Raiders air it out to retain Pleasant Mountain Cup

 

KEEPING THE CUP — Fryeburg Academy players (front row) Kevin Reardon, (middle row) Tanner Wentworth, Divine Dockery, (back row) Andrew Rascoe, Ian MacFawn, Kyle Bonner, Jake Thurston and Bright Amoako were all smiles following their Pleasant Mountain Bowl victory over Lake Region last Friday night in Naples. The Raiders gained over 400 yards in total offense to win on opening night. (Photo by Sue Thurston/Fryeburg Academy)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

After watching a scout tape, Andrew Rascoe knew exactly where he was going to throw the football Friday night.

High and deep to senior Bright Amoako.

With a quicker first step and a definite size advantage over all defensive backs, Amoako torched the Lakers for four touchdown receptions and 127 yards to lead Fryeburg Academy to a 40-27 victory in the annual Pleasant Mountain Bowl.

A senior, Rascoe also enjoyed a huge night under the lights at the Art Kilborn Athletic Complex as he completed 10-of-20 passes for 233 yards and rushed 11 times for 133 yards as the Raiders retained the Cup for another year.

In the game’s opening two offensive plays, Rascoe showed he was headed for an electric night. He nearly broke free for a long touchdown run, only to be hauled down by LR defensive back Quinn Piland after a 26-yard gain. Rascoe then fired a strike to Amoako on a slant pass, which the speedy receiver turned into a 30-yard touchdown.

The duo would strike again on the Raiders’ next possession. On fourth down, Rascoe settled into a well-guarded pocket and lofted a deep ball down the right sideline, which Amoako caught in stride and then shook off two LR defenders near the goal line for a 43-yard TD reception.

“We’ve been working on the deep pass a lot, and when we looked at the game tape, we could see Lake Region was weak in the backfield,” Rascoe said. “Bright came back faster and stronger. He’s worked really hard. He’s becoming a real good wide receiver, and will help us a lot. With Bright, I can almost just throw it out and he can get to it. If I am not throwing a good ball, he can come back and get it or run to it. He can do everything.”

To successfully throw the football deep, a quarterback needs a little time. Rascoe felt Friday’s big offensive showing fell squarely on the shoulders of the guys up front.

“The offensive line was incredible today. They blocked everything. I didn’t get hit one time,” Rascoe said. “They did a great job.”

Losing just one starter on the offensive line due to graduation, Rascoe said the hard work during the summer — lifting weights as a team — paid off.

“They go hard every practice,” he said. “And tonight, it showed.”

Raider Coach David Turner said his club hadn’t thrown the ball “terribly well” during the preseason, but “the timing was certainly there tonight.”

“I am not sure entirely why, other than we throw the ball a lot in practice,” he said. “What helped was Andrew throwing the ball on time, which helps the offensive line. He took his steps, made his read and delivered the ball quick. The ball was gone before Lake Region could bring any pressure. We got off to a fast start tonight, and that helped.”

With the Lakers failing to pick up a first down in their first two possessions, the Raiders went up 18-0 with 2:17 left in the first quarter when Amoako caught a 21-yard pass in the left corner of the end zone. The score was set up by a 30-yard catch and run by senior running back Divine Dockery.

“We’ve been working on that bubble screen, and it worked great. Divine got some nice blocks from Kyle (Bonner) and Jake (Thurston) out on the wing,” Rascoe said. “Everyone was making a play — hustling and never stop trying. Coach has been telling us we need to play hard the entire game, and we did.”

The Fryeburg offense seemed ready to score again to start the second quarter, but a hard pass to Amoako went off his fingertips and was intercepted by LR sophomore Quinn Piland (six tackles on the night).

The turnover proved costly as the Lakers marched 58 yards in 11 plays, capped off by an 11-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Mike Triglione to Piland in the right corner of the end zone on a critical 3rd-and-11 call. Unable to run against the Raider front line, the Lakers found some success by passing as Triglione hooked up with Nick Wandishin, who made a leaping catch, good for 16 yards and a 26-yard connection with freshman Jordan Williams, erasing a 3rd-and-11 hole to keep the drive alive. Williams’ kick sailed wide left.

Lake Region had a chance to climb back into the game just before halftime. A high snap sailed over Rascoe’s head on a punt attempt, allowing David Cosgrove and Cody Gibbons to tackle Rascoe at the FA-20.

But, the Raider defense rose to the occasion as Kyle Bonner knocked a pass out of Wandishin’s hands on second down and deflected another ball away from Gibbons. Triglione tried to thread the ball over the middle to Gibbons but the ball was intercepted by Amoako in the end zone.

Starting at the FA-3 with 2:42 on the clock, the Raiders seized momentum when a simple out pass to Ryan Buzzell along the right sideline went from a potential short gain to a 50-yard romp as Buzzell shook off a quick hit and then bolted before Piland could make a saving tackle.

Rascoe fired a 25-yard TD strike to Amoako with 23.6 seconds left. Rascoe added the two-point conversion, and FA led 26-6 at the break.

There was no letdown coming out of intermission as Rascoe followed a couple of lead blocks and went untouched for 20 yards to make it 32-6 at the 7:09 mark of the third quarter. The game-clinching drive went 55 yards in eight plays, keyed by a 7 yard run by Dockery.

