Raiders fend off early Laker challenge, secure home playoff berth

UPENDED — Lake Region running back Lexus Rodriguez is upended by Fryeburg Academy cornerback Ryan Gullikson in the regular season finale in Naples last Friday night. The Raiders rallied for a 32-21 victory. (Rivet Photo)

UPENDED — Lake Region running back Lexus Rodriguez is upended by Fryeburg Academy cornerback Ryan Gullikson in the regular season finale in Naples last Friday night. The Raiders rallied for a 32-21 victory. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Ryan Gullikson proved Friday night he can be the most dangerous person on a football field.

Twice, the Raider senior made game-changing plays as Fryeburg Academy (5-3) turned back an inspired Lake Region (1-7) team 32-21 in the regular season finale at Art Kilborn Athletic Complex in Naples.

The FA victory nailed down a home playoff game this Saturday, and made it eight wins in the last nine meetings against their rivals since 2005.

Gullikson returned a first half punt 45 yards for a touchdown to put the Raiders on top at intermission 20-14, then salted away the win with an interception and a 68-yard return for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

“We felt pretty good about the way we were playing,” Lake Region Coach Brian Jahna said. “We knew we had to keep (Ryan) Gullikson in check and, at times tonight, we did with several guys around the ball. But, he managed to get loose a few times and made those plays count.”

GUNNAR HARRIMAN of Lake Region is unable to shake a tackle by Fryeburg Academy lineman Gage Fowler. (Photo by Kevin Murphy) RAIDERS 32 LAKERS 21 First Downs: FA 15, LR 12 Penalties: FA 2-10, LR 3-30 Turnovers: FA 1, LR 1 Rushing: FA 29-194, LR 42-243 FA Rushing: Isaac Wakefield 1-4, Ryan Gullikson 16-150, Cody Gullikson 12-40 LR Rushing: Jordan Williams 12-72, Gunnar Harriman 11-105, Lexus Rodriguez 13-60, Doug Banks 6-6 Passing: FA 12-22-195, LR 3-11-94 FA receiving: Caleb Eklund 3-70, Cody Gullikson 1-23, Cobey Johnson 4-25, Nick L’Heureux-Carland 2-32, Oscar Saunders 2-25 LR receiving: Nick Wandishin 2-83, Marcus DeVoe 1-11 Total Offense: FA 389, LR 337 FA tackles (solo, assist, total): Cody Gullikson 4-4-8, Gage Fowler 4-2-6, Oscar Saunders 4-2-6, Baha Demir 1-2-3, Matt Boucher 6-0-6, Caleb Eklund 3-1-4, Isaac Wakefield 2-3-5, Alex Ehrensberger 3-3-6, Ryan Gullikson 3-0-3, Kevin Ventura 3-0-3, Jahmi Seeley-Brown 1-0-1 Interception: Ryan Gullikson LR tackles (solo, assist, total): Lexus Rodriguez 6-5-11, Dan Neault 0-1-1, Paul Angelone 1-1-2, Jordan Williams 3-5-8, Nick Lepage 2-2-4, Jay Justason 6-4-10, Nick Wandishin 5-1-6, Ben Moen 1-1-2, Gunnar Harriman 2-3-5, Thomas Noble 0-1-1, Andrew Douglass 1-3-4 Fumble recovery: Lexus Rodriguez Up next: Fryeburg Academy (5-3) nailed down the #4 seed in the Class C South Crabtree Standings and will host #5 seed Spruce Mountain (4-4) this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The two clubs did not meet during the regular season, and both teams finished with a Crabtree Index of 107.8125. The Raiders are 2-2 at home this season, while the Phoenix are 2-2 on the road. Points For: FA 222 (27.8 ppg), SM 190 (23.8) Points Against: FA 185 (23.1), SM 196 (24.5) Common Opponents Cape 35, FA 18 — Cape 35, SM 34 Wells 27, SM 6 — FA 28, Wells 26 SM 30, Lakers 21 — FA 32, LR 21 SM 48, GNG 16 — GNG 22, FA 20 SM 20, Poland 6 — FA 38, Poland 20 Yarmouth 29, SM 8 — Y 40, FA 12 Other Opponents Leavitt 48, SM 10 SM 34, Mountain Valley 14 FA 34, Freeport 7 FA 40, Gorham 14 Coach’s Comment: Raider Coach David Turner said the Phoenix like to run some option, which FA saw last Friday night against Lake Region. At times, the Lakers broke some big gainers, which Coach Turner attributed with players failing to “stick with their assignments.” The winner advances to meet the victor of the Yarmouth (#1, 8-0) and Mountain Valley (#8, 2-6) contest.

