The senior wide receiver hauled in a 21-yard touchdown reception with no time left on the clock, ending Kodiak’s two-game losing skid with a stunning 20-19 come-from-behind Northern Lights Conference football victory at Kenai.
It was Sorto’s fourth touchdown catch of the season, and it pushed Kodiak to 2-0 in the NLC, 3-2 overall.
“We just believed, at least I believed. I’m sure the players believed as well,” Kodiak coach Jim Schnick said. “We had the right play called. The quarterback stepped up and made a great throw and Fredy came up with the play of the day. He just went up and took it out of the air.”
Down 19-14, Kodiak started its final drive with 48 seconds left and 58 yards away from the end zone.
Two pass plays to Ruben Amodo set Kodiak up at Kenai’s 21 with 3.4 seconds left.
On the final play, quarterback Josh Yavorsky aired it out in Sorto’s direction at the one-yard line, and the senior found a way to come down with the ball and fall into the end zone despite being covered by a Kenai defender.
“I was really happy. I couldn’t even explain it. I was speechless,” said Sorto, who ended the game with three catches. “We only won by one point. It was pretty crazy.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to catch it, because I had a defender on me. I went up, caught it and turned around in the end zone.”
Last season, Sorto caught a game-tying touchdown against Skyview during a game Kodiak eventually won in overtime.
He said Saturday’s catch topped that one.
“By far,” Sorto said. “It is really big. We haven’t beat Kenai in awhile. It is pretty exciting.”
The win — Kodiak’s first against Kenai since 2008 — moves the Bears into second place in the NLC, behind only Soldotna (3-0, 4-1). Kenai dropped to 0-2 in the NLC and 0-5 overall.
Kodiak debuts its new artificial turf field Saturday against Soldotna at Joe Floyd Track and Field.
This one-point victory comes after Kodiak’s 14-13 loss at Thunder Mountain last week.
“This win is huge for so many reasons,” Schnick said. “We end a losing streak, we got a road win against a conference opponent, which is always tough, and we have a big game next week. Our confidence should be pretty high right now.”
Kenai led 13-7 at halftime and 19-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Kodiak pulled to within 19-14 when Yavorsky capped a 94-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring run — his second rushing touchdown of the game — just minutes into the fourth.
Kodiak’s next two possessions resulted in failed fourth down attempts in Kenai territory.
The second drive gave Kenai the ball with just 2:47 left. The Kardinals picked up one first down, but Kodiak forced a punt with time left on the clock to set up the winning drive.
“It was wild,” Schnick said. “They knew we were going to win.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.