Football: Greyhounds race past Raider, 36-14

UNDER PRESSURE, Raider quarterback Oscar Saunders

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — A quick glance of the stat sheet, it would appear the Raider defense had a productive season opener.

Linebacker Tucker Buzzell scooped up a loose ball and galloped 73 yards for a touchdown. A thumper in the middle, the FA senior captain had a game high six solo stops on the way to a 12-tackle game.

Corner Nathan Knapp made an athletic grab, cutting in front of a Lisbon receiver, for a key interception in FA territory — one of three forced turnovers.

Junior lineman Josh Frye was a force in the trenches, logging 12 tackles.

But, it wasn’t quite good enough.

Lisbon’s version of thunder (burly but quick senior quarterback Lucas Francis) and lightning (senior running back Isaiah Thompson) were tough to stop at key moments as the Greyhounds raced to a 36-14 victory last Friday afternoon at the Academy.

CATCH IN TRAFFIC by Isaack McKenney

Francis rushed for a 16-yard touchdown, bulled ahead three times on fourth down to keep drives alive and tossed a 49-yard TD bomb. Meanwhile, Thompson paced a 245-yard ground attack, scoring on touchdown bursts of 20, 36 and 50 yards en route to a 126-yard afternoon.

Not to be overshadowed, the Lisbon defense dominated the first half, limiting the Raiders to just nine plays and zero first downs, taking a 16-0 lead into halftime.

The Hounds reached FA territory late in the opening quarter, but the drive fizzled when Raider senior Reese Kneisler (seven tackles) made a nice open field hit on a completed pass to keep Lisbon short of the sticks by two yards. On fourth down, Francis fired a pass behind his receiver, turning the ball back to Fryeburg.

Looking to build some momentum late in the quarter, FA Coach David Turner rolled the dice and went for it on fourth-and-inches at the Raider 45. But, Francis shot into the FA backfield and hauled down Calvin Southwick by his jersey for a yard loss.

Lisbon appeared poised to score the game’s first points as Francis connected on two key third downs — good for 14 and 11 yards to Cam Bourget and Robbie Dick — to move the ball into the red zone. Fryeburg’s secondary denied the bid as Oscar Saunders cut down Lisbon receiver Isaac Burnell for a yard loss, and on fourth down, Nathan Knapp intercepted a quick slant pass at the FA-5.

Unable to move the ball and forced to punt, FA gave the Hounds excellent field position, starting their drive at the 29. After Bourget gained nine yards, Thompson zipped off right tackle and dashed 20 yards for a touchdown. Francis added the two-point conversion with 6:37 left in the half.

STOPPED by Nathan Knapp

Lisbon’s defense proved to be a major headache for FA quarterback Oscar Saunders. He was just 7-of-23 passing for 85 yards. 85 wasn’t a good number, at all. Big senior defensive end Hunter Job, #85, recorded the first of four interceptions, putting Lisbon back in business with 4:47 on the clock.

Lisbon didn’t need a lot of time as Francis delivered a strike from the FA 49 to Robbie Dick along the right sideline for a touchdown. Francis showed his arm strength, rolling right on the PAT try and then firing back left to Dick for the conversion.

Lisbon 16, Raiders 0.

With 4:28 to work with, FA moved deep into Lisbon territory as Saunders regrouped to complete a 17 and 8-yarder to Knapp, and Southwick delivered a five-yard burst on third down. After two incompletions and a penalty, Saunders again looked Knapp’s way, but Dick picked off the deep ball at the L-5. Opportunity lost.

Behind 16-0, the Raiders saw the hole deepen as an interception by linebacker Colin Houle gave the Greyhounds the ball at the FA-40. On his second carry, Thompson followed a strong lead block off right tackle and rumbled 36 yards for a score.

Lisbon 22, Raiders 0.

SANDWICHED, FA running back Jacob Lindgren

After a three-and-out, the Raiders appeared in trouble of being blown out as Lisbon moved the ball from their 29 to the FA-27, again Francis doing major damage with a 25-yard completion to Daytona McIver, who won a jump ball from two Raider defenders, and a 22-yard gain to the outside.

But, FA’s no-quit attitude paid off as Francis was hit in the backfield, and when the ball was jarred free, Buzzell scooped it up and bolted 73 yards untouched for a touchdown with 4:45 left in the third quarter. Eddie Thurston booted the extra point, giving FA some life.

Lisbon 22, Raiders 7.

Next Lisbon possession, Francis faced a 3rd-and-30 following a holding penalty. Again, Francis was sacked and a fumble was recovered by FA junior linebacker Jack Campbell (7 tackles) at the L-40.

Fryeburg cashed in as Saunders found Isaak McKenney for a 17-yard gain. A Southwick burst to the outside behind a lead block from Kempton Maillett gained 21 yards. After Southwick moved the ball four yards, Saunders finished the drive with a 3-yard burst. Thurston’s boot pulled the Raiders within a score with 1:40 left.

Lisbon 22, Raiders 14

First downs: 8
Penalties: 9-80
Turnovers: 3
Rushing: Lucas Francis 24-88, Isaiah Thompson 12-126, Cam Bourget 2-6, Daytona McIver 5-25; 41 carries, 245 yards
Passing: 10-16-121, 1 TD
Total offense: 366 yards
First downs: 10
Penalties: 3-15
Turnovers: 4
Rushing: Oscar Saunders 7-19, Nathan Knapp 3-6, Calvin Southwick 14-50, Brad Kruger 1-(minus 11); 25 carries, 64 yards
Passing: 8-26-91
Receiving: Nathan Knapp 5-62, Isaak McKenney 2-23, Dawson Jones 1-6
Total offense: 155 yards
Tackles (assist/solo/total): Tucker Buzzell 6-6-12, Jack Campbell 5-2-7 (fumble recovery), Calvin Southwick 2-2-4, Arnold Jaber 2-0-2, Isaak McKenney 0-2-2, Josh Frye 7-5-12, Oscar Saunders 4-1-4, Reese Kneissler 2-5-7, Liam Harriman 0-2-2, Eli Mahan 3-0-3, Nathan Knapp 2-2-4, Kempton Maillett 0-1-1, Jaycob Lindgren 1-1-2, Ethan Burk 0-1-1.

Raider fans thinking about a fantastic finish became deflated when Thompson dashed right, cut back left and bolted up the middle for a 50-yard TD to start the final quarter.

Fryeburg was unable to answer. Despite a passing interference call against the Hounds, FA was unable to convert on third down, seeing a deep pass for McKenney sailing long.

The Raider defense held, but the offense barely entered Hound territory when Lisbon linebacker Houle tipped a pass and it was intercepted. With 5:21 left in the game.

Francis put the finishing touches on the win with a 16-yard TD run, and he added the two-point conversion.

Fryeburg pushed the ball to the L-19, but Saunders was hit hard after gaining 11 yards with a hand/arm injury and was forced to the sideline. Backup Brad Kruger saw the first snap sail over his head, but he rebounded for a six-yard completion to Dawson Jones. The drive, however, stalled. Lisbon ran out the clock for the win.

Up next: The Raiders travel to York this Friday night to face the Wildcats at 7 p.m.

York blasted Gray-New Gloucester 41-9 in the opener as backup quarterback Teagan Hynes threw four touchdown passes. Hynes took over at quarterback after Dawson Gundlah suffered a knee injury in the first quarter.


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