GUNNAR HARRIMAN of Lake Region is unable to shake a tackle by Fryeburg Academy lineman Gage Fowler. (Photo by Kevin Murphy)
RAIDERS 32
LAKERS 21
First Downs: FA 15, LR 12
Penalties: FA 2-10, LR 3-30
Turnovers: FA 1, LR 1
Rushing: FA 29-194, LR 42-243
FA Rushing: Isaac Wakefield 1-4, Ryan Gullikson 16-150, Cody Gullikson 12-40
LR Rushing: Jordan Williams 12-72, Gunnar Harriman 11-105, Lexus Rodriguez 13-60, Doug Banks 6-6
Passing: FA 12-22-195, LR 3-11-94
FA receiving: Caleb Eklund 3-70, Cody Gullikson 1-23, Cobey Johnson 4-25, Nick L’Heureux-Carland 2-32, Oscar Saunders 2-25
LR receiving: Nick Wandishin 2-83, Marcus DeVoe 1-11
Total Offense: FA 389, LR 337
FA tackles (solo, assist, total): Cody Gullikson 4-4-8, Gage Fowler 4-2-6, Oscar Saunders 4-2-6, Baha Demir 1-2-3, Matt Boucher 6-0-6, Caleb Eklund 3-1-4, Isaac Wakefield 2-3-5, Alex Ehrensberger 3-3-6, Ryan Gullikson 3-0-3, Kevin Ventura 3-0-3, Jahmi Seeley-Brown 1-0-1
Interception: Ryan Gullikson
LR tackles (solo, assist, total): Lexus Rodriguez 6-5-11, Dan Neault 0-1-1, Paul Angelone 1-1-2, Jordan Williams 3-5-8, Nick Lepage 2-2-4, Jay Justason 6-4-10, Nick Wandishin 5-1-6, Ben Moen 1-1-2, Gunnar Harriman 2-3-5, Thomas Noble 0-1-1, Andrew Douglass 1-3-4
Fumble recovery: Lexus Rodriguez
Up next: Fryeburg Academy (5-3) nailed down the #4 seed in the Class C South Crabtree Standings and will host #5 seed Spruce Mountain (4-4) this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The two clubs did not meet during the regular season, and both teams finished with a Crabtree Index of 107.8125.
The Raiders are 2-2 at home this season, while the Phoenix are 2-2 on the road.
Points For: FA 222 (27.8 ppg), SM 190 (23.8)
Points Against: FA 185 (23.1), SM 196 (24.5)
Common Opponents
Cape 35, FA 18 — Cape 35, SM 34
Wells 27, SM 6 — FA 28, Wells 26
SM 30, Lakers 21 — FA 32, LR 21
SM 48, GNG 16 — GNG 22, FA 20
SM 20, Poland 6 — FA 38, Poland 20
Yarmouth 29, SM 8 — Y 40, FA 12
Other Opponents
Leavitt 48, SM 10
SM 34, Mountain Valley 14
FA 34, Freeport 7
FA 40, Gorham 14
Coach’s Comment: Raider Coach David Turner said the Phoenix like to run some option, which FA saw last Friday night against Lake Region. At times, the Lakers broke some big gainers, which Coach Turner attributed with players failing to “stick with their assignments.”
The winner advances to meet the victor of the Yarmouth (#1, 8-0) and Mountain Valley (#8, 2-6) contest.

