KNIK — The Redington Huskies secured the top seed in the Division III football playoffs with their first win over Houston in school history, defeating the Hawks 40-6 on Friday night at Redington Jr./Sr. High School.
The Huskies were led on offense by seniors in the backfield. Quarterback Wayde Bowman and running back Jaden Spaulding both accounted for over 200 yards individually and the Redington defense forced four turnovers. Redington has their sights set firmly on the Division III State Title, capping a season in which the Huskies won every game they played and outscored opponents 197-24 coming into Friday night’s game.
“It’s a new school, it’s never been done before, feels great. Jobs not finished though, on to the next week,” said Bowman.
Both teams started the game with deception on special teams. Houston was called for a false start on the opening kickoff where they had attempted an onside kick. After moving back five yards, the kickoff was fielded by Dallas Mattson, who then pitched a lateral to Spaulding, who sprinted up the sideline to give the Huskies their first offensive possession at the Houston 43 yard line. Just a few plays later, Houston defensive back Eric Preboski intercepted Bowman’s pass. Bowman was intercepted three times in the first half by Houston defenders.
“We said we’re going to try out those matchups. It’s likely that we might see Houston again this year,” said Redington head coach Mathias Weinberger. “They have a couple of tall players so they are matching up pretty well with us. We haven’t had that with our opponents, from time to time they didn’t match up the same way and we knew we just needed to try it out also in case we face them again over there and that’s what we did and like I said their kids made a couple really great plays on us and hats off to them. Defensively they did a tremendous job in the first half.”
The Hawks had success on defense, but struggled to convert forced turnovers into points. Bowman benefited from two miraculous catches on Redington’s second drive. On a fake punt, Bowman found Spaulding to convert the first down. Later in the drive, a pass tipped off Spaulding into the hands of senior wide receiver Logan Seymore. Seymore later leapt above a Houston defender to catch a four-yard touchdown pass, culminating the drive.
“Our guys just did a good job in the second half just shifting it to the second gear which we were able to do normally earlier in the game but Houston is a good football team and that’s the bottom line. It took us a really long time to get into that game and we took care of business. It’s great to have the first victory against Houston over there and from now on, we focus on the next week because we’re going to have a playoff game next week,” said Weinberger.
After scoring the game’s first touchdown late in the first quarter, the Redington defense stripped the Houston ball carrier of the football for a fumble on the very first play of Houston’s second drive. Spaulding capped that drive with a 19-yard touchdown run and the Huskies led 16-0 at half, their smallest lead at half of any game this year. After a shaky first half, Bowman found his groove in the second half. Redington began the second half with Wayde Bowman found his little brother, sophomore wide receiver Trevor Bowman downfield for a pass. Trevor Bowman put moves on two defenders and found the end zone from 34 yards out. Wayde Bowman finished the game going 11-23 with 221 yards through the air to go along with 42 yards on the ground.
Spaulding led all rushers with 123 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 carries. After taking a breather due to a minor injury, Spaulding returned and sprinted towards the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. Spaulding would add another two touchdowns and accounted for 34 points with an additional 75 yards on two catches.
“It feels great. We’ve never beat Houston before, 7-0, like never had that pop warner, nothing. It’s unreal,” said Spaulding. “Overall we just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”
While Houston’s defensive backs were able to force three turnovers in the first half, Redington forced three turnovers in the second half. Senior lineman Mason Brouillet stripped the Houston running back and returned a fumble 42 yards to set up the Bowman to Bowman touchdown pass. Houston struggled mightily to gain any yards on the ground in the second half, but ran a halfback pass from running back Noah Whitted who connected with Preboski on a 43-yard pass late in the third quarter. Houston ran the same halfback pass play on three consecutive downs, with the third pass falling into the hands of Seymore for an interception.
“Our defensive game was tremendous today. We forced a lot of turnovers and yeah that was the key,” said Weinberger.
Houston was able to stop the running clock and add a score with under a minute left in the game on a nine-yard pass from quarterback Colton Bunn to Preboski. Houston gained just 147 yards of total offense on 47 plays while Redington gained 382 yards on 44 plays. Trenton Hawes was the Hawks’ leading rusher with 38 yards on seven carries. Seymore was the Huskies leading receiver with 80 yards on five catches. Both teams will move on to the Division III state playoffs next weekend with Redington hosting Kenai and Houston traveling to Monroe Catholic for first round games.
Redington 40, Houston 6.
3:49 Seymore 4 yard pass from Bowman (Spaulding 2 point conversion). 8-0
11:43 Spaulding 19 yard run (Spaulding 2 point conversion) 16-0.
8:32 Bowman 34 yard pass from Bowman 22-0.
7:11 Spaulding 55 yard run 28-0.
1:16 Spaulding 9 yard run 34-0.
8:29 Spaulding 11 yard run 40-0.
:40 Preboski 9 yard pass from Bunn 40-6.
Rushing: Houston — Bunn 5 — 17, Hawes 7 — 38, Kolb 8 — 11, Kudryn 1 — -1, Nicoll 1 — 0, Whitted 7 — 3, Wyrick 2 — -3.
Redington — Wayde Bowman 9 — 42, Horsman 1 — 1, Spaulding 10 — 123, Vargas-Gutierres 1 — -3.
Passing: Houston — Bunn 4 — 13 — 1 — 0 — 42 yards. Whitted 1 — 3 — 0 — 1 — 43 yards.
Redington — Bowman 11 — 23 — 2 — 3 — 221 yards.
Receiving: Houston — Preboski 4 — 79, Cork 1 — 6.
Redington — Trevor Bowman 2 — 42, Murdock 2 — 24, Seymore 5-80, Spaulding 2 — 75.