Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 4:29 PM on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mariners eat Wolves, 38-0

By Norm Anderson
For the Homer News


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

Mariner Conner Seay scores a touchdown for Homer in the third quarter of Saturday's game against the Sitka Wolves.

With doubts of even hosting a game this season, the Homer Mariners took charge on their battered field against the Sitka Wolves. The Mariners used their run game to their advantage and defended their home field successfully, winning 38-0 and pushing their record to 2-2.

The Wolves were coming into Saturday's contest fresh off a win over Ketchikan but quickly fell into a slump as the Homer running game prospered. Senior Mark McGregor set the pace early with a touchdown taking less than three minutes off of the clock.

Quinn Daugharty then made the two-point conversion, opening the game with an eight-point lead. Sitka was then held to a three and out and was forced to punt right back to Homer.

The Mariners showed no signs of passing the ball partially because of the playing conditions on the field.

Mariner Head Coach and former Coach of the Year Cam Wyatt shared his insight on the running game: "We know we can throw the ball but this is the first time we've stepped on this field. There are some issues with the field that everybody knows. So by playing ground and pound is safer on our kids."

Although the Wolves knew to defend the run, they could not get past the Mariner offensive line as it led the way for the backs to seemingly convert for a first down on every possession. After a 20-yard run by Tommy Bowe, junior Joseph Cordoza capped off the drive with his first varsity touchdown.

Another conversion widened the gap to 16 with half of the quarter left to play. Sitka's offense could not replicate the Mariners, as they were held to minimal gains on the ground. A turnover on downs signaled the end of the first quarter as the Mariners took over.

Even with the lead, Homer turned the ball over, setting up the Wolves with decent field position. The Mariners, who were confident with their defense, forced the opposition to punt on just four downs once again.

Both teams traded offensive possessions throughout the second quarter to no avail. As Sitka started to find out the Ms' run game, Homer went to the air on short passes trying to find an edge offensively but instead took a lot of time off of the clock.

The Wolves also tried out their offense through the air, throwing a deep pass into the end zone intended for Sitka's Justin Pratt. McGregor then picked the ball off in mid air, breaking tackles and cutting across field twice before making a beeline in the open field, and appearing to score on a record-tying interception run back of more than 100 yards.

A holding penalty during the runback set the Mariners onto their own 26 yard line with only five seconds left in the half. A 20-yard run by Konstantin Reutov capped off the half in what was a slow, defensive quarter.

As Bowe kicked the ball off for the second half of play, the rain began to pour, making the playing conditions even more of an issue. The Mariners once again forced a punt, tipping it this time, setting themselves up on the opponents' 25 yard line. Reutov then ran the ball inside the 10, setting up a misdirection snap to Bowe for his second touchdown of the game.

Cordoza ran another two-point conversion in, bringing the sun back out and widening the gap to 24.

Willy Deaver and Joseph Resetarits put the Mariners defense in shining lights, forcing fumbles and laying on big hits. A Sitka fumble was quickly recovered by the Mariners who continued their consistent running game plan.

With six minutes left in the third, McGregor busted the opposing defense wide open again for a 30 yard run but a clean lead block by Resetarits left a Sitka defender motionless on the field.

Coach Wyatt said, "He felt a tingling feeling in his toes after being hit and we took all of the precautions."

The player was taken off in a stretcher thanks to Homer EMTs and is expected to be able to play the rest of the season.

However, the injury delayed the game for a half hour and it was now hailing on Mariner field.

After the delay, Homer's Conner Seay quickly scored for the Ms and another conversion made the shutout 32-0 in favor of Homer.

The sun came out for good for the Mariners. In the next possession, they forced a punt instantly. Cordoza was called upon again, running the ball around end for his second touchdown. The conversion was no good due to a penalty. As the third quarter ended, the Mariners were already coasting to a shutout victory.

"Both plays were really well blocked for me. It was nothing special for me, just running hard and following the blocks," said Cordoza on his two touchdowns.

Sitka began to pass during the fourth and found some sort of an offensive push with the help of a long defensive pass interference penalty on Homer. Facing fourth and 15, a perfect fake punt pass put the Wolves in scoring position with under a minute left in the game.

The Mariner defense showed pride in completing their shutout performance by forcing a fumble on the fourth down, ending this one 38-0.

"We didn't make a lot of changes since last week," said Wyatt. "We really just tried to play 'eleven is one' and be more consistent. We were in the right spots but we just have to fine-tune it now."

Wyatt also noted that the younger players played really well on Saturday making the difference in this one.

Some stats: Mark McGregor rushed 17 times for 110 yards. He also had a touchdown and an interception. Konstantin Reutov had seven rushes for 67 yards, while Tommy Bowe had five rushes for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Also for Homer, Quinn Daugharty had two rushes for 22 yards, Sheldon Hutt had four rushes for 22 yards, Connor Seay had two rushes for 26 yards and a touchdown, and Joseph Cardoza had four rushes for 31 yards and two touchdowns.

Hutt also hit one pass to Daugharty for 17 yards.

For Sitka, Justin Pratt caught six passes for 33 yards. Quarterback Mitchell Boord was 5 for 15 for 48 yards and an interception.

The Mariners host the Skyview Panthers this Saturday with the junior varsity game at noon, varsity at 3 p.m.

Norm Anderson is a 2010 graduate of Homer High School and a student at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College.