Fryeburg started quick as Gullikson found daylight to the left side and raced 36 yards before being caught by LR linebacker Jay Justason (10 tackles). Gullikson then connected with Caleb Eklund for 25 more yards before Nick Wandishin made a hit at the LR-13. But, the Laker D rose to the occasion as Lexus Rodriguez dumped Gullikson for no gain and played the pitch play to Cody Gullikson to perfection, stopping the FA running back for a mere two yards. Two pass plays were off the mark, and the Lakers survived the early threat.

With 5:25 left in the quarter, the Lakers were pinned deep in their own territory on a nifty Gullikson punt, which stopped rolling at the LR-6.

Rodriguez gave his club a little breathing room with an eight-yard gain. Speedy Gunnar Harriman bolted like he was shot out of a cannon, hitting a seam on the right side and bolting into the open, making a nice cut down the field to pull away from Ryan Gullikson for an 86-yard touchdown. Marcus DeVoe booted the extra point for a 7-0 LR lead.

“Gunnar and our other running backs showed really good patience and discipline, hitting the holes hard and then showing their speed,” Coach Jahna said.

FA closed the gap four minutes later as Gullikson found his brother, Cody, for a 43-yard strike to the LR-13. On third down, Gullikson found freshman Cobey Johnson on a quick hitter from six yards out for a score. The two-point pass conversion failed.

Lake Region again found itself near its own goal line courtesy of another good Gullikson punt. From the LR-11, quarterback Doug Banks zipped a ball over the middle to wideout DeVoe for 11 yards on third down to keep the drive alive.

Dipping into their bag of tricks, the Lakers caught the Raiders “biting hard” on what appeared to be a pitch and run by Jordan Williams. But, the senior back — who also has seen time at quarterback — unloaded a pretty deep ball to a wide open Nick Wandishin for 56 yards. Six plays later, Williams and the LR front line pulled a page from a rugby attack playbook, as a pile of blue and gold slowly chugged seven yards with Williams crossing the goal line.

One game official said he was unable to find the ball carrier amongst the sea of blue to declare a touchdown, and had to rely on another line judge to make the call. DeVoe added the extra point for a 14-6 LR lead with 4:26 left until the half.

“Every time I watched them (Lake Region) either on tape or in person, I thought they had really good speed and athleticism. We knew we had to come here ready to play,” FA Coach David Turner said. “While this was a big game in relation to whether we could get a home playoff game, our focus was on Lake Region. We knew we had to play a solid 48 minutes against our rival, and we expected it to be a real battle. And it was.”

#9 then put on a show over the final four minutes.

Gullikson moved his team 80 yards in eight plays and 3 minutes, 19 seconds, finding end Nick L’Heureux-Carland on a slant for a nine-yard TD. The senior signal caller completed four straight passes, including 21 and 24 yards to Eklund.

LR stopped the two-point run by Gullikson as Justason, Harriman and Rodriguez combined to make the stop.

Although the Lakers had good field position to start their final drive of the half — at the 30 following a squib kick recovered by True Meyers — they were unable to move the ball or run enough time off the clock as Harriman was chopped down for a nine-yard loss on a quick pitch play by FA lineman Gage Fowler.

From the LR-22 with just 22.2 seconds left, LR punter Marcus DeVoe drove the ball close to midfield, playable to Ryan Gullikson.

Big mistake.

