Rascoe’s escapability leads Raiders to Cup victory

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Every day in preseason, Bobby Ramsay reminded himself and his Raider teammates of the pounding they took in their last football game of the 2010 season.

Lake Region 27, Fryeburg Academy 6.

For the first time in five years, the Pleasant Mountain Cup failed to reside in Fryeburg. Instead, the Cup graced Lake Region’s trophy case and was proudly displayed by LR players along the sideline during pre-game introductions.

Ramsay, however, would exact a little revenge.

The senior linebacker delivered a pad-popping hit on Lake Region running back Cody Gibbons, sending him backwards for a two-yard loss with 1:12 left in the game as Fryeburg thwarted a late threat to hold onto a 20-16 victory Friday afternoon at the Academy.

The Lakers had a shot at a victory when Gibbons returned a punt 27 yards along the sidelines, giving his club excellent field position (the FA 32) with 2:16 remaining. After a holding call, the Lakers gained a first down when Fryeburg was whistled for a pass interference call on a ball thrown from reserve quarterback Mike Triglione to end Lewis Morton. With a fresh set of downs, LR slowly crept closer to the red zone as Triglione picked up four yards.

The Raiders appeared to seal the win when senior Tyler Nadeau stripped the football out of LR running back Kyle Stevens’ hands and FA teammate Ryan Buzzell recovered the ball with 1:14 left.

But, game officials ruled that since no one wearing a pinstriped shirt actually saw Buzzell recover the ball, the play was blown dead — Laker ball.

The call seemed to fire up, not deflate the Raider defense.

“It got us really fired up,” said Ramsay, who had a game-high 11 tackles from his linebacker position. “Obviously, we didn’t like the call, but it energized us and pulled us together.”

Ramsay said his teammates in the trenches “did a great job getting their blockers down” which allowed him to deliver a big hit as Gibbons (the game’s leading rusher with 123 yards on 21 carries) tried to hurdle the pile, needing just three yards for another first down.

“I got a free shot on him, and made a good tackle,” Ramsay said. “After what happened to us last year, we were fired up for this game and pulled it out.”

Faced with fourth down, the Lakers hoped to catch the Raiders over-pursuing and ran Triglione the other way. The call failed as Kevin Reardon and CJ Bartlett played it perfectly, dropping Triglione for a five-yard loss with 52.1 seconds.

“I’m really proud of how our guys responded after that call. They could have caved and hung their heads because they were tired and felt the game was over. But, they played with a lot of emotion and made two great plays to win the game,” FA Coach David Turner said. “That’s the kind of intensity we need to play with from start to finish.”

Fryeburg took a 6-0 lead with 6:06 left in the first quarter as sophomore running back Devine Dockery (12 carries, 80 yards) finished off a seven-play drive with an 8-yard run behind a nice block off tackle by Reardon. The 56-yard drive included a 13-yard scamper by Kyle Bonner and a 21-yard completion from quarterback Andrew Rascoe to Dockery.

Rascoe tried to run for the two-point conversion, but was stopped short by LR linebacker James Anderson.

Lake Region muscled its way to an 8-6 lead by pounding the ball from the Wing-T. Gibbons ripped Stevens and Gibbons each ripped off 22-yard gains, and Gibbons added a run of 12 to move the ball to the FA 9. Gibbons lost the handle on the next play, but teammate Derek Douglass pounced on the loose ball. Jacob Anderson scored on the next play from 4 yards out, and Gibbons added a two-point run with 2:56 left in the first quarter.

While the Laker ground-and-pound offense chewed up a lot of time throughout the game, Fryeburg quarterback Andrew Rascoe struck like lightning — dazzling and electric.

Facing a 2nd-and-14 call, Rascoe scrambled to the right, couldn’t find a receiver and bolted back left, cutting through the Laker defense until he discovered daylight to the outside, scoring on a 54-yard run. A two-point conversion pass from Rascoe to Bonner was broken up by LR’s Triglione.

