Raiders unable to control the line, Oceanside rolls 38-34

 

JUST LATE FOR A SACK — Fryeburg Academy lineman David McLaughlin arrives just a bit late in an  attempt to sack Oceanside quarterback Hunter Grindle. (Rivet Photo) OCEANSIDE 38 RAIDERS 34 First Downs: FA 13, O 13 Penalties: FA 11-102, O 13-105 Rushing: FA 43-292, O 50-272 Passing: FA 3-9-62, O 1-5-29 Total Offense: FA 354, O 301 Individual Rushing: FA, Ryan Gullikson 17-143, Billy Rascoe 14-72, Ryan Buzzell 4-34, Ben Southwick 7-35, Cody Loewe 1-8; O Hunter Grindle 13-75, Henry Berry 2-5, Isaiah Green 8-14, Garrett Burns 16-90, Preston Spear 11-88 Receiving: FA, Ryan Buzzell 1-3, Brandon Ludwig 1-14, Ben Southwick 1-45; O Logan Finnegan 1-29 FA Tackles (solo, assist, total): David McLaughlin 3-3-6, Billy Rascoe 0-3-3, Greg Sargent 3-0-3, Ben Southwick 3-1-4, Brandon Ludwig 6-3-9, Willy Macfawn 3-6-9, Matt Boucher 2-1-3, Cody Loewe 0-1-1, Greg Harmon 4-4-8, Ryan Buzzell 2-1-3, Kyle Provencher 3-0-3, Andrew Lyman 2-0-2

JUST LATE FOR A SACK — Fryeburg Academy lineman David McLaughlin arrives just a bit late in an attempt to sack Oceanside quarterback Hunter Grindle. (Rivet Photo)
OCEANSIDE 38
RAIDERS 34
First Downs: FA 13, O 13
Penalties: FA 11-102, O 13-105
Rushing: FA 43-292, O 50-272
Passing: FA 3-9-62, O 1-5-29
Total Offense: FA 354, O 301
Individual Rushing: FA, Ryan Gullikson 17-143, Billy Rascoe 14-72, Ryan Buzzell 4-34, Ben Southwick 7-35, Cody Loewe 1-8; O Hunter Grindle 13-75, Henry Berry 2-5, Isaiah Green 8-14, Garrett Burns 16-90, Preston Spear 11-88
Receiving: FA, Ryan Buzzell 1-3, Brandon Ludwig 1-14, Ben Southwick 1-45; O Logan Finnegan 1-29
FA Tackles (solo, assist, total): David McLaughlin 3-3-6, Billy Rascoe 0-3-3, Greg Sargent 3-0-3, Ben Southwick 3-1-4, Brandon Ludwig 6-3-9, Willy Macfawn 3-6-9, Matt Boucher 2-1-3, Cody Loewe 0-1-1, Greg Harmon 4-4-8, Ryan Buzzell 2-1-3, Kyle Provencher 3-0-3, Andrew Lyman 2-0-2

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — In a wild game that featured back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns, over 200 yards in penalties, nearly 500 yards of rushing and a late hail Mary completion, Coach David Turner boiled it down to one simple line.

“We got beat upfront,” said the Fryeburg Academy coach, whose Raiders fell short against Oceanside Saturday, 38-34.

The Raiders (1-4) never led against the Mariners, fighting an uphill battle all afternoon. Yet, Coach Turner’s club was in position to pull the carpet from underneath Oceanside like a week ago when they stunned Morse with a late score.

This time, the comeback kids ran out of magic.

Sophomore quarterback Ryan Gullikson was Fryeburg’s best running weapon, gaining 143 yards on 17 carries. Down four points, Gullikson appeared to keep a potential winning drive alive when he squirted off left tackle for first down yardage at the O-27 with 1:40 left in the game.

But, Oceanside senior linebacker Garrett Burns jarred the ball loose with a hit from the side. Defensive back Gabe Robinson recovered.

“The kid made a good play on the ball,” Coach Turner said. “That play at the end did not lose the game. It would have bailed us out of a very sub-par performance on both sides of the ball.”

After being pushed around for most of the day, the Raider defense buckled down and stopped the Mariners cold. Taking over at their own 45, the Raiders hoped to catch some type of break with 4.2 seconds left. Gullikson launched a deep pass, which was plucked away from a Mariner defender by Ben Southwick at the O-15, but time expired.

The Mariners celebrated their first win.

Coach Turner didn’t have to wonder what went wrong. He knew exactly why his Raiders dropped a winnable game.

“We are not a terribly emotional group, especially our linemen. You don’t want fake enthusiasm, because that’s not who they are. You do want to see them playing hard. Today, defensively, we just stood up. They came right at us, we stood up, and when the defensive man stands up, the offensive man wins. We let them come to us. Against the double-wing formation, we told our guys to stay low. We weren’t aggressive,” Coach Turner said. “Flip it over to the other side of the ball (offensively), it was the same thing. We had everything there. We just played very passively.”

He added, “Usually, you pull your guard and tackle on the counters. They didn’t do that. They just ran right at us. The reason they won the game was they ran dive and wedge blocking right at us. They beat us on the line. When your linemen are being pushed back up into your linebackers, you have problems.”

Not bad for an offense Oceanside Coach Wes Drinkwater installed just four days earlier. After trying some exotic formations, the Mariners may have found an identity thanks to the Raiders.

