Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 5:49 PM on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mariner homecoming magic

Homer beats Kenai 21-14 in thrilling, double overtime contest

By Angelina Skowronski
For the Homer News


 

Photo by Goldie Shealy

Homer High School Mariner quarterback Robin Glosser and the team celebrate Saturday's 21-14, double-overtime homecoming victory over the Kenai Kardinals. See related story page 14.

Blue and gold reversed a 19-year spell of crimson red defeats during Saturday's homecoming game with a double overtime 21-14 win over Kenai. Homer is now sitting pretty as the No. 2 seat in the Northern Lights Conference. The junior varisity team set up varsity for a win earlier that day with their own 30-7 homecoming victory against Kenai's JV team.

Saturday's dry skies brought the crowds out to Homer High School as alumni, parents, students and community members packed the stands to watch the two rivals battle it out on the football field.

Mariner Head Coach Camron Wyatt said he has never seen so many people out on the sidelines cheering his team on. "I believe in the 12th man concept. The energy was there with all the support the team had from the stands," he said.


 

Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Ryan Cotney waves the Mariner flag during the final moments of Saturday's game.

What many thought would be an offensive game, turned into a defensive contest. The Mariners and Kardinals played cat and mouse in the first quarter with neither team making it on the scoreboard. The tug of war continued in the second until Kenai brought on the heat in the last minute of the quarter scoring a touchdown by Levi Hansen assisted by a 25-yard pass by Kenai's quarterback A.J. Hull. T.J. Wagoner finished it off with a kick between the posts.

Homer had their work cut out for them.

"Kenai had all their base plays covered. You can tell they are a well coached team," Wyatt said.

Junior center Willy Deaver agreed, saying, "We were playing against ourselves in the first half, which set us back, but we have a lot of heart and finally showed it in the second half."

A score of 0-7 ended the first half putting the Mariners in the hot seat. As Coach Wyatt gave a pep talk to his 39-man team, class floats and homecoming's royal court made their stage around the high school track. The McNeil Canyon Elementary School finished the procession with their mascot dragon shuffled by small feet.

The start of the third quarter saw another scoreboard gain for the Kardinals with a 57-yard run into the end zone by Hull. With the pressure on, the Mariners upped the ante and scored a three-yard touchdown by Homer's Dylan Day and a 2-point conversion to put the Mariners on the board at 8-14.

"After Kenai's second touchdown, we had to keep our composure throughout the whole game. Most other teams would fold over in these situations, but we didn't," said Day, senior running back for the Mariners.


 

Homecoming Queen Sarah D'Water and King Erik Rosencrans circle the field during the halftime parade on Saturday.

The fourth quarter kept the crowds on the edge of their seats as the two teams sustained the stalemate struggle. The clock ticked away as Homer became more and more desperate. With less than four minutes left on the clock, the Mariners were on the fourth down with eight yards to go. Homer's quarterback Robin Glosser made a complete pass to Day in the end zone, tying the score 14-14.

"We knew we had to break down Kenai's defense and that means a lot of passing and chances. Today was go big or go home," said Wyatt.

The overtime action was intense:

The buzzer rings for the end of the fourth quarter and the teams take a short breather before overtime play begins. The rules of high school overtime state each team starts at the 10-yard line and are given four downs to make it to the end zone. The clock does not run, but the play clock is enforced.

Homer starts overtime with the ball in their possession, their offense pushes hard, but Kenai's defense pushes back. The Kardinals tighten their offense for overtime, but hiccup with an interception by Homer's Glosser , and the Mariners and Kardinals enter double overtime.

Not a win against the Kardinals since 1992, and the Mariners are so close to ending that spell they can taste it in their mouth guards. The energy of the crowd begins to roar, concession stand lines clear as the people fill the stadium not to miss what is about to happen next.

In double overtime, the Kardinals attempt a field goal by Wagoner, but it is incomplete, bouncing off the uprights. With the ball in Homer possession now and nerves tight, the odds go against them as the Mariners are given two delayed game penalties costing them five yards a piece.

"We weren't going to let penalties kill ourselves. The whole offensive line worked as a team to make sure of that," said defensive tackle Joey Resetarits.

The stands clear onto the sidelines to cheer on the blue and gold. Even with a 10-yard disadvantage there is no impossible during a homecoming game. Day scores a 10-yard touchdown on a running play for the Mariners and Glosser frosts the icing on the cake with a beautifully executed punt.

Final score 21-14, Homer.

The Mariners, with 17 graduating seniors, are met by a rush from the crowd equipped with hugs and high fives.

"Beating a team of this persona is magical. This is our last home game and we left it on a high note. Now what we have to look forward to is state championships," says Day.

"This is the best I have ever felt in my life. I played my heart out and helped my team beat Kenai," exclaims junior defensive tackle Drew Raymond. Raymond and Resetarits' trench job work and clean blocks were vital to Homer's win according to Wyatt.

On Friday, the Mariners travel to Houston, and after the Northern Lights Conference playoffs begin with semi-finals scheduled for Oct. 14-15 and finals Oct. 21-22. If Kenai beats Soldotna this weekend there will be a three-way first place tie between Homer, Kenai and Soldotna entering the playoffs.

"We have Houston scouted and we know what to expect. After today's game these boys can do anything," said Wyatt.

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