KNIK — The Redington Huskies improved to 5-0 and rolled the Nikiski Bulldogs 62-12 behind a dazzling performance from senior running back Jaden Spaulding, who accounted for 40 points by himself.
However, the Huskies found themselves in an unfamiliar place, trailing the Bulldogs early in the game. Nikiski kick returner Dwyght Mullins took the opening kickoff 75 yards down the sideline, setting up a 6-yard touchdown run from quarterback Brady Bostic that gave the Bulldogs the early lead. Redington scored the next 46 points and took a 46-6 lead into halftime.
“Right now the team is able to recover and respond really well even if they are behind. Today the kids did a tremendous job in the first quarter, a long kickoff return and punching it in in the first quarter, that was scary for us,” said head coach Mathias Weinberger. “The kids are just responding. They have confidence in what they are doing, they know exactly who they are, they have an identity. They are doing great and one thing on offense, we have a lot of weapons and we saw that today after [Wayde] Bowman’s really good game last week, Spaulding had a good one today.”
To say that Spaulding had a ‘good one’ is a drastic understatement. The shifty, sturdy running back accounted for 238 yards and scored four times in the first half alone. Following the early scoring drive from Nikiski, the Huskies next drive had two straight scoring plays called back due to penalties. Spaulding ultimately finished the drive with the first of his five touchdowns, running around the end of the offensive line and diving to the corner of the end zone from 19 yards out.
The Bulldogs started their ensuing drive with two straight false start penalties and were unable to convert a first down. After Spaulding’s second touchdown, Dallas Matson added the Huskies third score of the first quarter, stripping the ball from the Nikiski running back and sprinting 50 yards to the end zone. Redington then recovered an onside kick and Spaulding ran into the end zone from 40 yards out, capping a drive that lasted only 1:09.
“I want free college. Free college sounds really nice,” said Spaulding. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without my linemen. If I didn’t have my linemen and my receivers out there throwing blocks for me, I wouldn’t have gotten nowhere.”
Following a 500-yard passing performance from Bowman last week, Spaulding’s legs led the offense for their 50-point homecoming win over Nikiski. A Bowman second quarter pass across the middle of the field was tipped by a Nikiski defender and as receiver Christopher Humphries spun around, the ball fell right into his hands, which then set up a 13-yard pass to Bryce Murdock to give the Huskies a 38-point lead.
As Nikiski punted late in the first half, Spaulding watched the ball bounce in front of him, faking the defenders out as if he were declining to field the punt. Instead, Spaulding picked the ball up and cut back across the field, running 48 yards for his fourth touchdown of the first half. Spaulding finished with five touchdowns, five two-point conversions, and 265 yards of the Huskies 386 yards in total offense.
“Offensively, we are taking what they give us and Nikiski did a good job against the passing game. I mean that’s what you saw, that’s it. We are not forcing the ball into anything. We know exactly where our weapons are. We know where our strengths are,” said Weinberger. “They took some things away that we normally like to do over there, but on the other side they left the running game open and Spaulding but also Wayde Bowman as a quarterback on his feet had a really good day.”
Redington scored on all four offensive drives in the first half, including a touchdown on defense and special teams. Despite the lopsided score, the Bulldogs came out fighting in the second half, chewing up over eight minutes of game clock on their second scoring drive which was capped by a Simon Grenier five-yard touchdown run. In high school football, the mercy rule equivalent is to allow the clock to run in the fourth quarter when a team is ahead by 35 points. Grenier’s score brought the deficit to 34 points, which was quickly extended when Spaulding capped a 1:32 drive with his fifth touchdown, scoring from 20 yards out. Spaulding’s low running style was both too quick and too strong for Bulldog defenders, escaping would-be tacklers only to cut back across the field on numerous occasions. Spaulding averaged over 16 yards per carry.
“The momentum is great, it gets the team going,” said Spaulding. “Winning 62-12 and putting up over 60 points two weeks in a row, it feels great.”
Sophomore defensive back Trevor Bowman picked off a Bostic pass in the fourth quarter, which set up Murdock’s second touchdown on a 58-yard bomb from Bowman to extend the lead to 50 points. In just the seventh year of existence, the Huskies have already clinched a playoff berth this season.
“Our main thing is staying healthy, that is our number one thing. I’m glad that we didn’t have any major injuries this year. We still managed to get away from COVID, that will be the key for the remainder of the season for us,” said Weinberger.
Spaulding finished with 265 yards of total offense, five touchdowns, and converted four two-point conversions. Bowman threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns and added 36 yards rushing. Murdock caught four passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The Husky defense held Nikiski to just 160 yards of total offense. Redington will travel to Homer to face the Mariners next week.
Redington 62, Nikiski 12.
Nikiski Bostic 6 yd run (2pt failed) 8:17
Redington Spaulding 19 yd run (Spaulding 2pt) 6:15
Redington — Dallas Matson 50 yd fumble recovery (Spaulding 2pt) 0: 8.5
Redington — Spaulding 40 yd run (Vargas-Gutierres 2pt) 10:59
Redington — Murdock 13 yd pass from Bowman (2pt failed) 4:44
Redington — Spaulding 48 yd punt return (Bowman 2pt) 1:52
Nikiski Grenier 5 yd td run (2pt failed) 3:44
Redington Spaulding 20 yd run (Spaulding 2pt) 2:06
Redington — Murdock 58 yd pass from Bowman (Spaulding 2pt) 8:35
Rushing: Nikiski — Bostic 4-1, Grenier 9-36, Hemphill 13-33, McCaughey 12-22, Mullins 2- -1. Redington — Bowman 3-36, Spaulding 10-162, Vargas-Gutierres 4-14.
Passing: Nikiski — Bostic 5-11-1--67. Redington — Bowman 8-15-0–174.
Receiving: Nikiski — Grenier 2-20, Porter 1-32, McCaughey 2-15. Redington — Seymore 1-17, Spaulding 2-55, Murdock 4-88, Humphreys 1-14.