FAIRBANKS — The Nikiski Bulldogs tuned up for next weekend’s state small schools playoffs by overwhelming the Barrow Whalers 57-0 in Saturday’s regular season-ending and Greatland Conference game in Nikiski.
The Bulldogs (4-1 Greatland, 6-2 overall) generated 427 yards rushing, led by Stephen Hartley with 14 carries for 227 yards and five touchdowns, including four rushing. Hartley scored all three touchdowns in the first quarter, with a 79-yard kickoff return and runs of 6 and 7 yards. He added a 55-yard scoring run in the second and 21-yard TD dash in the third.
Christian Riddall contributed TD runs of 7 yards in the second quarter and 35 yards in the fourth while rushing 11 times for 127 yards. Bulldogs quarterback Seth Carstens scored on a 1-yard run in the second.
Barrow (2-3, 4-3) was held to minus 8 yards in total rushing and senior quarterback James Snow passed for 69 yards on six of 23 completions. Taylor Masterson caught 3 passes for 29 yards and Jesse Sanchez led the Whalers in rushing with 15 carries for 26 yards.
Barrow, which finished in fourth place, faces the first-place Eielson Ravens (5-0, 8-0) in a small schools state semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at Buck Nystrom Field on Eielson Air Force Base. Second-place Nikiski plays host to third-place Monroe Catholic (3-2, 4-3), but the time and date of their game hasn’t yet been set.
The semifinal winners play for the state title at Chugiak High School during the weekend of Oct. 12-13.