LR junior running back Cody Gibbons scored from a yard out with 3:01 left in the third quarter to make it 32-13. Kyle Stevens had a nice 16-yard run, while Triglione made a good ball fake to Gibbons inside, and broke loose for a 25-yard pick up.

The Raiders answered with 1:01 left in the third as Dockery found daylight along the right sideline for a 19-yard touchdown. The score was set up by a 22-yard run by Rascoe and an 18-yard reception by Bonner.

In the fourth quarter, the Lakers scored twice with Triglione hit paydirt following a 14-yard run with 7:43 left in the game, capping an 11-play (all rushing the ball), 64-yard drive.

Following a fumble (recovered by Gibbons) by the FA second-string offense, the Lakers closed out the scoring on a 25-yard pass from Triglione to Piland.

Lake Region coach Brian Jahna felt his team was a little tentative early on, but seemed to get into a better flow as the game wore on.

“We’re starting four to five freshmen, so we’re already facing some mismatches out there. Physically, trying to get our guys to compete against Fryeburg was difficult. They’re physical. We knew they would bring it, and they did,” Laker first-year coach Brian Jahna said. “We wanted to come out and be disciplined and hit on our assignments. In the first half, we didn’t do that. We made some good adjustments in the second half, but due to our numbers, our guys did wear down some.”

Depth is a major problem for the Lakers. At game time, LR had 22 players dressed, but that number dropped due to a couple of injuries. Two players were out due to academic ineligibility.

“It’s hard to compete in Class B with this number,” Coach Jahna said. “This a great group of kids. They have a lot of character.”

Coach Jahna liked the way his quarterback got into a rhythm. “Before, he was a little late on his throws and his decision to run. It seemed that he started to believe in himself more and more and became more comfortable out there. He did a nice job with his reads as the game went along. He is also running behind a line that doesn’t have a lot of experience.”

Over the past two seasons, the two rivals have met in Week 1 versus years past when they closed out the regular season against each other. So, is it better to meet early or late?

“We like to meet them at the end of the season because both teams are at their best since we’ve been playing,” Rascoe said. “We always have good games against Lake Region, so playing them first gives us a chance to test our strengths. It’s intense. I love it. Opening is not bad. We know where we are and we’ll work from there.”

Coach Turner felt having the Lakers up first helped the Raiders from falling into a preseason rut.

“You go through two weeks of double sessions and you wonder if the intensity will be there. Playing Lake Region early provides our kids with great incentive to be ready. It helps you get through the drudgery of preseason,” Coach Turner said. “We made a number of mental mistakes (formation penalties), which kept the game closer than I would have liked. We had several holds, which wasn’t a good thing, but it involved linemen down the field. When you get guys looking to make a block 10 to 12 yards down the field, that’s a good thing.”

Up next: Lake Region travels to travels to Cumberland Friday night to meet Greely at 7 p.m. The Raiders host surprising Gray-NG on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Patriots stunned Falmouth in the season opener.

“We need to be more physical,” Rascoe said.

Last year, the Raiders opened 2-0 but then came back to earth after losses to the conference’s upper tier clubs. How can the Raiders take the next step this time around?

“Our guys need to understand we need to stay competitive in every practice. We need to get better than the previous week,” he said. “Gray is a much improved football team. They will be ready to play. We need to understand we need to take care of our business every week. We need to get better. So as the strength of the opponent gets better, we need to improve to that level.”

RAIDERS 40

LAKERS 27

First Downs: FA 12, LR 12

Penalties: FA 10-70, LR 7-40

Rushing: FA 25-222, LR 47-210

Passing: FA 233, LR 88

Total offense: FA 455, LR 298

FA rushing: Andrew Rascoe 11-133, Divine Dockery 11-65, Kyle Bonner 3-24

LR rushing: Cody Gibbons 17-72, RJ Legere 6-23, Kyle Stevens 10-33, Mike Triglione 13-82, Gunnar Harriman 1-0.

FA passing: Andrew Rascoe 10-20-233

LR passing: Mike Triglione 5-11-88

FA receiving: Bright Amoako 5-127, Divine Dockery 2-37, Ryan Buzzell 2-58, Kyle Bonner 1-18

LR receiving: Quinn Piland 3-36, Nick Wandishin 1-16, Jordan Williams 1-26.

FA tackles (solo, assisted, total): Willy MacFawn 0-2-2, Tanner Wentworth 0-1-1, Kevin Reardon 2-3-5, Kyle Bonner 2-1-3, Andrew Lyman 1-5-6, Billy Rascoe 0-3-3, Cody Loewe 2-1-3, Ian MacFawn 4-4-8, Ryan Buzzell 4-0-4, Divine Dockery 1-0-1, Rod Desroche 1-1-2, Kyle Provencher 1-1-2, Jake Thurston 1-0-1, Greg Harmon 6-4-10, Brandon Ludwig 2-0-2, Joe Slattery 3-0-3, David McLaughlin 1-0-1, Ben Southwick 1-0-1

LR tackles: Drew Spaulding 1-0-1, RJ Legere 1-0-1, Quinn Piland 5-1-6, Gunnar Harriman  2-0-2, Jordan Williams 5-0-5, Cody Gibbons 2-4-6, Kamen Scott 9-2-11, Jarid Pierce 1-3-4, Dylan Ladeau 0-2-2, Kyle Stevens 2-1-3, Nick Wandishin 1-0-1

Interceptions: FA, Amoako; LR, Piland

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