“Our receivers did a nice job of spreading their defense out and I got some great blocking from the guys up front, which gave me a chance to take off,” the junior quarterback said. “I got a great block downfield by Ryan Buzzell on their corner.”

Down 12-8, Lake Region seemed poised to retake the lead as Gibbons snapped off a 23-yard run, showing good patience behind his blockers. But, the drive would stall at the start of the second quarter when quarterback Ryan Skillern lost the handle and the ball was recovered by FA junior Ian McFawn.

Turnovers plagued the Lakers for the rest of the half as Skillern was intercepted twice — both by FA senior Tyler Nadeau. The more costly pick came in the closing minutes of the half as Skillern tried to go deep down the middle to Triglione near the endzone. Both Triglione and Nadeau jumped high for the ball, and Nadeau won the battle for possession as the players landed in the endzone — touchback, Fryeburg.

Fryeburg jumped ahead 20-8, scoring on the first possession of the second half. The Lakers brought plenty of heat and forced a holding penalty, creating a 3rd-and-11 at the FA-47. Rascoe hooked up with Bonner for 8 yards, setting up a manageable fourth down call. Dockery broke free off left tackle, and then beat LR linebacker James Anderson down the sideline for a 45-yard TD run. Rascoe added the two-point conversion with nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Fryeburg had a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Lakers when Rascoe (11 carries, 120 yards) zipped through the defense for 66 yards, only to be caught from behind by Stevens, who never gave up on the play, making a saving tackle at the LR-4.

“Sometimes, if there is nothing there (passing), it’s a good idea to run. It worked out well today,” Rascoe said. “This is just my second year, so I’m still learning.”

Stevens’ hustle proved to be huge. In shotgun formation, a high snap sailed over Rascoe’s head for a 17-yard loss. LR lineman Kamen Scott then sacked Rascoe for an 11-yard loss. Bonner made a nice diving catch for 32 yards, putting the ball on the LR-5, but Rascoe was intercepted by James Anderson at the LR-1 on fourth down.

The Lakers dug out of the hole as Stevens ripped off 14 yards followed by gains of 28 by James Anderson and 20 by Gibbons.

FA, however, broke the Wing-T by some aggressive play from CJ Bartlett and Kirk Hubbard, who tackled LR runners from the backside to stall the nearly six-minute drive.

“We had talked to the kids about not over-pursuing plays, but I guess that made us a little too passive, at first,” Coach Turner said. “I thought their (LR) backs did a great job being patient for the hole to open up and then make cut backs.”

A FA fumble and recovery by Scott with 9:36 left in the game gave the Lakers new life. From the FA-41, 10 rushes produced a 1-yard plunge by James Anderson with 3:35 left. Triglione’s keeper added two more points, trimming the FA lead to 20-16.

Lake Region would get no closer.

“I’m proud of our kids and the way they battled all game. We’re a young team, and we made some mistakes that were tough to overcome today,” LR Coach Jason Simmons said. “I couldn’t ask any more from these kids. We had some players out (due to ineligibility), which forced some kids to play more than I would have liked. It was tough, but they did their best. I am really happy with the fire our kids played with.”

Up next

Fryeburg Academy (1-0) travels to Gray-New Gloucester Friday night to meet the Patriots at 7 p.m. Gray-NG was hammered by Falmouth 65-0 in the opener. The Raiders beat Gray on their home turf last year 36-6.

Lake Region (0-1) hosts Greely (0-1) this Friday at 7 p.m. at Art Kilborn Athletic Field. Greely lost a 22-20 decision to Spruce Mountain (Jay/Livermore) after a 2-point pass sailed high following a touchdown with 7.3 seconds left in the game.

The Rangers led 14-0 at halftime behind the 1-2 punch of quarterback Drew Hodge and running back Mike Leeman. The Rangers will pressure the Laker’s outside players with their option attack. Leeman scored on runs of 18 and 76 yards. Greely also scored on a 48-yard kickoff return by Nick Maynard, who caught Hodge’s throw with a diving catch in the final seconds.

Cup update: Since 1973, Lake Region leads the series against the Raiders 20-14-1.

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