Mariners roll over Seward in Peninsula Conference opener
SEWARD - Homer head coach Walter Love didn't think his team's overall offensive performance Saturday on a muddy Steinbrecher Field in Seward was a work of art. In fact, he wasn't overly thrilled with the team's 45-0 victory over rival Seward in their Peninsula Conference opener.
Then again, not every game has to be a masterpiece — especially when the defense plays the way it did.
Despite a sluggish outing, Homer forced four turnovers on the defensive side of the ball— including a 21-yard fumble return that all but sealed the win early on - and cruised to a 45-0 romp over the Seahawks. As a team, the Mariner defense limited Seward to 53 total yards from scrimmage.
"Every practice we go through I ask the kids to write a check," said Love. "They (the offense) know they have some payments to make in practice. They know this is a much better team than how we showed today."
With the victory, Homer improved to 4-1 for the season and, more importantly, kicked off its Peninsula Conference schedule on a high note. Seward, the defending conference champion, slipped to 1-4.
After watching the offense punt away its first possession, the Mariner defense came up huge. Noah Fisk sacked Seward quarterback Chris Kingsland for an 11-yard loss on a second-down play and forced the Seahawks into a third-and-long situation. One play later, Wells wrapped up Brandon Lynch at the line of scrimmage and forced Seward to punt from its own end zone.
Homer caught a break from there. Derek Harshman shanked the Seahawks' punt, sending it out of bounds at the Seward 29.
Teddy Croft made sure the Mariner offense didn't waste the opportunity. He quickly engineered a five-play drive that put Homer on top. After being dropped for a 1-yard loss on the first play, Croft kicked the HHS offense into gear by connecting with a Justin Sumption for a 13-yard gain to the SHS 12. Following a short run by Jack Heimbold that took the ball to the Seahawk 8, Croft finished off the march by taking the snap from center and scampering around the right end for a touchdown.
Croft's TD, which came with 1:51 left in the opening frame, staked Homer to a 6-0 lead.
The Mariner defense - with help from a penalty-prone SHS offense - put Seward in an even deeper hole just over 1 minute later.
After the Seahawks had taken their ensuing kick at their own 36, they quickly hurt themselves. Back-to-back penalties moved the ball back to the Seward 21. Three plays later, Noah Fisk managed to hit and strip Kingsland of the ball in the backfield. Wells scooped up the ball at the Seahawk 21 and rambled into the end zone for a 12-0 lead.
Wells' fumble return came with just 40 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.
The Homer defense played havoc with Seward again — setting up the team's third touchdown by forcing a fumble on a punting attempt just 1:48 into the second. After Homer had recovered the fumbled snap at the Seward 28, the Seahawks were hit with a 15-yard penalty which moved the ball to the Seward 13.
Croft made quick work of the defense's second gift. He took the snap and raced 13 yards around the left side for a 19-0 cushion.
The Mariners all but iced the victory just seconds into the second half. Sumption picked up a short kick by the Seahawks and then danced 60 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
Sumption's kickoff return built Homer's lead to 26-0.
Seward staged its biggest threat at ending Homer's shutout bid on its ensuing possession. The Seahawks rode the legs of running back Beau Freiberg to the Mariner 12 before the HHS squad stiffened. Fisk and Joe Ravin managed to bring down Freiberg for a 2-yard loss on a 4th-and-8 play.
The Mariners, who amassed just 98 total yards of offense in the first half, got its offense in gear from there. After taking the ball over on downs, Croft and Heimbold led Homer on a 6-play, 86-yard march that ballooned the HHS lead to 32-0.
Fisk sparked the Mariner offense early in the drive by reeling off an 11-yard gain. On the next snap, Croft put Seward on its heels by lofting a 27-yard pass play to Ravin. Croft and Fisk followed with runs of 18 and 14 yards and moved the Mariners to the SHS 13. Heimbold finished the drive from there, powering his way up the middle before diving into the end zone.
Homer's third rushing TD came with 3:07 left in the third.
Senior running back Sean Love opened a 13-0 fourth-quarter barrage by capping a 6-play, 50-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge. Love's TD staked Homer to a 38-0 advantage with 10:01 left to play.
The Mariner special teams added to Seward's misery seconds later by getting into the turnover-causing parade. Fisk recovered a fumbled ball during the ensuing kickoff, giving the HHS offense the ball at the Seahawk 35.
Homer needed just four plays to convert the miscue into points. Croft finished the short-35-yard drive with a six-yard scoring pass to Ravin.
Homer will return to action this weekend when they host Nikiski. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Homer 45, Seward 0
Scores by Quarters
Homer 12 7 13 13 - 45
Seward 0 0 0 0 - 0
H - Teddy Croft 8 run (kick failed)
H - Kyle Wells 21 fumble return (kick failed)
H - Croft 13 run (Cody Johnson kick)
H - Justin Sumption 60 kickoff return (Johnson kick)
H - Jack Heimbold 13 run (run failed)
H - Sean Love 2 run (kick failed)
H - Joe Ravin 6 pass from Croft (Johnson kick)
Rushing - Seward: Beau Freiberg 11-59, Brandon Lynch 9-24, Shayne Sullivan 9-6, Derek Harshman 1-(minus 9), Chris Kingsland 4-(minus 24). Homer: Teddy Croft 10-63, Noah Fisk 5-40, Jack Heimbold 11-32, Joe Ravin 1-8, Sean Love 2-7, Kyle Wells 1-3.
Passing - Seward: Chris Kingsland 0-1-0-0, Beau Freiberg 0-1-1-0. Homer: Teddy Croft 6-12-0-95, Jack Heimbold 2-3-0-19.
Receiving - Seward: None. Homer: Joe Ravin 3-54, Noah Fisk 1-23, Teddy Croft 2-19, Jack Heimbold 2-14, Justin Sumption 1-13.