a cross-country running clinic with his wife, Devin, at the beginning of last year — Port Graham sent runners Suzanne LaBelle and Malachi Joseph to compete at Bartlett.
It’s still unclear whether Homer cross-country athletes are just being polite to each other, or if some race strategy is afoot when Mariner runners take turns crossing the finish line first.
Homer junior Jacob Davis outpaced his teammates to finish 11th in Saturday’s Cross-Country State preview at Bartlett. Davis — always a strong runner — generally placed somewhere right in the middle of the Homer boys’ team in other races.
First-year head coach and former Homer High School player Kristie Mastre knew this season would be a challenge for her Lady Mariner volleyball team.
After long-time coach Beth Trowbridge handed over her coaching reins to Pam Newton last year, the M’s were able to squeeze one more state appearance out of last year’s season.
But if Saturday’s Homer Jamboree is any indication of the road ahead, Mastre has her work cut out for her.
The varsity Lady M’s kicked off their annual jamboree with round-robin play Saturday morning, but had some trouble getting started as they fell 6-21 and 11-21 against the Kenai Kardinals. The Homer squad responded with a decent opening game against Nikiski in the next round of play, but still fell 16-21 to the Lady Bulldogs. A shaky Homer second game left the M’s on the short side of the 5-21 score.