The 5-foot-2, 160-pound senior rumbled through Homer’s defense for a pair of touchdowns while leading Kodiak to a nail-biting, 22-20, rain-soaked Northern Lights Conference football victory at Joe Floyd Track and Field.
Galindez tied the game at 20-20 with a 3-yard touchdown run and then put his team up for good when he ran in the two-point conversion with 8:33 left in the contest.
Kodiak then preserved its first win of the season when Trisan Eluska scooped up a Homer fumble inside Kodiak’s 10 yard line. The Bears picked up one first down and then ran out the clock to take the early conference lead with a 1-0 record. Homer fell to 0-1 in the conference, while Kenai and Soldotna have not played a conference game yet.
“They had a bad handoff and I saw the ball pop out, so I just ran as hard as I could, dove on the ball and laid on it,” Eluska said.
Eluska’s head’s-up play made a hero out of Galindez, who was making his first start as a fullback in his football career. The quick and hard-to-take-down runner rushed for a pair of touchdowns and a team-high 87 yards on 16 careers — all career-high totals.
“My linemen were all blocking great,” Galindez said. “It is all thanks to them. I wouldn’t be running without the frontline — it felt pretty good.”
Kodiak coach Jim Schnick’s decision to play Galindez at fullback paid off. He knew Galindez had the toughness for the position despite his lack of size.
Three years ago, when Schnick was Kodiak’s junior varsity coach, he needed an offensive tackle and Galindez stepped up.
“He is a guy that is like that. If you put him in, he is going to give you everything he’s got,” Schnick said. “I love the way he runs back there — he keeps his feet moving, is low to the ground and is hard to tackle back there.”
Galindez had four runs of more than 10 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown that put Kodiak ahead 14-6 early in the second quarter.
His best run was a 27-yard scamper that set up his game-winning touchdown, which came on fourth down from the 3 yard line.
“It’s a fun position,” said Galindez, who played wide receiver last week. “I think they got me at fullback to just move upfield.”
Kodiak scored first in this back-and-forth affair when quarterback Melvin Javier used his speed on a 22-yard run early in the first quarter.
Homer tied the game at 6-6 minutes later on a 61-yard dash from Josh Fisk, who ended with a game-high 124 rushing yards on 17 carries.
After Galindez’s first touchdown run, Homer quarterback Sheldon Hutt capped a 13-play, 78-yard drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Connor Seay on a fourth-and-long with 41 seconds left in the first half that tied the game at 14.
Homer was helped out early in the drive when an inadvertent whistle by an official negated a Kodiak fumble recovery in the end zone that would have put the Bears up by two touchdowns.
“All the credit goes to our guys for keeping their heads in it,” Schnick said. “We continued to work.”
Homer grabbed its only lead of the game on its first possession of the second half when Fisk finished a 7-play, 46-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. The Mariners’ two-point conversion failed, which kept the score at 20-14.
Homer got the ball right back on Kodiak’s 24 yard line after a Bears’ three-and-out and a 16-yard punt return.
Kodiak withstood the threat when Nicolas Kionisala recovered a Homer fumble on the 3-yard-line.
The Bears proceeded to drive 97 yards on 14 plays for the go-ahead touchdown.
Kodiak then had to withstand another Homer threat.
Behind two big pass plays and six runs, the Mariners marched to the Bears’ 6 yard line. The drive halted when Eluska recovered a fumble on a botched handoff.
“That was big-time,” Schnick said.
Kodiak has won two straight games against Homer and is now 6-6 all-time against the Mariners.
Kodiak (1-0 NLC, 1-1 overall) plays at Kenai (0-2 overall) Saturday in an NLC game with major playoff implications.
The Kardinals have started the season with nonconference losses to Juneau and Lathrop.
“This week is going to be huge,” Schnick said. “They are a tough opponent, always have been.”
Contact Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEARS 22, MARINERS 20
Homer 6 8 6 0 — 20
Kodiak 6 8 0 8 — 22
Kod — Javier 22 run (kick failed), 9:24
Hom — Fisk 61 run (run failed), 7:24
Kod — Galindez 14 run (Galindez run), 11:55
Hom — Seay 34 pass from Hutt (Hutt run), 0:34
Hom — Fisk 1 run (run failed), 5:29
Kod — Galindez 3 run (Galindez run), 8:33
First downs 11 11
Rushes-yards 40-184 57-242
Passing yards 70 0
Passes 3-6-0 0-0-0
Punts 1 1
Fumbles-lost 4-3 1-1
Penalties-yards 7-55 6-60
Rushing — Homer: Fisk 17-124, Hutt 19-39, Seay 3-19, Lueth 1-2. Kodiak: Javier 21-82, Galindez 16-87, Kionisala 14-66, Small 5-8, Miranda 1-(-1).
Passing — Homer: Hutt 3-6-0 — 70.
Receiving — Homer: Fisk 1-23, Lowe 1-13, Seay 1-34.