Raiders control the trenches, roll past Poland

CODY GULLIKSON rushed for a career-best 170 yards against Poland. (Rivet Photo)

CODY GULLIKSON rushed for a career-best 170 yards against Poland. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Ryan Gullikson has that special it factor that makes him dangerous on the football field.

It could be athleticism, a combination of vision and speed that enables him to turn a play headed for no gain or a loss into a big gain or even a touchdown.

While Fryeburg Academy Coach David Turner certainly agrees his senior quarterback is both gifted and athletic, he believes what separates Gullikson from others is his refusal to be stopped.

It = Relentless

“Ryan is just so relentless — that’s the way he is. I try to tell him at times to take what you can get and don’t take an extra shot, but he makes those sort of plays that I’d like to say we taught him, but we haven’t. They are all him just being persistent and relentless, which you can’t teach that stuff,” Coach Turner said. “We can call a play and it breaks down, but he never stops.”

Gullikson left Poland defenders shaking their heads Saturday as he rushed for two scores and passed for two touchdowns to lead Fryeburg Academy to a convincing 38-21 victory.

The win elevated the Raiders (3-3) to sixth in the Crabtree Rankings, ahead of the Knights (2-4).

With the Raiders down a few players due to injury, Gullikson put the game on his shoulders, rushing for 144 yards on 22 carries, while also connecting for 100 yards passing. His first toss of the day was a slant pass that initially hit receiver Nick L’Heureux-Carland in the chest area and bounced into the air only for the senior to corral it in traffic, breaking the grip of a Knight defender and then sprinting 50 yards for a score less than two minutes into the game.

While the Knights keyed on Ryan, sophomore running back Cody Gullikson had himself a career day, torching the Poland defense for 170 yards on 25 carries — a 6.8 yard per carry clip. Some yards came tougher than others as the young Gullikson took several hard shots from Poland linebacker John Fossett and Alex Thibault.

NICK L'HEUREUX-CARLAND manages to haul in a quick slant pass and converted it into a touchdown. (Rivet Photo) RAIDERS 38 POLAND 21 First Downs: FA 15, POL 14 Penalties: FA 4-30, POL 3-20 Turnovers: FA 1, POL 3 Rushing: FA 47-314, POL 36-176 Raider Rushing: Cody Gullikson 25-170, Ryan Gullikson 22-144 Poland Rushing: Gawain Tibbetts 1-2, Patrick Jacques 14-59, Kaleb Irizarry 15-72, Andrew Demers 6-19, John Fossett 3-minus 1, Yvon Desmarais 2-25 Passing: FA, R. Gullikson, 7-13-100; POL 3-12-42 Raider Receiving: Nick L’Heureux-Carland 2-67, Scott Parker 2-7, Caleb Eklund 3-26 Poland Receiving: Yvon Desmarais 1-10, Quinn Callahan 1-11, Aaron Paradis 1-21 Total Offense: FA 414, POL 218 Raider Tackles (solo, assist, total): Reese Kneissler 0-2-2, Alex Ehrensberger 1-4-5, Cody Gullikson 3-8-11, Nick L’Heureux-Carland 2-2-4, Caleb Eklund 4-2-6, Oscar Saunders 3-1-4, Scott Parker 2-2-4, Isaac Wakefield 3-2-5, Gage Fowler 3-2-5, Baha Demir 4-2-6, Ryan Gullikson 4-0-4, Matt Boucher 1-2-3 Up next: The Raiders host Gorham (0-6) this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. FA Coach David Turner will have his club on upset alert against the Rams. “They are in Class B West, so they have faced some tough competition. We are going to have to be ready for them. We were there last year. Some of those teams just have more depth that they can throw at you, so it’s tough.” The Rams have been outscored by its opposition 268-32 and have been shutout twice.

NICK L'HEUREUX-CARLAND manages to haul in a quick slant pass and converted it into a touchdown. (Rivet Photo)
RAIDERS 38
POLAND 21
First Downs: FA 15, POL 14
Penalties: FA 4-30, POL 3-20
Turnovers: FA 1, POL 3
Rushing: FA 47-314, POL 36-176
Raider Rushing: Cody Gullikson 25-170, Ryan Gullikson 22-144
Poland Rushing: Gawain Tibbetts 1-2, Patrick Jacques 14-59, Kaleb Irizarry 15-72, Andrew Demers 6-19, John Fossett 3-minus 1, Yvon Desmarais 2-25
Passing: FA, R. Gullikson, 7-13-100; POL 3-12-42
Raider Receiving: Nick L’Heureux-Carland 2-67, Scott Parker 2-7, Caleb Eklund 3-26
Poland Receiving: Yvon Desmarais 1-10, Quinn Callahan 1-11, Aaron Paradis 1-21
Total Offense: FA 414, POL 218
Raider Tackles (solo, assist, total): Reese Kneissler 0-2-2, Alex Ehrensberger 1-4-5, Cody Gullikson 3-8-11, Nick L’Heureux-Carland 2-2-4, Caleb Eklund 4-2-6, Oscar Saunders 3-1-4, Scott Parker 2-2-4, Isaac Wakefield 3-2-5, Gage Fowler 3-2-5, Baha Demir 4-2-6, Ryan Gullikson 4-0-4, Matt Boucher 1-2-3
Up next: The Raiders host Gorham (0-6) this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. FA Coach David Turner will have his club on upset alert against the Rams.
“They are in Class B West, so they have faced some tough competition. We are going to have to be ready for them. We were there last year. Some of those teams just have more depth that they can throw at you, so it’s tough.”
The Rams have been outscored by its opposition 268-32 and have been shutout twice.

