(Fryeburg ME) On a very hot afternoon it was crucial to stay cool. (I enjoyed the shade of pine trees before the game and during halftime.)
The Fryeburg Academy Raiders (3-1) lost their cool in the second quarter and in the process set up visiting Leavitt (4-0) for what turned out to be a decisive field goal.
The final was 17-14 with all the points coming in the first half and Leavitt is now the only undefeated team in Division C South.
Senior Caleb Bowen tallied both Hornets’ touchdowns on short passes (9,2 yards) from quarterback Tim Albert.
Seniors Jared Chisari and Scott Parker scored untouched TDs for Fryeburg.
Jared answered Leavitt’s grinding first touchdown with a first-play dash around the right side that covered sixty-nine yards.
As the first half was in its final minute, Scott Parker, lined up on the left side and broke about as free as you can get into the Hornets secondary. QB Oscar Saunders put the pass where it needed to be and teammate Scott took a lonely route to the Leavitt end zone.
Those were the touchdowns. Both teams had the weapons to put up points but the heat was a key factor in the scoreless second half.
The heat got both teams but it really was the FA penalties that cost them this game. In the second half, the Raiders had a first-down pass to Scott Parker called back, a 67-yard TD run by Jared Chisari called back, and a pass interference call on Scott Parker to extend Leavitt’s final possession. And that wasn’t even the most costly of the Raiders’ rule violations.
The most costly? A collection of three penalties in a row. In the second quarter, the Hornets started at the Fryeburg 41 after a Caleb Eklund punt. And that’s when the trouble started for the Raiders. Junior Josh Frye complained about an earlier penalty long enough to get an unsportsmanlike penalty. FA coach Dave Turner stepped in to defend his player and also earned the same penalty. When the FA coach persisted, he was assessed a second unsportsmanlike penalty. When the flags stopped flying, the visitors had remarkable field position (Fryeburg 11) after those thirty yards of penalties.
Leavitt didn’t turn the gift into seven points but they did get three as Eli Lind connected from twenty-six yards out to give the Hornets a 17-7 lead with 2:42 remaining in the first half.
Credit FA for bouncing back during the remaining time in the half to get the Scott Parker score but the Raiders would never get back the three points that were set up by the unsportsmanlike penalties.
Leavitt’s first score was at the end of 5 ½ minute drive to open the game. The big play in the march was a lofted pass by senior Tim Albert that Caleb Bowen outleaped Ryan Hewes for. That catch set the Hornets up on the Fryeburg 4.
Jared Chisari showed terrific speed in FA’s quick response to the Leavitt TD. Once Jared broke into the secondary there was no pursuit anywhere to be seen. Jared was on his own the final forty yards of a 69-yard run.
On the Hornets next possession, they put together a 68-yard drive to regain the lead. The key play this time was a nice slant pass from Tim Albert to junior Oren Shaw that put Leavitt at the FA 4. Tim avoided the Fryeburg rush, bought time, and found Caleb Bowen several plays later for his second TD from the FA2.
Eli Lind delivered kicks for Leavitt after both scores. Eddie Thurston did the same for Fryeburg after their two scores.
The winning field goal was interesting because in the series prior to it, in the second quarter, Hornets’ coach Mike Hathaway had opted to pass the ball on 4th down from the FA 2. After the trio of penalties in the next series Coach Hathaway went for the three and Eli Lind delivered. The kick barely got over the crossbar but it counted big-time ultimately.
Best player on the field may have been FA linebacker Tucker Buzzell. His tackle count had to have been large. He was also the FA center on offense, so on the hottest of hot days there wasn’t much time to rest.
Allen Peabody intercepted a pass intended for Scott Parker in the second quarter.
Fryeburg QB Oscar Saunders recovered a high snap in the second quarter deep in his own territory.
Punter Caleb Eklund tried a fake punt in the 3rd quarter but Leavitt’s Cole Morin kept the play from working.
Cody Gullikson recovered a Hornet’s fumble in the final quarter.
Junior Brad Moreau turned the left corner for a first down late in the game that was good for a first down and allowed Leavitt to run out the clock and leave with a 3-point victory.
Good crowd on hand for both sides.
Surprised that there was no charge for anyone to watch the game. Being from Massachusetts, I expected otherwise.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)