ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The small-schools championship football game Saturday was a rematch of last year’s final, in which the Kenai Kardinals upset the undefeated Soldotna Stars -- who were again undefeated this year.
Soldotna’s tricky run game paid immediate dividends in the first quarter, with Robbie Smithwick beating everyone to the outside for a 30-yard touchdown romp and putting the Stars on the board 7-0.
The Kardinals’ Colton Hayes had a quick answer, tossing to A.J. Hull to even the score. But on the ensuing kickoff, the Stars’ Auston Tennis took the ball on a 78-yard trip straight back to the Kardinals’ end zone to keep Soldotna in front 14-7.
In what proved to be a wild first quarter, Hayes again sent the ball to Hull, the 35-yard hookup landing inside the 10-yard line. A few plays later Tyler Glidden plunged across the line, tying the game again at 14.
By the second quarter, Soldotna’s ground game was wearing down the Kenai defense, with Smithwick tacking on 50 yards and six points as Soldotna amassed a 34-14 lead -- but for the Stars, the sky was the limit.
A wave of points saw Tennis score another touchdown from the eight-yard line and rack up more than 300 yards on the day, as Soldotna ran away with the small-schools title on a final score of 77-42.
Contact Charlie Sokaitis at firstname.lastname@example.org