Eagle River no match for Bartlett
Despite 0-3 start, team still remains positive
Eagle River running back Malcolm Bell heads upfield against the Bartlett defense during the Golden Bears’ 48-21 win Aug. 27 at Chugiak’s Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium. Bell finished with 126 yards and two touchdowns for Eagle River, which fell to 0-2 in the Cook Inlet Conference.
STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER
Eagle River has maintained a positive attitude through its first two losses of the season — the same was true in Week 3.
Cook Inlet Conference foe Bartlett defeated the Wolves 48-21 on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium. But Eagle River’s season is far from over, sophomore quarterback Peter Kott said.
“We’re definitely coming up in the ranks,” he said. “Sooner or later we will become a winning team.”
Kott and running back Malcolm Bell had stellar performances for Eagle River. The two factored in 420 of the Wolves’ 433 total yards.
Kott threw for a 193 yards and ran for 101 — both career highs. Kott’s favorite target was again Kelechi Madubuko, who he hit five times for 80 yards.
Bell led the running attack with 126 yards and two touchdowns — including a 51-yard bolt to the end zone.
“Offensively we’re doing great,” Kott said. “We’re driving and eating up yards.”
Kott praised Eagle River’s linemen for providing him time to throw.
“My line, they did a fantastic job,” he said. “They really tried to protect me.
“Our receivers did a fantastic job as well,” Kott said.
Mental mistakes and undisciplined play hurt the Wolves, Bell said.
Bartlett racked up 570 total yards. Trent Anthony led the Golden Bears with 167 rushing yards. Quarterback Treshawn King-Dunbar added 72 on the ground and 137 through the air.
“We weren’t stopping the run,” Bell said. “Our ends weren’t containing.”
After a three-and-out on Eagle River’s opening drive, Wolves defensive back Josh Vanderlooven came up with one of his two fumble recoveries in the game on the ensuing punt to give possession right back to Eagle River. The Wolves again went three-and-out.
Bartlett marched down the field on the ensuing possession for the game’s first score. A 4-yard King-Dunbar run capped off an 11-play, 71-yard drive.
The Golden Bears added a touchdown with 1:49 to play in the opening quarter on an 11-yard scamper by Anthony.
An interception by Bartlett’s Taylor Wells set up the score by putting the Golden Bears at midfield.
Bell cut the lead in half when he exploded for a 51-yard touchdown to start the second quarter.
Bell said he saw a hole and went into an all-out sprint.
“I just turned on the jets and hit it,” he said.
King-Dunbar found the end zone for a second time just over two minutes later on a 4-yard run on fourth down.
Eagle River answered right back.
Kott followed a 24-yard pass to Madubuko and a 20-yarder to Ed Hall with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Javon Cross. Kott’s well-thrown ball to the right corner of the end zone finished a seven-play, 64-yard drive.
The Wolves squandered their chance to make it a one possession game just before the half. After Madubuko came up with an acrobatic grab on a 28-yard pass from Kott, Eagle River fumbled inside the 5-yard line, which Bell recovered beyond the 30-yard line as time expired.
Bartlett added three more touchdowns in the second half to secure the victory, which made head coach John Jessen the winningest coach in Golden Bears history with 79.
Bell’s 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was Eagle River’s lone touchdown of the second half and Bell’s second of the game.
Injury has plagued the already tiny Eagle River roster, head coach Kenny Ray said. Just 24 suited up against Bartlett, and Ray said the team might have even fewer players when it travels to Dimond Alumni Field on Friday at 7 p.m.
“Our kids are playing with a lot of heart,” Ray said. “With 24 kids, doing the things they’re doing, I’d go to battle with them any day.”
Staying composed will be key as the season goes forward, Ray said.
“We still have a shot to win some football games,” he said. “We just need to get disciplined.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 830-6632 or firstname.lastname@example.org