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS — With 1.8 seconds left on the clock, Lake Region Coach Brian Jahna called a timeout so he could give his seniors, including Lexus Rodriguez, their moment to be saluted by LR fans. (Rivet Photo) (Lake Region leads the series 20-16-1) 2015 Fryeburg Academy 32, Lake Region 21 2014 No game, exhibition 2013 No game, exhibition 2012 Fryeburg Academy 40, Lake Region 27 2011 Fryeburg Academy 20, Lake Region 16 2010 Lake Region 27, Fryeburg Academy 6 2009 Fryeburg Academy 28, Lake Region 22 2008 Fryeburg Academy 46, Lake Region 14 2007 Fryeburg Academy 32, Lake Region 0 2006 Fryeburg Academy 32, Lake Region 26 OT 2005 Fryeburg Academy 14, Lake Region 6 2004 Lake Region 38, Fryeburg Academy 8 2003 Lake Region 36, Fryeburg Academy 14 2002 Lake Region 51, Fryeburg Academy 6 2001 Lake Region 30, Fryeburg Academy 7 2000 Fryeburg Academy 48, Lake Region 8 1999 Lake Region 34, Fryeburg Academy 8 1998 Fryeburg Academy 22, Lake Region 20 1997 Lake Region 14, Fryeburg Academy 12 1996 Fryeburg Academy 20, Lake Region 12  1995 Fryeburg Academy 12, Lake Region 7 1994 Lake Region 19, Fryeburg Academy 16 1993 Did Not Play 1992 Fryeburg Academy 21, Lake Region 8 1991 Lake Region 14, Fryeburg Academy 12 1990 Did Not Play 1989 Lake Region 21, Fryeburg Academy 12 1988 Lake Region 39, Fryeburg Academy 0 1987 Fryeburg Academy 27, Lake Region 18 1986 Lake Region 20, Fryeburg Academy 6 1985 Lake Region 13, Fryeburg Academy 8 1984 Lake Region 21, Fryeburg Academy 8 1983 Lake Region 14, Fryeburg Academy 12 1982 Lake Region 41, Fryeburg Academy 14 1981 Lake Region 32, Fryeburg Academy 20 1980 Fryeburg Academy 28, Lake Region 14 1979 Fryeburg Academy 13, Lake Region 6 1978 Lake Region 8, Fryeburg Academy 0 1977 Lake Region 40, Fryeburg Academy 0 1976 Tie: Fryeburg Academy 6, Lake Region 6 1975 Lake Region 27, Fryeburg Academy 8 1974 Did Not Play  1973 Did Not Play

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS — With 1.8 seconds left on the clock, Lake Region Coach Brian Jahna called a timeout so he could give his seniors, including Lexus Rodriguez, their moment to be saluted by LR fans. (Rivet Photo)
(Lake Region leads the series 20-16-1)
2015 Fryeburg Academy 32, Lake Region 21
2014 No game, exhibition
2013 No game, exhibition
2012 Fryeburg Academy 40, Lake Region 27
2011 Fryeburg Academy 20, Lake Region 16
2010 Lake Region 27, Fryeburg Academy 6
2009 Fryeburg Academy 28, Lake Region 22
2008 Fryeburg Academy 46, Lake Region 14
2007 Fryeburg Academy 32, Lake Region 0
2006 Fryeburg Academy 32, Lake Region 26 OT
2005 Fryeburg Academy 14, Lake Region 6
2004 Lake Region 38, Fryeburg Academy 8
2003 Lake Region 36, Fryeburg Academy 14
2002 Lake Region 51, Fryeburg Academy 6
2001 Lake Region 30, Fryeburg Academy 7
2000 Fryeburg Academy 48, Lake Region 8
1999 Lake Region 34, Fryeburg Academy 8
1998 Fryeburg Academy 22, Lake Region 20
1997 Lake Region 14, Fryeburg Academy 12
1996 Fryeburg Academy 20, Lake Region 12
1995 Fryeburg Academy 12, Lake Region 7
1994 Lake Region 19, Fryeburg Academy 16
1993 Did Not Play
1992 Fryeburg Academy 21, Lake Region 8
1991 Lake Region 14, Fryeburg Academy 12
1990 Did Not Play
1989 Lake Region 21, Fryeburg Academy 12
1988 Lake Region 39, Fryeburg Academy 0
1987 Fryeburg Academy 27, Lake Region 18
1986 Lake Region 20, Fryeburg Academy 6
1985 Lake Region 13, Fryeburg Academy 8
1984 Lake Region 21, Fryeburg Academy 8
1983 Lake Region 14, Fryeburg Academy 12
1982 Lake Region 41, Fryeburg Academy 14
1981 Lake Region 32, Fryeburg Academy 20
1980 Fryeburg Academy 28, Lake Region 14
1979 Fryeburg Academy 13, Lake Region 6
1978 Lake Region 8, Fryeburg Academy 0
1977 Lake Region 40, Fryeburg Academy 0
1976 Tie: Fryeburg Academy 6, Lake Region 6
1975 Lake Region 27, Fryeburg Academy 8
1974 Did Not Play
1973 Did Not Play

Gullikson made a couple of quick cuts and then dashed right for a 45-yard kick return. He then hooked up with Eklund on the two-point conversion pass, and FA suddenly took the air out of the Lakers’ sail, 20-14.