BALL IS OUT — After picking up a first down during a fourth quarter drive, FA quarterback Ryan Gullikson had the ball knocked out of his arm by Oceanside's Garrett Burns. (Rivet Photo)

BALL IS OUT — After picking up a first down during a fourth quarter drive, FA quarterback Ryan Gullikson had the ball knocked out of his arm by Oceanside's Garrett Burns. (Rivet Photo)

Oceanside took an 8-0 lead with 3:53 left in the first as Burns (16 carries, 90 yards) scored from five yards out. The big play on the 11-play, 64-yard drive was a 29-yard completion from Hunter Grindle to Logan Finnegan to the FA-16. It was the lone Oceanside completion on the day. After a steady dose of inside rushes off the double-wing formation, Grindle sprinted out right and unloaded a deep ball, which Finnegan caught over a FA defender.

The Mariners went up 16-0 on Burns’ second TD, a 13-yard run on a counter play. The score was set up by a pass interference call against Fryeburg.

The Raiders finally got on the board at 6:40 of the second quarter on a Gullikson 10-yard run, completing a 67-yard drive. Ben Southwick rushed for 10 yards and Billy Rascoe gained 19 yards, most on a good second effort after some initial hits.

Oceanside turned the ball over twice, once on an interception over the middle by Brandon Ludwig. Later, the Mariners misfired on an inside pitch, and FA junior Kyle Provencher recovered at the O-47. The Raiders cashed in when Ryan Buzzell found some daylight on an option play, good for 29 yards, setting up Gullikson’s nine-yard TD run. Running behind Sulo Burbank, Rascoe added the two-point conversion to draw FA closer, 16-14.

Then, the offensive fireworks ignited.

On Oceanside’s first touch, Preston Spear hit a gaping hole off tackle and broke free for a 42-yard TD. The Mariners had good field position courtesy an unsportsmanlike penalty (taunting) against the Raiders following a tackle along the sideline on the kickoff.

Down 24-14, Ben Southwick stole the Mariners’ thunder with an electric 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, Spear showed his speed, scooping the ball up at the 10-yard line and putting on the burners, good for a 90-yard score.

Oceanside 30, Fryeburg 22.

“It was a great kick (by Brandon Ludwig), pooched to a spot where there was nobody, but then our contain man comes inside, which he isn’t supposed to, we don’t stay in our lanes, and a missed tackle, he’s gone. Very frustrating. It was that way all day. They always had an answer when we got close,” Coach Turner said.

After stopping the Mariners on four plays to start the second half, Fryeburg again closed to within two points as Southwick scored from six yards out, capping a 55-yard drive.

WRAPPED UP — Fryeburg Academy's Matt Boucher (right) tackles Oceanside's Logan Finnegan after a catch. (Rivet Photo)

WRAPPED UP — Fryeburg Academy's Matt Boucher (right) tackles Oceanside's Logan Finnegan after a catch. (Rivet Photo)

Unable to stop Oceanside’s rushing attack, led by nimble senior quarterback Hunter Grindle, the Mariners marched down the field, taking seven minutes 58 seconds off the clock. Grindle gained 21 yards off a scramble to put the ball in the red zone. Good luck followed Oceanside as a fumble bounced away from a Raider defender and was smothered by O-lineman Thomas Curtis. Grindle scored from a yard out on a fourth down play to start the fourth quarter. Spear added the two-point conversion to make it 38-28.

Ultimately, Oceanside’s proficiency on PATs proved to be the difference. The Mariners were 4-of-5 on PAT attempts, while the Raiders were 2-of-5.

Fryeburg answered with a 69-yard, 12-play scoring drive with 6:57 left. Gullikson connected with Ludwig for a 14-yard gain over the middle and Rascoe bowled ahead for 14 yards on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Buzzell finished the drive with a score from four yards out.

Oceanside looked to run out the clock, but were stopped inside Raider territory as Buzzell dropped Grindle for a four-yard loss, and senior Greg Harmon pressured Grindle into an intentional grounding penalty on fourth down.

Fryeburg had a good shot to wipe away a frustrating afternoon with a late scoring drive, but came up short.

“As poorly as things went, we were able to stay close and in the end had the football with two minutes left and a chance to win the game,” Coach Turner said. “I have a lot of confidence in our two-minute drill and really thought we would go down and score.”

While Oceanside was hungry to win their first game, it appeared the Raiders may have suffered from the Fair Effect.

“It’s not an excuse, but we acted like we were exhausted. We thought we were going to be the ones that were going to tire them out. We thought we would wear them down. We were tired early,” Coach Turner said. “They hadn’t won, but we had won just once. We told them all week, ‘They are just like us.’ They have had injuries too. We didn’t have a whole lot of effort up front. That was the difference.”

Certainly, the Raiders produced enough offensively to win their second game of the year, but were unable to stop the Mariners.

“34 points should win you a game. If someone tells me we are going to score 34 points, I am feeling pretty good about our chances of winning the game,” Coach Turner said. “Today, we couldn’t stop them. Our defense is better than that.”

Next: The Raiders travel to Falmouth Friday night to play the Yachtsmen at 7 p.m. Falmouth is 3-2, coming off a 44-22 loss to Westbrook. Falmouth beat Gorham 48-0, Morse 7-0 and Oceanside 55-6. The other loss came at the hands of York, 34-0.

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