Like his brother, Cody also played with a level of “persistence” that left Coach Turner very proud of the effort put forth Saturday.

“Cody’s like Ryan. They refuse to go down. It allows you to make a 4- or 5-yard gain into a 10- to 12-yard gain,” Coach Turner said.

Another shining point was the play of the Raider offensive line.

“I thought we blocked extremely well. The line played well the whole game. We felt they had a tough front, good ends, 42 (linebacker John Fossett) is tough. We had Kevin (Ventura) out so we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to control things, but we did the whole game, particularly the offensive line. Give credit to our line — Tucker Buzzell, Isaac Wakefield, Matt Boucher, Baha Demir and Gage Fowler — they did a great job,” Coach Turner said. “Defensively, we gave up a couple of drives and a kick return, but that’s going to happen when you play a comparable team that runs some difficult stuff. The main thing is we scored, controlled the line of scrimmage, we stopped them early, got up and it allowed us to keep pounding it. Really pleased with the offensive line.”

The Raiders wasted little time putting pressure on the Knights. Up 8-0, the Raider defense held Poland to a three-and-out, then put together a 10-play, 76-yard drive keyed by a fake punt, which Ryan Gullikson coolly fired a pass to L’Heureux-Carland good for 17 yards. Cody G. opened the drive with 12- and 16-yard gains, and Ryan G. closed the deal with runs of 10 and 9 yards for the score.

“It’s (fake punt) a last second call that Coach White makes. If it’s there, we take it. If it isn’t, we kick it,” Coach Turner said. “Not only was it there, but we executed it well.”

Poland’s attempt to answer the Raiders soured when a bobbled pitch to Andrew Demers resulted in a 12-yard loss as FA defender Scott Parker was quick to the ball and made a hit for a big loss.

In the second quarter, Ryan Gullikson picked off a Patrick Jacques pass and returned the ball 34 yards. A steady dose of running plays had the Knights’ secondary creeping closer and closer to the line of scrimmage as the Raiders moved the ball into the red zone. From the P-11, Gullikson flicked a pass to a wide-open Caleb Eklund for a TD with 3:47 left until the half. Parker made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch in the left corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion.

The Raider defense was unable to stifle Poland in its two-minute drill as Jacques completed his first pass, an 11-yard gain to Quinn Callahan with 1:25 left. On a third down play, the Knights finally popped an option pitch for a big gain as Yvon Desmarais broke free to the outside and scampered 26 yards before Ryan Gullikson made a saving tackle. Jacques scored from a yard out and Poland booted the extra point to trail 22-7 at the half.

Poland had a chance to make things interesting. The Knights took the opening kickoff and rushed the ball nine times to the FA-31. Faced with a 4th-and-5 call, the Knights went to the option, but this time, the Raiders were ready. Freshman Oscar Saunders made a strong open field hit to drop Desmarais for a three-yard loss.

“That was big because they had scored at the end of the half because we had made a few mistakes, making it a two score game. Even though they moved the ball, we made the big stop when we had to. They ate up five or six minutes, and didn’t score, which was exactly what we wanted — time off the clock,” Coach Turner said.

The missed opportunity proved costly as the Raiders took the ball the other way, drove 66 yards and scored as Gullikson hooked up with Eklund again, this time from 12 yards out. The duo connected for the two-point play to put the Raiders up 30-7. The drive took four minutes off the clock.

Poland kept their faint comeback hopes alive as Jagger Ware scooped up a squib kickoff and returned the ball 85-yards for a TD. Jacques fumbled on the PAT run, recovered by FA lineman Gage Fowler.

As they did all day, the Raiders answered. Ryan Gullikson bobbed to the right off tackle, took a sharp hit and kept his balance, picked up a nice block from L’Heureux-Carland and bolted free for a 57-yard TD run with 1:17 left in the third quarter. Cody Gullikson added the two-point run for a 38-13 lead.

“We didn’t have many running backs available, so Ryan and Cody did a nice job taking some sticks and yet stayed running inside. Cody played a great game. Ryan played a great game. The last touchdown Nick (L’Heureux-Carland) took two kids out which allowed a great run by Ryan,” Coach Turner said. “Ultimately, we controlled the tempo the entire game.”

Poland added a 2-yard TD run by reserve quarterback Gawain Tibbetts with 7:50 left. The seven-play drive covered 39 yards following a Raider fumble.

FA took nearly six minutes off the clock with 10 rushing plays, including a 27-yard scamper on third down by Ryan Gullikson. At the P-6, the Raiders were content to take a knee and run the clock. Poland used a couple of timeouts to stop the clock, and eventually took over at the P-21. But, the Knights saw the game end when Eklund stormed into the backfield and leaped into the air, forcing a bad pass from Jacques, which Cody Gullikson intercepted along the sideline.

Two straight wins put the Raiders at the .500 mark, and moved them up in the playoff hunt.

“We tell the guys every game is big at this point. And, we have to play well in all of them,” Coach Turner said. “What I was particularly proud of today is that we were dealt with some setbacks during the week in terms of players, but were able to overcome it.”

And for the first time in a long time, the Raiders were able to win a football game during Fryeburg Fair week.

“I feel we’ve lost a few games over the years, including way back, because of the distraction of the Fair,” the coach said. “I am sure our guys had their share of French fries, but we were able to take care of business today.”

 

 

 

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