Alaskans take center stage on Valley City-Presentation gridiron
Five Alaskans took center stage when NAIA football teams Valley City State University and Presentation College squared off in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Valley City won the NAIA game 49-21, thanks to the play of senior linebacker Riley Fredrickson, senior wide receiver Tyler Howell of Soldotna and senior offensive lineman Dahlton Wasankari of Wasilla.
Not to be outdone, Presentation got excellent efforts from sophomore wide receiver Marshal Chace of North Pole and sophomore wide receiver Michael Swoboda of Homer.
All told, it was a great look for Alaska football.
Fredrickson, of Wasilla High, recorded a season-high eight tackles, including five solo stops, to go with his first interception in 24 career games.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder was all over the field. He earned a sack, had a pass deflection and forced a fumble for the first time.
Fredrickson has 134 tackles and 4.5 sacks for his career.
Howell, of Soldotna High fame, hauled in two catches (both on scoring drives) for a season-high 69 yards. He also had a 57-yard catch-and-run called back on a holding call.
In the third quarter, the 5-foot-11, 174-pounder caught took a 36-yard pass play all the way down to the 1-yard line, just missing his first career touchdown.
Howell made 34 receptions for 348 yards in 15 career games. He also rushed the ball five times for 43 yards.
Wasankari, of Wasilla High, was part of an offensive line that blocked for six rushing touchdowns and helped Valley City hold possession for more than 32 minutes.
The 6-foot, 315-pounder has been starting games since his freshman season and was named all-conference last season.
Both Alaskans at Presentation made huge plays, with Chace scoring a touchdown and Swoboda blocking a punt.
Chace, of North Pole High fame, was on the receiving end of a 60-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that tied the game at 14-14.
It was the second touchdown of the season for the 6-foot, 182-pound wideout.
Chace delivered a fabulous first season for Presentation with 40 catches, 538 yards and a pair of scores in nine games.
He delivered a season-best 11-reception, 132-yard performance against Dakota State last month. He also had two games with eight catches.
Swoboda, of Homer High fame, made the special teams’ play of the game when he blocked a punt and recovered the loose ball in a scoreless game in the first quarter.
Just last week, the 5-foot-8, 175-pounder was named his team’s special teams player of the week.
Looks like Swoboda could win the award again.
The Alaska pipeline to Valley City and Presentation has produced a total of 17 players being on the roster of both teams.