Lakers win Pleasant Mountain Cup

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer

On the night before Halloween, James Anderson either was in disguise as NFL greats Lawrence Taylor or Dick Butkus.

It seemed whatever moved on the football field, Anderson crushed.

The junior linebacker led a hard-hitting unit with 13 tackles as Lake Region thumped Fryeburg Academy 27-6 to reclaim the Pleasant Mountain Cup.

“This has been a long time coming. The physicality of the game was amazing. I give a lot of credit to Fryeburg. Those kids are tough. They kept going for those slant (passes) and even though they knew they were going to get knocked down hard,” LR Coach Jason Simmons said. “That’s football. I am proud of our kids and the other team. It was a physical and clean game. We weren’t as crisp as last week, but played well.”

Senior running back Mike Shea scored on touchdown runs of 6 and 9 yards, collecting 98 yards on 19 carries as the Lakers (3-6) ended a five-game losing streak to the Raiders (1-8).

While neither team was in contention for the playoffs, the intensity down on Art Kilborn Athletic Complex was highly charged, especially fueled by some pad-rattling hits delivered over the middle by Anderson and Shea (11 tackles). Since the Raiders found little success running the ball in the first half (27 carries, 74 yards for the game), FA switched to a medium-range passing attack in the second half as sophomore quarterback Andrew Rascoe threw for 110 yards and a touchdown. However, Rascoe and his receivers took a physical beating, primarily at the hands of LR’s big hitters — Shea and Anderson.

“We were ready for this one. We knew what their strengths and weaknesses were. We came in motivated and stayed up the entire game,” Shea said. “Our pass defense has been pretty good. I thought we set the tone with some big hits on their receivers. I don’t think they were too excited about coming across the middle.”

Lake Region wasted little time making a statement, scoring on their second drive. After corner Kyle Stevens recovered a fumbled Raider pitch at the FA 16, Laker quarterback Ryan Skillern found receiver Anthony Osmond by himself down the middle of the field for a touchdown. Osmond then kicked the extra point.

“I saw the throw all the way and was a little nervous about not making the catch,” Osmond said. “I had to trust my hands.”

The Lakers made it 13-0 by moving the ball 83 yards on 12 plays as Shea kept the drive alive twice on big third down pick-ups. With the Raiders crowding the line of scrimmage to stop the Lakers’ running game, Skillern again found Osmond wide open down the middle of the field for a 36-yard gain — a saving tackle made by Raider Tyler Nadeau at the FA 17. Laker freshman Cody Gibbons (12 carries, 47 yards) showed good patience by following strong lead blocks by Adam Shane and Josh Robbins, to pick up 10 yards to the FA 6. Shea then finished off the drive with a nifty cut to the right, behind lineman Kamen Scott for a touchdown with 2:30 left in the first quarter. A two-point pass to senior John Belliveau was under thrown.

Mistakes proved costly to the Raiders on their next drive. A big run by Kyle Bonner (13 carries, 58 yards) was erased by a block in the back penalty, and a dropped pass down the field would have put the Raiders in a position to pick up a first down. On the very next play, Rascoe scrambled and was drilled by Shea, resulting in a fumble. The Lakers recovered at the FA 19. Running with authority, Shea bounced off two tacklers and scored with 38 seconds left in the first, putting the Lakers up 20-0.

Fryeburg gained some momentum as Bonner erased a 3rd-and-11 hole by scooting off tackle for an 18-yard gain. But, a holding penalty and a sack by LR lineman Kamen Scottt thwarted the drive.

The Raiders next drive ended on a fumble recovery by Shea on a fourth down play.

However, Fryeburg found success with their short passing game in the final minute of play. After Bonner intercepted a Skillern pass along the Laker sideline, the Raiders completed tosses of 16 yards to Bonner, 10 yards to Ian Sundgren (7 receptions, 49 yards) and 23 yards to Nadeau to move the ball to the LR 6 with 15.4 seconds until halftime. On second down, Rascoe snagged a high shotgun snap and flicked a low pass over the middle, which Bonner snagged about knee-high for the score. A two-point pass play was no good.

Lake Region scored the only points of the second half on their first possession of the third. The drive covered 68 yards in 10 plays keyed by a 20-yard sprint to the outside by senior Tristan Lacey, a 15-yard jaunt off tackle by Gibbons and a 3-yard TD romp by Zach Simmons behind a Scott block off right tackle. Osmond’s boot made it 27-6.

Defense ruled the remaining 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Big hits were delivered by:

3rd Qt. 3:50: LR’s Anderson delivers a big hit on Sundgren after a 10-yard completion, 5 yards short of a first down.

3rd Qt. 1:15: Rascoe’s pass was tipped, and intercepted by Laker corner Kyle Stevens.

3rd Qt. 48.3: Raiders Gio DiFazio (11 tackles) and Bobby Ramsay (10 tackles) delivered hits to force a Laker fumble at the FA 46.

3rd Qt. 2.6: Rascoe’s pass to the sideline was tipped by Bonner and then by Sundgren before Lake Region’s Mike Triglione corraled the ball for an interception.

4th Qt. 10:58: Ramsay and DiFazio again teamed up to drop Shea for a yard loss on 4th-and-3.

The Raiders had a chance to make the final score a little closer, but were unable to put the ball in the end zone on their last two drives. Rascoe completed four straight passes to move the ball to the LR 30. A pass interference call moved the ball 15 yards closer. Rascoe had Bonner all alone in the left corner of the end zone, but the sophomore back dropped the pass. FA tried to pass the ball for a score, but one toss was dropped and another was out of reach.

A bobbled punt snap resulted in a 4-yard kick for the Lakers, giving Fryeburg the ball at the LR 20 with 3:17 left. Shea backed up the Raider offense with an 8-yard loss. Shea leaped to prevent Rascoe from throwing a pass, and the Laker’s leading tackler then hauled Rascoe down by his jersey. A fourth-down pass fell incomplete as Shane and Simmons brought heavy pressure on Rascoe.

After five years, the Lakers were finally able to raise the Pleasant Mountain Cup in triumph.

“This was our last game, and we came out pumped,” senior linebacker Zach Simmons said. “We went all out.”

Fellow senior Anthony Osmond added, “We’ve never had the Cup, so we really wanted to get it this time.”

Coach Simmons hoped the win proves to be a building block for next season.

“As many seniors as we had out there, we also had a lot of young kids as well,” Coach Simmons noted. LR has just four juniors on the squad to go along with six freshmen and seven sophomores. “We’ll have some holes to fill next year, but we’ll have a good base to work from.”

Coach Simmons also praised the support the program has received from Athletic Director Paul True, from parents and the community.

“We’ve received a ton of support. Even though we haven’t had the best record over the past couple of years, we do receive good support from the community. We really appreciate it,” Coach Simmons said. “Certainly, we’d like to see more kids come out next year.”

Last call: Making their final high school appearances were seniors: Lake Region, John Belliveau, Aldi Gouza, Tristan Lacey, Tony Marcella, Anthony Osmond, Dylan Pratt, Josh Robbins, Matt Schreiber, Adam Shane, Mike Shea, Zach Simmons, Jakob Stammber and Tony Triglione; Fryeburg Academy, Peter Bacchiocchi (out due to injury), Nate Hill, Gio DiFazio, Brandon Daigle, Colby Locke and Ian Sundgren.

Please follow and like us: