(Fryeburg ME) Momentum can change.
And it sure did on a sunny afternoon/evening of Friday high school football.
The visiting Lisbon Greyhounds had, what appeared to be, a comfortable 22-0 lead over the home Fryeburg Academy Raiders two minutes into the second half.
“The kids played hard the whole game,” recalled FA coach Dave Turner afterwards.
It was his team’s defense that put the brakes on the Lisbon domination. In two straight second-half possessions the Raiders’ defense created fumbles by Lisbon quarterback Lucas Francis. Those cough-ups led directly and then indirectly to Fryeburg scores.
It was an ugly three minutes of football for the visitors, as the D3 South Raiders were now only down, 22-14, with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
Momentum, however, is a funny thing. It can come, and it can go. And that’s what happened.
“They got some momentum in the second half,” said Lisbon coach Chris Kates, “but we were able to get it back.”
On the Greyhounds next possession, after consecutive FA scores, senior Isaiah Thompson (3 touchdowns) struck from midfield. Isaiah started right and then cut back into the middle. He found a ton of daylight and scored as he looked around for FA pursuit.
The D4 South team from Lisbon Falls had a two-touchdown lead back (28-14) early in the final quarter and finished strong.
Quarterback Lucas Francis (Sun Journal Player-of-Year last season) added a touchdown and a 2-point rush to close the scoring.
“I think that our conditioning helped,” said Lucas after the game. “We didn’t take any days off. (Some schools cancelled practices because of the heat.) We were in full pads every day.”
Coach Kates also referenced his team’s conditioning: “Out conditioning enabled us to be physical up front against a strong FA defensive front. We opened some big holes for our backs.” (Several of my pictures reveal the size of the running room that Lucas and Isaiah found on occasion.)
Fryeburg coach Dave Turner faulted his team’s execution for the loss. “We made way too many mistakes. We missed open guys and we had a lot of turnovers.”
Coach Turner said that the Lisbon secondary played a key role in the loss. “We had receivers open, but their defensive backs were very fast to the ball.”
That poor execution Coach Turner referred to bit FA early. In the middle of a scoreless first quarter, Raiders wide receiver Nathan Knapp got behind the Lisbon defense. Quarterback Oscar Saunders hit the senior in stride and in Nathan went for a touchdown. Not so fast! Nathan had lined up incorrectly and instead of six points the Raiders were assessed a five-yard penalty.
Nathan Knapp turned defender three minutes into the second quarter and intercepted a pass intended for Isaac Burnell on the FA 5.
Unable to get anywhere, FA was forced to punt, and a nice Daytona McIver runback set up Lisbon on the FA 29. Several plays later Isaiah Thompson tore off right tackle 20 yards to the end zone. QB Lucas Francis rushed right for 2-points.
On Fryeburg’s next possession, tall and talented Hunter Job intercepted a pass. An immediate strike by Lisbon followed. Junior Robbie Dick ran under a beautifully thrown pass by Lucas to score. Fittingly the 2-point conversion was another connection between Lucas and Robbie. The visitors had vaulted to a 16-0 lead in the first half.
The Lisbon momentum carried into the second half. Another interception (Colin Houle) set the Greyhounds up in Fryeburg territory. Isaiah quickly followed strong blocking for a 36-yard score. The rush failed but Lisbon was in charge, 22-0, two minutes into the second half.
However, two Lisbon fumbles later, FA was back in the game. Linebacker Tucker Buzzell picked up a fumble and went fifty yards to the EZ. Later it was teammate Jack Campbell making a recovery that led eventually to QB Oscar Saunders’ 3-yard score. Eddie Thurston kicked both extra points. We now had ourselves a ballgame! But not for long.
Isaiah Thompson took Lisbon’s next possession in for a score to break the momentum. The Lisbon defense, especially the secondary, kept the home team contained.
A final TD by Lucas Francis finished off the Raiders.
This was the opener for both teams.
Lisbon was 7-2 last season. “This was the first time we’ve played a Class C team since we moved to Class D,” explained Lucas. “It feels good to take down a contender from that division.”
Coach Turner was disappointed with the loss but was also optimistic about the future: “We executed poorly but we played hard. The execution can be remedied with practice. When we play well, we’re a pretty good team.”
FA captain Tucker Buzzell was impressive. Coach Turner called him, “relentless.” Tucker ran a fumble back for a touchdown to turn the momentum FA’s way. In the second half, he kicked off and then made a touchdown-preventing tackle on that play.
I always imagine high school games being quick. No TV timeouts and the other delays we tolerate with televised games. This, however, turned into a long game time-wise. Halftime was twenty minutes long. There were “water break” timeouts and there were plenty of clock-stopping passes. It took as long as an NFL game! But I whine!
Good crowd considering the 3-day weekend ahead.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering why a game held on Friday doesn’t get coverage until Monday night. One of my problems was the pictures I took. I had all sorts of trouble getting them set up for a blog entry. Days and hours later I think I’ve figured things out. I also like to wait until someone with actual stats does a story so that I can use some numbers to back things up. Google revealed nothing but the score. The Bridgton News story won’t be out until Thursday.
(All of the pictures above and below should enlarge if you click on them.)