Lethal offense — check. Turnover-seizing defense — check. Special-teams superiority — check.
Top-ranked Colony High ruled on every front Thursday night, when it dismantled fifth-ranked West, 46-15, in a nonconference football game to spoil the Eagles' homecoming and improve to 4-0.
The Knights rushed for 316 yards and their lone pass proved prolific — Parker Kizer connected with Julian McPhail on a 50-yard touchdown bomb to open the scoring. Their defense forced five turnovers and Jon Pomrenke turned one of their four interceptions into a 53-yard return for a touchdown. And kicker Noah Krozel converted all five of his extra points, nailed a 27-yard field goal, furnished touchbacks on five on his eight kickoffs and drove his three other kickoffs, respectively, twice to the 1-yard line and once to the 2.
"We executed very well on offense, we executed on defense and on special teams, which is 33 percent of the game," said Colony coach Rhett Magner. "So, we were able to capitalize on all phases."
About the only downside for the Palmer-based Knights of the Railbelt Conference was an ankle injury to Pomrenke, who was hurt just before halftime — he rushed eight times for 79 yards in the first half — and sat out the the second half as a precaution. Colony didn't really need him — it led 35-7 at intermission.
Division I West of the Cook Inlet Conference dropped to 1-3, though, granted, it has faced a difficult schedule coach Tim Davis believes will serve it well the rest of the way. The Eagles lost their season opener to mighty Soldotna, which is ranked No. 1 in Division II and is the five-time defending champion in the second of Alaska football's three tiers; won at Lathrop in Fairbanks; lost their conference opener to current Division I No. 2 Bartlett; and fell to Division I No. 1 Colony.
"There's no excuses," Davis said. "Our kids are growing and they're getting better. I liked our demeanor on the sideline better than last week (against Bartlett). Can you keep creating that energy and emotion? We're going to get better."
Magner had no doubt.
"West always comes alive at the end of the season," Magner said. "That'll be a playoff team."
West last season started 2-2, then advanced to the state championship game, where it fell to East.
Thursday night, though, belonged to the Knights. They scored on their first three possessions and racked 213 yards total offense in the first quarter alone. Pomrenke and defensive end Kaleb Reaves snagged first-half interceptions — Reaves' came after 6-foot-7 defensive end Jarek Schultz batted down a Qyntyn Pilcher pass.
"It was pretty much what we planned to do — force turnovers and put pressure on the quarterback," Pomrenke said.
West rushed the ball effectively — 303 yards on 47 carries — and Davis couldn't recall his team rushing so well and losing by such a big spread. Savon Bell carried 22 times for 135 yards and a touchdown, and Pilcher parlayed 16 rushes into 111 yards and one touchdown.
But Kizer and company were effective too. Kizer rushed 10 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns, and Kaiden Jimenez turned 17 carries in 86 yards and one touchdown.
And Colony's defense pounced often. McPhail picked off a fourth-quarter pass in the end zone and Jake Hessinger also snared a second-half interception. Jarrett Villastrigo delivered one and a half sacks in the first half — he and Schultz shared a sack — and recovered a fumble in the second half. The Knights limited Eagles wide receiver A.J. Su'esu'e, who had 20 catches in West's first three games, to two catches for three yards.
Krozel's kickoffs were so deep, and Colony's kickoff coverage so solid, that West's average drive after receiving kickoffs started on its 19.
"It's vital," Magner said of Krozel's kickoffs. "We talked a lot in our meetings about it this week — we've got to pin them as deep as we can."
Pomrenke said he took Colony's 28-21 loss to West last year in the first round of the playoffs personally, and he and his teammates aim to go deeper this time around.
"We have one goal in mind and everyone knows what it is," Pomrenke said.
Colony 14 21 11 0 — 46
West 7 0 0 8 — 15
Colony — McPhail 50 pass from Kizer (Krozel kick), 7:44.
Colony — Kizer 36 run (Krozel kick), 4:37.
West — Pilcher 2 run (Harjehausen kick), 3:14.
Colony — Jones 1 run (Krozel kick), 11:40.
Colony — Pomrenke 53 interception return (Krozel kick), 9:50.
Colony — Jimenez 4 run (Krozel kick), 1:40.
Colony — Kizer 9 run (Kizer run), 8:53.
Colony — 27 FG Krozel, 1:51.
West — Bell 1 run (Montalbo pass from Mendoza), 10:21.
RUSHING — Colony: Jimenez 17-86, Pomrenke 8-79, Kizer 10-73, Hessinger 7-43, Leavitt 5-19, Christy 2-10, Gamble 1-6. West: Bell 22-135, Pilcher 16-111, Mendoza 8-49, Martinez 1-8.
PASSING — Colony: Kizer 1-1-0–50. West: Pilcher 8-16-3—44, Mendoza 2-5-1–25 .
RECEIVING — Colony: McPhail 1-50. West: Harjehausen 3-31, No. 3 2-29, Bell 2-4, Su'esu'e 2-3, Sims 1-7.