By James Anderson
FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy football team fell behind early, and ran out of time in a valiant comeback this effort last Saturday against Leavitt. The Hornets used big play football in defeating the Raiders 20-14 in Fryeburg.
The Hornets scored in the first quarter on a 54-yard run to the goal line. Coach David Turner said the Raider defense is a work in progress after losing seven starters to graduation. The team needs to do a better job of playing assignment football, and must improve its technique in tackling, according to Turner.
There are times during a football game where a team has to shift its focus quickly and play on. An example would be after a turnover or defending an extra point after a quick score. Leavitt had all the momentum after its long TD run, however the Raiders shifted their focus like only well-coached mature teams can to the extra point. The Hornets figured they could run the ball right up the middle, and over the Fryeburg 11. Jack Campbell and Eli Mahan blew up the play, and the extra point failed.
Spectators and players could feel the importance of that stop, as the momentum switched quickly to the Raider sideline. After the Leavitt kickoff Fryeburg began moving the ball. Some gritty runs by Job Fox and quarterback Calvin Southwick kept Leavitt on its heels.
Although Bryce Micklon did not break off any long runs in the game as he had in the Lisbon game he did have some high-quality receptions and runs in this one. The Raiders drove the ball down inside the Hornets’ 10-yard line, but the drive failed there as Fryeburg could not punch it across the goal line. This is significant because the Raiders ended up losing by a touchdown and an extra point.
After an exchange of punts Leavitt scored again on an 21-yard pass from Hathaway to Cole Morin. Fryeburg again stopped the run for the two-point conversion attempt. The boys from Turner extended their lead to 20-0 on a 23-yard TD run by Damien Calder and a successful two-point conversion late in the opening half.
It seems the Raiders always play tough coming out of halftime. Given time to converse and adjust coaches Turner and David Jones are the best in all of high school football.
Fryeburg scored on its first possession of the second half on Southwick’s 10-yard scamper. The key play before the TD was a short throw and long run to Dawson Jones. The ball appeared to carom off Eli Mahan and into Jones’ hands. Jones, who is showing his value as a lockdown defender and a big-play receiver later caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Southwick.
On both of the Raider touchdowns steady Eddie Thurston successfully kicked the extra points.
The Raiders were just 7 points down when the Hornets drove to the Fryeburg goal line. On fourth-and-one the Raiders stopped Leavitt again, and took over on downs with 50 seconds remaining. Time for one play. Coach Turner took a shot down the far sideline which was intercepted by the Hornets, ending the Raider comeback.
If given a mulligan I think the Raiders would be most comfortable in their opportunity to defeat Leavitt. A mulligan of course a golf term meaning a do over. I have played golf with Coach Turner, and I know he does not take mulligans. He hits fairways and greens, and shoots low scores with a precise short game.
The Raiders (1-1) will look to get back into the win column when they travel to Cape Elizabeth (1-1) on Friday (7 p.m.) — it’s a place the Raiders proved last year they can win.
Cape is coming off a 42-12 loss at York (2-0) last Friday.