By Mike Zhe email@example.com Sep 15, 2017
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — If there was a point for players on an undermanned Marshwood High School football team to hang their heads on Friday, it was at halftime.
Leading by two touchdowns thanks to a pair of long touchdown runs from Joe Taran, it watched Biddeford crowbar its way back into the game by driving 80 yards late in the second quarter and punching in a touchdown in the final seconds.
“At that point, I thought we were in real good shape,” said Biddeford coach Brian Curit. “They were hunched over a little bit. But they responded and we didn’t.”
In a battle between two of the four unbeatens in Class B South, it was Marshwood that made the plays after halftime and upped its record to 3-0 after a 35-21 win that wasn’t settled until the fourth quarter.
Taran rushed for 120 yards, scoring on first-half runs of 36 and 88 yards, and fullback Justin Bryant added 111 yards and two scores after halftime.
“Credit goes to the offensive line, especially on the second one of mine,” said Taran. “The hole was wide open.”
On an imperfect night that saw the Hawks get whistled for seven penalties and forfeit some hard-earned yards, they were strong on defense and better than their foes on special teams, and will wake up Saturday as one of just two unbeatens in the division.
“We tried to simplify things for the defense tonight,” said Marshwood coach Alex Rotsko. “Guys stepped up and did a tremendous job. I thought they played great.”
Special teams did its part, too. Trevor Chase returned the opening kickoff 53 yards, setting up Taran’s score on the next play, and added a 61-yard kick return in the third quarter.
Down 14-7 at the half, the Tigers (2-1) got to midfield on the first possession of the third quarter, but got denied by inches on a fake punt. Back in their own end on their next possession, they fumbled away a pitch and Marshwood took over in the red zone.
After a holding penalty, quarterback Tommy Springer (3-of-7, 63 yards) hit a leaping John Valentine near the goal line, and then sneaked it in from 1 yard out to make it 21-7.
Biddeford answered immediately, with Scott Spellman returning the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a score.
The game moved into the fourth quarter separated by just the one touchdown, but Bryant busted a run up the gut that turned into a 47-yard score and 28-14 lead, shaking off a tackler at the 10 and finding the end zone.
“We were in the game for a very, very long time,” said Curit. “But we just weren’t very consistent on offense and, on defense, we talked about not giving up home runs and we gave up two.”
Quarterback Carter Edgerton rushed for 119 yards for Biddeford, but was intercepted three times, twice by Taran.
The Hawks were playing without four defensive starters, including two-way lineman Seth Aumann and running back/safety Kyle Glidden.
“It was a great opportunity for the backups to come in and show they could play,” said linebacker Max Horton, who was also perfect on his PATs (5-for-5).
Even after Biddeford drove the field for the touchdown 25 seconds before halftime, Cam Lantagne punching it in from short yardage to make it a one-score game, there was no panic.
“I just think our defense was playing so well,” said Rotsko. “As long as our offense made some plays, I thought we’d be fine.”
Defensive lineman Drew Gregor was one of the defensive ringleaders, recording an 11-yard sack, making multiple tackles and batting down a pass at the line.
“We did not think he played very well last week,” said Rotsko. “You’ve got to look at the film to evaluate, but it seemed like he made a lot of plays tonight.”
The Hawks made enough plays to send them into next week’s crossover game against Lawrence with an unbeaten record.
“We had a bunch of guys step up this week,” said Taran. “We had three fresh players going in and they did a great job.”
HAWKS 35, TIGERS 21
Biddeford 0 7 7 7–21
Marshwood 7 7 7 14–35
Mar–Taran 36 run (Horton kick), 11:40.
Mar–Taran 88 run (Horton kick), 3:40.
Bid–Lantagne 1 run (Spaulding kick), :25.
Mar–Springer 1 run (Horton kick), 4:31.
Bid–Spellman 89 kickoff return (Spaulding kick), 4:16.
Mar–Bryant 47 run (Horton kick), 11:15.
Mar–Bryant 25 run (Horton kick), 7:03.
Bid–Lantagne 1 run (Spaulding kick), 3:10.
RUSHING–Biddeford, Edgerton 14-119, Lantagne 20-64, Lavigne 2-8, Spellman 1-3, Petit 3-1, Voccia 1-0. Marshwood, Taran 5-120, Bryant 13-111, Springer 6-38, Valentine 5-25, Chase 3-9.
PASSING–Biddeford, Edgerton 4-5–66 (3 INTs). Marshwood, Springer 3-7–63.
RECEIVING–Biddeford, Saucier 3-56, Pope 1-10. Marshwood, Valentine 1-28, Parmley 1-27, Cartmill 1-8