FAIRBANKS- Tonight it was the Moose and the Wolfpack on a wet field at West Valley Stadium. Since the ground was moist Palmer decided to keep things on the ground offensively which is their bread and butter. West Valley couldn't starve the Moose who ate tonight feasting off a steady diet of rushing in their 21-12 victory over West Valley.
Their were some early turnover for both teams. Palmer had the first miscue of the game with a fumble on a running play. Both teams traded the football with a fumble by West Valley as well but it wasn't until Palmer's second turnover where things clicked for West Valley.
Junior defensive back Marquece McCray picked of senior Palmer quarterback Zeth Merritt at their own 40 yard line and sprinted to the 13. Two plays later, with the momentum, West Valley quarterback Charles Sudduth rolls out to his left and finds senior tight end Elijah Connell in the end zone for a 19 yard touchdown pass. The Wolfpack were up 6-0 after the failed PAT.
Palmer responded with a heavy dose of the run and getting a few West Valley penalities. Penalites hurt both teams in this game. Either squad could've gotten the advantage but penalties and turnovers halted promising drives and negated big plays. Vincent Aumavae spun his way to a touchdown from three yards out to make it a 7-6 game with Palmer ahead.
The Moose were threatening again late in the first half but the Wolfpack stopped the rushing attack on a fourth and four in their redzone. Or so they thought. West valley was called for illegal hands to the face giving Palmer a first down. On the next play Amuavae would find the endzone a second time from 8 yards out to give Palmer a 14-6 lead.
The defenses stiffened in the third as both teams went scoreless. Sudduth picked off a deep pass down the sideline to cancel a Palmer drive. However, Aumavae would answer with a big interception at the West Valley 18 yard line to being the fourth quarter after the Wolfpack started moving the ball down the field.
Palmer executed their running game and wore down the West Valley defense. The Moose ate over six minutes of cloack after receiving the ball at the 11:07 mark of the fourth quarter after Aumavae's interception. Nisbett got stronger as the game went on broke for a 39 yard run on the long drive that kept West Valley's offense on the sideline. Nisbett ended the drive with a four yard TD to extend Palmer's lead to 21-6 with 5:24 to play.
The Wolfpack didn't give up but didn't score until five seconds left in regulation when Sudduth connected with Jaxson Brooks, who got behind three Palmer players for a 36 yard touchdown pass. It's now 21-12 Palmer. West Valley needs to convert the two point conversion to move with another touchdown and two pointer to win the game by one or tie with an extra point. Sudduth tried to connect with Brooks once again but Brooks couldn't handle the pass ending the game.
West Valley is now 0-2 on the year while Palmer improves to 2-0. Next Friday night The Wolfpack face the Malmemutes at Lathrop for the Dog Bowl.