WASILLA — Moo Rogers has garnered most of the attention for North Pole this season. But Friday, a couple of other Patriots helped North Pole squash a Wasilla rivalry and stay unbeaten in the Railbelt Conference.
Matt Wentland rumbled for a game-high 280 yards rushing and Nathan Angel-Huntington returned a pivotal kickoff return for a touchdown to help the Pats outlast the Warriors 46-27 at Veterans Memorial Field in Wasilla on Friday night.
“Matthew Wentland is the real deal,” North Pole head coach Richard Henert said of the back who carried the ball 32 times and scored twice.
“He’s a 200-plus-pound back. It’s nice to see him have that type of game, and it’s nice for us. It makes the opponent look for another runner besides Moo.”
Rogers did have another fine night, finishing with more than 300 yards of total offense. Rogers eclipsed the 1,000-yard passing mark for the second straight season, with 219 yards Friday. He also tossed a pair of touchdown scores, including a 71-yarder to Lance Wright in the first quarter.
But in addition to the mass yardage gained by Wentland and Rogers, a special teams score could have been the play of the day for the Patriots.
With the Warriors building momentum in the third quarter, Angel-Huntington took a kickoff and sped up the middle of the field, returning the kick 60 yards for a touchdown.
His score came just 11 seconds after Wasilla had posted its second touchdown on back-to-back possessions.
“It was a great play. It was one of those plays that comes from a guy who is not a regular starter. It’s a great moment to highlight a guy and say, that’s why we have all those bodies on the field. You never know who’s going to make the big play,” Henert said.
The teams combined for six touchdowns in the third quarter as Wasilla tried to erase an early four-touchdown deficit.
With the win, North Pole stays undefeated at 3-0 in conference and 5-0 overall. It also keeps the Patriots even with the Palmer Moose (3-0, 5-0), who scored a lopsided 41-14 win over the Colony Knights Friday at Colony High in Palmer.
Palmer and North Pole meet at 7 p.m. next Friday at Patriot Pride Field in North Pole.