North Pole dropped down a classification for football this season, but the Patriots came up big Saturday in their season-opening game.
The Patriots, who moved from the large-school Railbelt Conference to the medium-school Southeast Conference, dominated Eagle River 40-8 in a nonconference game in North Pole.
North Pole held Eagle River to two yards total offense — the Wolves had 15 passing yards and minus-13 rushing yards.
The Wolves, a large-school team in the Cook Inlet Conference, didn’t reach the end zone until the final three minutes of the game, when quarterback Pete Kott connected with Alani Collins for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
“Offense has been what this team has been about the last couple years,” North Pole coach Richard Henert told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “Defensively to be able to hold them ... was awesome.”
The offense did its part too. After Eagle River went three-and-out on its first drive, North Pole put together an efficient, five-play touchdown drive, capped by Brady Crane’s three-yard run up the middle.
More efficient was North Pole’s next possession, a three-play drive that ended with a 65-yard sweep by Tyler Betts.
Betts and Crane eached rushed for another touchdown for the Patriots, and wide receivers Lance Wright and Khalil Steward both collected touchdown passes from Mitchell Martinez.
Eagle River 0 0 0 8 — 8
North Pole 14 7 12 7 — 40
North Pole—Crane 18 run (Crane kick)
North Pole—Betts 1 run (Cranke kick)
North Pole—Steward 81 pass from Martinez (Crane kick).
North Pole—Crane 18 run (run failed).
North Pole—Betts 1 run (kick blocked).
North Pole—Wright 5 pass from Martinez (kick).
Eagle River—Collins 11 pass from Kott (Roth pass from Metzel).
Eagle River North Pole
First downs 5 14
Rushes-yards 29- (-13) 32-190
Comp-Att-Int 5-11-1 10-18-2
Passing yards 15 164
Punts 7-35 2-38
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 6-1
Penalties-Yards 9-60 18-145
RUSHING — Eagle River: Hall 9-20, Banks 1-6, Horton 1-2, Kott 11-(-2), Collins 8-(-39). North Pole: Betts 4-81, Crane 6-60, Best 8-45, Sommer 3-17, Steward 1-14, Wright 1-9, Innes 1-(-8), Martinez 8-(-28).
PASSING — Eagle River: Kott 2-8-1-16, Collins 2-2-0-(-3), Metzel 1-1-0-2. North Pole: Martinez 10-17-2-164, Sommers 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Eagle River: Collins 1-20, Roth 1-2, Lestochi 1-0, Kott 1-(-3), Hall (-4). North Pole: Wright 3-68, Steward 3-55,Hursh 3-26, Copeland 2-13.