(Fryeburg ME) This was hardly a smooth win for Fryeburg Academy.
There were fumbles and play-wrecking long snaps.
But the Raiders (2-1) still prevailed over formerly undefeated Westbrook, 26-8, on a very warm Saturday afternoon.
Quarterback Gunnar Saunders led the Raiders. The FA sophomore rushed for one score and passed to Caleb Micklon for two others. Gunnar also connected with Caleb for a two-point conversion.
“We were smacked around last week by Cape Elizabeth,” said Gunnar. “We prepared hard this week knowing that Westbrook would be a tough opponent.”
The Raiders had a 20-0 halftime lead.
“We came out strong,” said Caleb Micklon post-game. “We were ready. Our coaches work us hard, and it paid off today.”
The Blazers picked up a touchdown in the final quarter but struggled to gain yards most of the game.
“Fryeburg Academy is really good,” said Westbrook coach Brian Dorsett afterwards. “They established the line of scrimmage and blew us off the ball a little bit.”
It certainly hurt the Blazers to be without starting QB Carter Dow. “He had a little bit of illness, and he is getting some treatment today,” said Coach Dorsett.
The Blazers went with sophomore Tom Lewis at quarterback. “He did the best he could,” said Coach Dorsett.
Tom had a 31-yard touchdown run in the final quarter.
Fryeburg Academy may not have been flawless, but they made plenty of big plays to offset the glitches.
The Raiders running game, led by Hayden Fox and Caleb Micklon, was very effective.
“They kept blitzing, but we picked it up and still could run the ball,” said FA coach Dave Anderson afterwards.
Quarterback Gunnar Saunders was able to scoop up, jump for, or quickly retrieve the numerous errant long snaps and turn most of them into positive yardage.
“We’re figuring out the snapping situation,” said Gunnar with a smile.
“We were in a funk snapping today and couldn’t get out of it,” said Coach Anderson. “Hopefully, it won’t happen in a key situation moving forward.”
“We recovered from most of the bad snaps today, but we may not be as lucky against a good Wells team next week,” added Coach Anderson.
The Raiders lost the ball on their first possession but scored on their second possession.
The home team had two first-down-producing runs from Hayden Fox and a scrambling one from Gunnar Saunders. A face-mask call against the Blazers put FA on the Westbrook seventeen.
Gunnar Saunders connected with Caleb Micklon in the right corner of the end zone at 2:42. The extra-points pass attempt was intercepted.
“He’s a great quarterback,” said Caleb of Gunnar. “We practice a lot, and we click really well.”
Fryeburg’s next possession started in the second quarter.
A 22-yard run by Hayden Fox got FA out of their own end. Runs by Liam Quinn and Gunnar Saunders moved the Raiders deep into Blazers’ territory.
Two fumbles later, Fryeburg was in a fourth-and-goal situation from the Westbrook five.
Same play. Same result. Different corner.
“We run those in practice,” recalled Gunnar. “Caleb is a good receiver. He’s fast and I put it in the right spot, and he caught it.”
“The idea is to drive the defender to the inside and try to get open,” explained Caleb.
“We thought they gave us that stick-and-corner route,” said Coach Anderson. “The defender bit and we threw a nice ball. Gunnar made a nice read and threw it early.”
FA tried to pass again for the extra points, but Tom Lewis broke up the pass.
Fryeburg had a 12-0 lead.
They would build on that lead shortly.
A Blazers fumble (recovered by Will Hallam) set up FA at the Westbrook 29.
Gunnar Saunder passed to Jordan Zerner for a first down and Hayden Fox ran for a first down. From the Westbrook four, Liam Quinn went off left guard for the score.
For the extra points, Gunnar passed to Caleb Micklon in the left flat and he took it in from there.
Fryeburg Academy led 20-0 at halftime.
Jordan Dutton set up FA’s final touchdown with an interception.
Hayden Fox had yet another run for a first down in a Raiders scoring drive.
The high snaps put FA in a fourth down situation from the Westbrook five.
Gunnar Saunders rolled left and went into the end zone untouched.
“I saw the open lane and I had to take it,” said Gunnar.
The extra-points rush failed but Fryeburg Academy had a comfortable, 26-0, lead with eleven minutes left in the game.
Credit Westbrook. It was hot (80’s) and they were certainly tired, but they rallied to put points on the board.
Gavin Turner ran for a first down for the Blazers and then quarterback Tom Lewis turned the left corner and scored from thirty-one yards out.
“It was a quarterback keeper,” recalled Coach Dorsett. “He reads the defensive end. Jackson Young and Stevie White had key blocks.”
Tom Lewis connected with Aidan Taylor or the two-point conversion.
Most entertaining play of the game? It had to be Westbrook’s defensive lineman Dylan Anderson picking up a Fryeburg fumble and taking off with it late in the game. Dylan is big and probably not the fastest runner on the team but off he went with a convoy of blockers around him. He didn’t reach the end zone, but he certainly excited the Westbrook team.
“Dylan’s a senior and he made a good play,” said Coach Dorsett. “I’m sure he’ll remember the play for a long time.”
Westbrook has York away next week.
“We’ll learn from today’s loss,” said Coach Dorsett. “We have to get better with our alignment assignments.”
Westbrook used to be in Class B but after losing fifteen in a row by an average of thirty-six points, petitioned to move down to Class C and that is where they now are.
It turned into a hot afternoon.
Plenty of fan support on both sides.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)