Wolves find their rhythm with win over North Pole
Eagle River’s football personality is beginning to emerge after a 26-13 win over North Pole at the Wolves’ Den.
“We finally started to click as a team,” said Wolves senior Andrew Hamilton, who ran for a 12-yard touchdown and had a key interception during a wild fourth quarter.
Hamilton’s wasn’t the only star performance on both sides of the ball for Eagle River, which got two touchdown runs and several bone-rattling hits from Tim Pennington and a key scramble-and-throw touchdown pass from quarterback LaDavien Simon to RJ Flagg.
The Wolves improved to 1-2 while the Patriots fell to 0-3.
Last year’s Division II runner-up struggled to find its identity in a pair of uneven nonconference losses to start the year. But Hamilton said Saturday’s win was a different story.
“It’s showing more on offense and defense,” he said. “ … everything just flows.”
Hamilton gave Eagle River (1-2 overall, 0-0 Northern Lights Conference) a 7-0 halftime lead at halftime with a 12-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. The score was set up by Simon and Pennington, who hooked up for a 12-yard strike on fourth-and-7 to keep the drive alive.
Simon’s strike to Flagg sparked a frenetic fourth quarter. The junior kept the play alive with his feet before firing a dart to the back of the end zone, where a leaping Flagg hauled in the throw behind the Patriots’ defense.
Two plays into North Pole’s ensuing drive, Hamilton read the eyes of Patriots quarterback Chris Lovett, jumping a slant route to make a diving interception on the North Pole 11-yard line. Pennington did the rest, following a 5-yard run with a 6-yard score that made it 20-0 after North Pole blocked the extra point.
The Patriots responded immediately, with Lovett finding Alex Garcia running up the seam for a 78-yard score on the team’s next play from scrimmage.
The scoring volley continued after an errant Patriots kickoff set the Wolves up at midfield on their next drive. The Wolves marched down the field behind Hamilton and Pennington — whose 9-yard touchdown run capped a 7-play, 52-yard drive.
The Patriots didn’t go softly, with Lovett and Garcia hooking up for a 51-yard strike with 3:16 to play. But that was as close as they’d get, with the Wolves able to run the clock out by running for three first downs on their final drive.
Eagle River coach Brad Myers said his team began to find its rhythm late in the game.
“I think we were finally gelling at the end of the game,” he said.
The Wolves travel to West Valley next week for a Friday night nonconference clash with the Wolfpack before beginning their Northern Lights Conference season Sept. 13 at Kodiak.
Hamilton said he thinks Eagle River’s best days remain in the future.
“We’re not even close to the ceiling yet,” he said.
WOLVES 26, PATRIOTS 13
Saturday, Aug. 31
Eagle River High School
Eagle River 0 7 0 19 — 26
North Pole 0 0 0 13 — 13
ER — Andrew Hamilton 12 run (Hamilton kick), 3:23
ER — RJ Flagg 14 pass from LaDavien Simon (Hamilton kick), 8:24
ER — Tim Pennington 6 run (kick blocked), 6:59
NP — Alex Garcia 78 pass from Chris Lovett (Skyler Denny kick), 6:40
ER — Tim Pennington 9 run (try failed), 3:32
NP — Garcia 51 pass from Lovett (kick blocked), 3:06