Hawks 56, Tigers 7: Marshwood overpowers Biddeford in no-doubter

By  Mike Zhe mzhe@seacoastonline.com

The Hawks defeated Biddeford, 56-7, in a battle between two teams who began the night with 3-1 records in Class B South. By night’s end, the gap was evident.

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — The opponent’s opening drive lasted eight efficient plays and, when it was over, the Marshwood High School football team was fully engaged.Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.28.26 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.28.02 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.27.48 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.27.34 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.26.58 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.26.45 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.26.34 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.26.22 AM Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 7.25.41 AM

It was also trailing by a touchdown, a situation it hadn’t been in against a Class B opponent all season.

Concern?

“I don’t know if it was as much concern as we just didn’t come out focused,” said linebacker/fullback Justin Bryant. “Not that first series. But we focused up real quick after.”

Down 7-0 early against Biddeford on Friday, the Hawks scored long touchdowns on their first two plays from scrimmage. The final result was another dominant win, 56-7, that moved them to 4-1 in Class B South.

Bryant rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns. John Valentine added 86 yards and two scores on six carries, and added a touchdown pass, interception and fumble recovery.

But it was the big guys on the lines, several of whom are in a starting role for the first time this season, that helped swing this game dramatically after the Tigers (3-2) scored early.

“We realized we got a little behind,” said two-way lineman Michael Cruz. “But we knew what we needed to do to correct it and we knew we could take care of it.”

The 5-foot-11, 275-pound Cruz, the only returning starter on the offensive line, and one of two returning starters on the defensive line (with end Connor Caverly), helped limit the Tigers (3-2) to 165 yards of offense, 59 of which came on the opening drive.

“Our defensive line has played very well, right from preseason right up until now,” said Marshwood coach Alex Rotsko. “We’re very happy with that.”

On a night that saw both teams return kickoffs for big yards and start consistently near midfield, the quick answer for the Hawks came from Valentine, who ran right on a sweep on his team’s first offensive play, cut back and raced 58 yards to tie the game 7-7.

“That was great,” said Rotsko. “It takes the pressure off right away. Nobody’s panicking at that point.”

After a stop on downs, Bryant got the next carry and rumbled 68 yards for a score through a big hole up the middle.

Thoughts of a competitive game disappeared quickly after that. The Tigers snapped the ball over their punter’s head to give Marshwood a short field and Connor Caverly capped a 40-yard drive with a quarterback sneak to make it 21-7.

Interceptions set up two more scores before halftime, including one Valentine grabbed along the left sideline and raced 47 yards, all the way to the 3. It was 42-7 at the break and the entire second half was played in running time.

Coming into the season, the lines were probably the biggest concerns for the Hawks, with several starters graduated. While the D-line of Cruz, Caverly, Owen Whisnant and Colby Leach has looked good from the start, the O-line is coming around, too.

“Offensively, we’ve struggled at times and most of that is inexperience,” said Cruz. “We’re getting a little bit better every week,, still missing some assignments and things like that, but starting to get a better understanding everything.”

“The line’s getting better every week,” said Bryant. “They’re doing well.”

In four games against Class B opponents, Marshwood has outscored them 213-10. The blemish on their mark was a 28-27 loss to Class A Thornton Academy in Week 2.

Everyone in the program has an eyeball on a game here against rival Kennebunk (4-1) in two weeks.

Maybe that’s the one can hold everyone’s attention longer.

HAWKS 56, TIGERS 7

Biddeford 7 0 0 0–7

Marshwood 21 21 14 0–56

First Quarter

Bid–Reali 5 run (O’Driscoll kick), 8;39.

Mar–Valentine 58 run (Knowles kick), 8:20.

Mar–Bryant 68 run (Knowles kick), 6:02.

Mar–Caverly 2 run (Knowles kick), 1:53.

Second Quarter

Mar–Valentine 16 run (Knowles kick), 9:41.

Mar–Bryant 3 run (Knowles kick), 8:36.

Mar–Casey 43 pass from Valentine (Knowles kick), 4:35.

Third Quarter

Mar–Smaracko 26 pass from Caverly (Knowles kick), 6:36.

Mar–Rockafellow 1 run (Knowles kick), 2:48.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Biddeford, Reali 6-58. Donavan 10-17, Edgerton 3-5, Kelly 2-13, Ramos 2-(-7), Crowell 2-1, Voccia-Hale 1-3. Marshwood, Bryant 14-146, Valentine 6-86, Caverly 4-13, Cornett 3-17, Maguire 3-24, Isabelle 2-9, Rockafellow 2-7, McPherson 1-11, Goodwin 1-6, Gori 3-19.

PASSING–Biddeford, Reali 5-14–75 (2 INTs). Marshwood, Caverly 2-6–42, Valentine 1-1–43 (TD).

RECEIVING–Biddeford, Crowell 2-24, Kelly 1-14, Edgerton 1-15, Donovan 1-22. Marshwood, Casey 1-43, Bryant 1-16, Smaracko 1-26.

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