The Dimond Lynx used a punishing running game, headlined by junior running back David Tautua and his three touchdowns, and a defense that was both smothering and opportunistic to notch a 36-0 shutout over the Kodiak Bears in a nonconference football game Saturday at Dimond Alumni Field.
With the win, the Lynx matched their win total from last year’s 1-6 season.
The season-opening game marked an on-field turning of the page for the Lynx after a tumultuous season tarnished by sexual assault allegations against an undisclosed number of Dimond students stemming from the football team’s road trip to Fairbanks last August.
Three coaches were fired, including head coach Bernardo Otero. Steve Odom, the new head coach, served as an assistant for four years before taking charge this year.
“I’m so glad that administration believed in me to lead this program, and I will do all I can to make sure we do it the right way,” Odom said.
Dimond is a Division I team and Kodiak is a Division II team and neither had much depth, so both had several players playing both ways, as well as on special teams.
The Lynx dominated the line of scrimmage to pile up 268 rushing yards on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.
The offensive line paved the way for Tautua to run for a game-high 160 yards. As bullish as the line was at the point of attack when opening up rush lanes, Tautua did amazing work in the open field once he got past Kodiak’s defensive line.
“David came out, and he showed what his hard work (in practice) will do for him,” Odom said. “He ran hard, played within himself, and I think going forward we have a lot to look forward to with this guy."
Tautau showed off his shiftiness with violent cuts inside and out, and he used an effective stiff-arm to leave defenders eating turf in his wake. His longest play of the game came after he caught a swing pass from senior Ryan Henrickson, broke a few arm tackles and ran up the right sideline for a 51-yard touchdown. Tuatua’s other scoring plays came on short rushes 3 yards and 1 yard out.
“I’m truly blessed that my O-line opened holes for me,” Tautua said. “I couldn’t have done it without them; it’s a team sport and I can’t do it myself.”
Dimond was far from perfect though. The quarterback and center exchange was sloppy at times and could have put Kodiak in good field position if Henrickson hadn’t fallen on three snaps from senior Adrian Isumu that sailed over the 5-foot-8 quarterback’s head.
“I told the kids to enjoy the victory for the night until Monday. After that we’re back at square one again,” Odom said. “We can’t get satisfied with just having a victory over a team that wasn’t as deep as ours or maybe not as talented, but at the same time it's not a bust.”
Kodiak coach Bryan Ellsworth wasn’t happy with the end result but was pleased by his team’s effort.
“I’m proud of them for the way that they did not quit the game,” he said. “We don’t quit, and no matter what the scoreboard says we’re going to keep playing football.”
East 44, Colony 16
Soldotna 49, West 6
Service 58, Juneau 42
Chugiak 26, Palmer 2
Wasilla 39, West Valley 32
Eielson 32, North Pole 12
Monroe 44, Seward 38 OT
Redington 30, Nikiski 12
Barrow 42, Ketchikan 16
Houston 47, Valdez 0
Dimond 36, Kodiak 0
Kenai 28, Homer 14
Lathrop 42, Eagle River 14
South 37, Bartlett 0