FAIRBANKS — The Nikiski Bulldogs built on a 15-0 lead in the first quarter, powering their way to a 49-0 win over the Monroe Catholic Rams in Saturday afternoon’s Greatland Conference high school football game at Kiwanis Field.
The Bulldogs, last year’s small schools state champion, improved to 3-1 conference and 5-2 overall to secure second place and a home playoff game during the weekend of Oct. 5-6. The Rams, at 2-2 Greatland and 3-3 overall, are tied for third place with the Barrow Whalers (2-2, 4-2).
If Monroe wins in Friday’s regular-season finale at Seward, it would return to the Kenai Peninsula the following week to face Nikiski in a semifinal of the small schools state tournament.
Should Monroe face Nikiski again, Saturday’s shutout will probably be fresh on the Rams’ minds.
The Bulldogs rattled off 341 yards rushing compared to the Rams’ 33 on their home field.
Stephen Hartley sparked Nikiski with 19 carries for 215 yards with two touchdowns. Christian Riddall scored twice while rushing for 73 yards on four carries and Tristian Apted contributed a touchdown run among his eight carries for 48 yards.
Riddall also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass and Apted had two catches for 29 yards.
Hartley and Riddall also each intercepted Rams quarterback Tyler Wells, who completed six of 17 passes for 77 yards. Monroe held the Bulldogs to 37 yards passing on 3 of 4 attempts.
Dylan Gavora led the Rams in rushing with 56 yards on 18 carries and Ethan Eidenmiller caught two passes for 18 yards.
Monroe fumbled four times, losing three, but the Rams recovered both of Nikiski’s fumbles.