North Pole senior Kaden Bostwick had never experienced what it was like to beat the West Valley Wolfpack in football. No one on North Pole’s roster had.
After Friday night, however, every Patriot from top to bottom knew what it felt like to win the Golden Heart Trophy.
Camren Hyson rushed for 133 yards on just nine carries, Devon Clark accounted for four touchdowns, and the North Pole Patriots finally beat the West Valley Wolfpack with a 52-13 domination on West Valley’s home turf. North Pole has yet to lose a game this season (3-0).
It wasn’t just that North Pole hadn’t beaten West Valley in years that made this addition of the Golden Heart Bowl so special. North Pole has had an exceptionally emotional few weeks.
Former North Pole team captain Isaiah Harding passed away just before the Pats’ second game of the season, a 36-0 victory over Kenai. Then, NPHS had a player test positive for Covid, forcing them to cancel their game against Eagle River.
As a result of the positive test and contact tracing, North Pole had to postpone their game against Lathrop the following week. The week after that, the Patriots’ game against Kodiak was postponed because of two positive cases on Kodiak’s team. By the time Friday night rolled around, the Pats hadn’t played in nearly a month.
They sure didn’t look like it on Friday, though.
“We could not wait to get back onto the field tonight,” said Bostwick. “It felt fantastic. We’ve been ready for this so it’s just great to get back to it.”
It was a strange game early on as Logen Bellmay returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown after initially muffing it, but the TD was called back due to a penalty. West Valley ended up being the first team on the board thanks to a 45-yard touchdown pass from Devin Brandon to Kobe Amio to make it 7-0.
North Pole was able to take the lead early in the second quarter thanks to a 42-yard touchdown pass from Clark to Jesse VanReenan-Orrison. The 2-point conversion was good and the Patriots went up 8-0.
Both defenses were lights out for much of the first half with Bostwick leading the way for the Patriots. North Pole did manage one more touchdown with just 1:44 until halftime after a 36-yard scoring pass from Clark to Collin Drumhiller. That made it 14-7 NPHS at halftime.
The second half, however, belonged to the Patriots.
Clark scored on a 17-yard touchdown run to make it 22-7 before West Valley answered with a 27-yard sliding touchdown grab from Amio on a pass from Brandon. That made it 22-13, but West Valley wouldn’t score again the rest of the way.
After a 19 yard run by Nic Clark, Hyson took off for a 49-yard touchdown run to make it 30-13 North Pole.
Early in the fourth quarter, Marcus Lipari scored on a 20-yard touchdown run for the Pats to push the score to 38-13. North Pole then attempted and recovered an onside kick and while they didn’t end up scoring, they put West Valley in poor field position. That helped North Pole later record a five-yard touchdown pass between Clark and Logan Bellmay to stretch the lead to 46-13.
For some reason, the Patriots kicked and recovered the onside kick again with only a minute and a half remaining. Bellamy ended up scoring another touchdown run as the clock ran out to give the Pats 52 points.
North Pole will face their toughest challenge yet next week when they play Lathrop on Thursday at 6 p.m. West Valley will host Kodiak on Friday at 7 p.m.