Eagle River football earns first win of season

Wolves down West Valley for homecoming


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Eagle River quarterback Peter Kott pitches the ball to Ed Hall just before being tackled during the Wolves’ homecoming game against West Valley on Saturday, Sept. 8. Eagle River won 26-17, the team’s first outright victory since the 2010 season.

MIKE NESPER

Eagle River football racked up 26 first-half points to defeat visiting West Valley 26-17 at its homecoming game Saturday, Sept. 8. Excluding last year’s win over Chugiak — a game the Mustangs won but had to forfeit due to use of an ineligible player — Saturday marked Eagle River’s first victory since beating Lathrop in 2010 at the first game played on the Wolves’ own turf.

“I’m extremely happy for these seniors,” Eagle River head coach Jason Brewer said. “They deserve it.”

The Wolves (1-4 overall, 0-4 CIC) have been improving all season, but the score hasn’t been in their favor — until Saturday — senior Jachi Madubuko said.

“The scoreboard finally showed all the hard work we put in,” he said.

After a three-and-out to start the game, Eagle River took advantage of an early West Valley turnover.

A fumble on a pitch from quarterback Larenzo Graham to Dominick Anderson put Eagle River at West Valley’s own 21-yard line.

Six plays later, Peter Kott scored on a 7-yard run. Kott — who played his full game since suffering a foot injury in the first half of Week 1 — kept the drive alive with a 7-yard pass to Corbin Duxbury on fourth-and-four two plays before his touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Eagle River’s Isaiah Banks recovered an onside kick to set the Wolves up on West Valley’s 40.

Brewer said the decision to attempt an onside kick early in the game stemmed from Eagle River’s motto for the week: be aggressive.

“We’re tired of taking,” he said.

A 36-yard pass from Kott to Jeavonte Dunn set up an Ed Hall 3-yard score to put Eagle River up 12-0 in the first. Hall finished with 104 yards on 16 carries.

With pressure from West Valley’s Lars Evanger, Kott found Madubuko open for a 33-yard touchdown pass four minutes into the second quarter.

Banks took a 75-yard punt return to the house as time expired to put Eagle River up 26-0 at the half.

“We came out in the first half and just dominated,” Banks said.

Execution and Eagle River’s no-huddle offense caught the Wolfpack off guard early on, Brewer said.

West Valley started charging in the third quarter. After scoring their second touchdown of the quarter, the Wolfpack recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to take over at Eagle River’s 20-yard line.

But the Wolves’ defense kept West Valley from reaching the end zone and forced the Wolfpack to settle for a 26-yard field goal with 8:51 to play.

West Valley never scored again.

With the momentum in West Valley’s favor, Banks said Brewer told the Wolves not to hang their heads.

“That’s what we did,” he said. “We played hard to the finish.”

Eagle River’s strong fourth-quarter response to 17 unanswered West Valley points is as good an indicator of the Wolves’ progress this season as the final score, Brewer said.

“Our kids are getting more mentally tough,” he said.

Reps. Anna Fairclough and Bill Stoltze and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell helped dedicate Eagle River’s new bleachers during halftime. Seating for about 400 was installed last week thanks to a $130,000 grant approved by the Legislature last year.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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