Raiders brought back to earth; York rolls 34-0
By Wayne E. Rivet
FRYEBURG — Fryeburg Academy had a big chance Saturday to make a statement as to whether they should be in the conversation as to who makes the football playoffs this fall in the Campbell Conference.
Hopes were sky high after a 2-0 start.
Yet like a year ago, York brought the Raiders back down to earth.
With a big thud.
The Wildcats (2-1) dominated both lines of scrimmage as junior running back Sean Kelly rushed for 125 yards on 27 carries and junior quarterback Ross Hogan tossed three touchdown passes as York rolled to a 34-0 victory.
Turnovers and a lack of any consistent push up front resulted in the Raiders (2-1) gaining just 73 yards rushing and a paltry 37 yards passing.
“We didn’t play well at all today, and you can attribute that to them (York). They were more physical and played faster than we did. Unfortunately, we made too many mistakes. There were a couple of series, which we gave them ridiculously good field position and they converted. You can’t do that against good teams,” a frustrated FA Coach David Turner said. “When someone beats you, bad technique is part of it. Overall strength is part of it. They were the aggressor and took it to us. They punched us in the mouth and we didn’t respond. We talked a lot out there, but you can’t let the other team get into your head. They did. If you can’t match that level of intensity brought by the other team, it is very difficult to compete.”
York mixed a punishing running game (220 yards on 55 carries) and a deep passing attack (Hogan was 7-of-15 for 142 yards) to keep the Raider off balance all day.
On their opening drive, the Wildcats hammered the FA defense with six straight runs, and Hogan kept the drive alive with a quick flick over the middle on fourth down as end Mitchell Lee turned the screenplay into a 16-yard gain. York scored four plays later as Hogan found Daniel Bock for a 7-yard TD strike. Ben Lawlor’s PAT kick was good for a 7-0 lead.
Fryeburg managed just three first downs in the first half, two by York personal foul penalties. Senior quarterback Andrew Rascoe connected with wide out Bright Amoako for an 18-yard gain on third down to keep FA’s second drive alive. However, York linebacker Ryan Miller sacked Rascoe for a loss, and the drive fizzled at midfield.
A high snap over FA punter CJ Bartlett’s head gave the Cats the ball at the FA-29. York struck quickly as Hogan found split-end Jordan Pidgeon for 20 yards and a personal foul call against the Raiders moved the ball to the FA-4. Kelly finished it off with a 4-yard surge over the right side for a 13-0 lead after one quarter.
After three rushing plays, York went back to the air as Hogan found Pidgeon down the sideline for a 33 yard gain. The Cats topped off the 11-play, 85-yard drive with Hogan finding Wesley Warner over the middle for a 21-yard TD at 4:51 of the second quarter.
Down 20-0 with 3:06 remaining until halftime, Devine Dockery recovered a Kelly fumble near midfield. FA was unable to move the ball against the stout York defense.
“What was frustrating was that we had things there. We did not execute. We needed all 11 guys to execute, and for most of the day, we didn’t get that. Mistakes here and there not only resulted in no gain, but negative plays,” Coach Turner said. “When you are the aggressor, good things happen. Today, we simply reacted.”
The FA defense stopped York’s first drive of the second half, but a fumble gave the ball right back to the Wildcats at the FA-9. Fullback Miller scored from 2 yards out, and Lawlor tacked on the extra point for a 27-0 York lead.
FA nearly gave the ball away again on their next possession by lineman Kevin Reardon pounced on the loose ball with 3:13 left in the third.
York kept the ball on the ground for eight straight plays, moving from the Y-27 to the FA-36 as Miller hammered forward for an 11 yard gain and Kelly ripped off a 14 yard gain. Faced with third down and a yard to go, the Raiders brought their defense up tight, looking to stop the run. York, however, pulled a fast one as Hogan found Bock all alone down the middle of the field for a 36-yard TD with 10:23 left. Lawlor added the point after for a 34-0 lead.
“When you’re down and trying to make a play, you get overly aggressive and don’t stick with your assignment. That was a great call. We had a couple of breakdowns that really hurt,” Coach Turner said.
Now, the question is how will the Raiders respond with a big road game Saturday against another physical team — Westbrook?
“We need to focus on what we do well and what we can control. Last year, we got hit in the mouth by York and played well the next week,” Coach Turner said. “We’re going to get hit in the mouth again next week, and I hope we respond better than we did this week.”
When Coach Turner talks about intensity, he prefers his team to channel their energy into hard hits, not the “rah-rah” type of intensity “which we spend too much time talking on the field.”
“It is not an intensity that involves the volume of your team, but it is the focus — doing your assignment — that will make you competitive,” he said.
What kind of intensity the Raiders bring Saturday will be answered at game time —1:30 p.m. at Westbrook.
First Downs: FA 5, Y 15
Penalties: FA 6-37, Y 7-75
Rushing: FA 25-73, Y 5-220
Passing: FA 6-10-37, Y 7-15-142
FA rushing: Devine Dockery 8-38, Andrew Rascoe 8-4, Kyle Bonner 2-3, Zach Sheehan 3-23, Ben Southwick 2-2, Matt Boucher 2-3
FA tackles (solo, assist, total): Ryan Buzzell 3-1-4, Ian MacFawn 4-2-6, Zach Sheehan 3-3-6, Bright Amoako 4-1-5, Kyle Bonner 5-2-7, Devine Dockery 5-3-8, Greg Harmon 3-3-6, Brandon Ludwig 2-0-2, Sulo Burbank 0-1-1, Rod Desroche 0-2-2, Kevin Reardon 3-1-4, CJ Bartlett 1-0-1, Jake Thurston 1-2-3, Andrew Lyman 2-0-2, Winston Richards 1-0-1, Ben Southwick 1-0-1, Willy MacFawn 1-2-3, Ryan Gullikson 1-2-3.
FA fumble recoveries: Dockery, Ludwig