“They (Lake Region) tried to run the clock out, but we made some big stops and had enough time make a big play,” Coach Turner said. “I really didn’t think they would kick it to us when we put Ryan back there.”

The plan was to kick the ball away from the dangerous Gullikson, LR Coach Jahna said. “But, we obviously didn’t execute it right and it hurt us,” he said.

Banks nearly had the Lakers stealing the momentum right back when he sailed a deep ball down the sideline to Wandishin for 27 yards to the FA-35. LR tried a field goal with 1.3 seconds left, but the attempt by DeVoe was wide left.

Ultimately, the game was decided in the third quarter.

Twice, the Lakers faced critical drives, and twice the Raiders made big plays to stay ahead on the scoreboard.

First, the Lakers moved the ball well on the ground to open the period, advancing into Raider territory. On fourth down, Rodriguez got the call on a pitch play, but fell a yard short after a hard hit by Cody Gullikson (team leading eight tackles on the night).

FA cashed in as Ryan Gullikson scampered 23 yards before Rodriguez brought him down inside the red zone. LR was later whistled for a facemask penalty, setting the Raiders up at the LR-7. Cody Gullikson banged ahead off tackle for the score, but his two-point run was stuffed by Justason.

Again, the Lakers drove into Raider turf as Rodriguez rushed three times for 25 yards. Banks looked for DeVoe near the sideline, but the pass fell incomplete. LR tried again, but this time Ryan Gullikson saw Banks was locked in on DeVoe, surged ahead and picked the pass off. Gullikson beat LR defenders down the sideline for a 68-yard TD return to put FA up 32-14 with 2:39 left in the third quarter.

“Ryan had a chance to redeem himself after they completed that halfback pass, which he came up strong on thinking it was going to be a run,” Coach Turner said. “He’s aggressive, and always looking to make a play.”

Refusing to mail it in, the Lakers responded with a 65-yard, eight-play drive with Williams following strong lead blocks by Mark Mayo and Jay Justason to rumble 12 yards for a score on the first play of the fourth quarter. DeVoe added the extra point.

Big plays in the drive included an 11-yard run by Rodriguez and a 23-yard burst by Williams to the FA -12 before freshman Oscar Saunders just managed to trip up the LR senior back, making a saving tackle.

If Gullikson had one blemish on his final trip to Laker Land, it came with 7:11 left in the contest. With the Raiders driving following a 15-yard catch by Saunders and an 11-yard run by Cody Gullikson, Ryan G. scooted straight ahead, eyeing the end zone when suddenly the ball popped free. Rodriguez recovered at the LR-8.

LR saw a big run on third down by Williams erased by a holding call, and FA linebacker Matt Boucher stopped Banks for a two-yard gain to the LR-11 on third down. LR Coach Jahna decided to kick the ball away, rather than try for the first down with 4:46 left.

“At that point, our guys had really fought hard and I didn’t want the game to get away from them. If we turned the ball over deeper in our own end with that much time left, I know they would have a better chance to score,” he said.

Lake Region would not touch the ball again as the Raiders — who gave senior lineman Isaac Wakefield a chance to run (he gained 4 yards) — drove to the LR-4 as Cody Gullikson rushed for five yards before Williams stopped him.

With the Raiders content to let the clock run out, Coach Jahna called a timeout with 1.8 seconds left. He called for his seniors to exit the game, giving each a hug before they reached the sideline.

“I wanted to give the seniors a chance to be recognized by the crowd because they have worked very hard this season,” Coach Jahna said. “I’ve been with them for a long time, and wanted to thank them and show our fans how much I appreciated their efforts over the years.”

 

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