Turnovers erase positive start for Raiders, lose to Greely 38-24

RYAN BUZZELL (#32) intercepts a pass intended for Greely receiver Connor Hanley in the end zone Saturday. (Rivet Photo)

RYAN BUZZELL (#32) intercepts a pass intended for Greely receiver Connor Hanley in the end zone Saturday. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Unfortunately for the Raiders, a game is never won in the first quarter.

Fryeburg Academy had plenty of bounce in their step Saturday afternoon, scoring touchdowns on their first two touches to build a 10-point lead against a quick and talented Greely squad.

But, two interceptions turned the tide as Greely rattled off 20 straight points. The Rangers capitalized on a handful of big plays to down the Raiders 38-24. Fryeburg fell to 0-2.

“The last two weeks, we got off to good starts. We took the opening drive and scored against Kennebunk. Today, we got off to a great start offensively, but hardly a good start defensively. We had huge breakdowns and Greely was right back in the game,” FA Coach David Turner said. “Every single one of their touchdowns we had a mental breakdown. We don’t do things that are terribly complex, but problems that we didn’t have during the week, we had today. It happens. Quite frankly, we gave this one to them.”

The Raiders jumped out to an 8-0 lead as quarterback Ryan Gullikson (8-for-17 for 109 yards) connected on a long toss down the middle to Ryan Buzzell for a 53-yard gain. After two short gains, Gullikson found Cody Loewe for a two-yard catch and stretch over the goal line. Billy Rascoe added the two-point conversion.

Fryeburg was burned by the deep pass three times.

First up was a 60-yard bomb from reserve quarterback Matt Pisini to Connor Hanley. Pisini scooped up a high snap and tossed a dart downfield to Hanley, who was wide open after a FA defensive back seemed to freeze on the play.

“It’s a mental mistake. In reality, as a defensive back, you have nothing to do with a bad snap. It’s man coverage, and you need to stay with your guy,” Coach Turner said. “Guys made mistakes, but they also made some very big plays. We just have to take away from this that we played a good football team, we battled with them, and on this day, we very easily could have beaten them if we hadn’t made so many mistakes.”

JAQUAN CAUSER drops Greely's Matt Pisini for a big loss. (Rivet Photo)

JAQUAN CAUSER drops Greely's Matt Pisini for a big loss. (Rivet Photo)

The Raiders rebounded with a five-play scoring drive, set up by a big kickoff return to the Greely 22. Gullikson again hooked up with Loewe for a six-yard strike and Rascoe added the conversion for a 16-6 Raider lead.

Less than two minutes later, the game was tight once again. Pisini dropped a pass just over the outstretched hands of FA defensive back Ben Southwick to Sam Peck, good for a 56-yard TD. Peck added the two-point conversion run to narrow the gap to 16-14 with 3:46 left in the first quarter.

Greely had a Pisini touchdown taken off the board to start the second quarter as the result of a holding call at the FA-8. On fourth down, Raider lineman David McLaughlin put good pressure on Pisini, forcing an errant toss.

The Rangers went right back to work, however, when Gullikson’s quick pass on a slant pattern was picked off by Greely’s Zach Theriault at the FA-25. The Rangers cashed in as Jonny Burton picked up 14 yards on a QB scramble, and Peck scored from a yard out.

Down 20-16, the Raiders found themselves again in trouble when Gullikson tried to go deeper but his toss was under-thrown and intercepted by John Riolo. Again, the turnover stung the Raiders. William Peck took a reverse and scored from 9 yards out with 3:49 left until halftime, putting Greely up 26-16.

“Against teams like this, you can’t make mistakes and expect to win. They are a good football team — athletic and fast. We just made too many mistakes,” Coach Turner said. “We made some offensively with interceptions, we made a couple of special team blunders, just too many breakdowns.”

 GREELY 38 RAIDERS 24 First Downs: FA 9, GRE 15 Penalties: FA 4-30, GRE 8-80 Rushing: FA 34-127, GRE 37-211 Individual Rushing: FA Billy Rascoe 15-60, Ryan Gullikson 12-23, Ryan Buzzell 6-39, Cody Loewe 1-5; GRE Matt Pisini 4-36, William Peck 7-52, Nick Dubois 2-7, James Ferrar 17-93, Jonny Burton 7-23, Sam Peck 6-29 Passing: FA 8-17-109; GRE 9-16-219 Individual Receiving: FA Ryan Buzzell 3-74, Cody Loewe 4-13, Aaron Ludwig 1-22; GRE Connor Hanley 3-78, Sam Peck 3-92, Matt Pisini 3-49 Total Offense: FA 236, GRE 430 Turnovers: FA 3; GRE 2 Tackles (Solo, assisted, total): FA, Isaac Wakefield 2-0-2, Billy Rascoe 2-3-5, Andrew Lyman 2-5-7, David McLaughlin 4-1-5, Willy Macfawn 3-2-5, Kyle Bennett 2-2-4, Jaquan Causer 2-1-3, Greg Harmon 3-2-5, Aaron Ludwig 3-1-4, Ryan Buzzell 6-1-7, Sulo Burbank 3-1-4, Matt Boucher 1-0-1, Cody Loewe 1-0-1, Greg Sargent 1-1-2, Ben Southwick 0-1-1

GREELY 38
RAIDERS 24
First Downs: FA 9, GRE 15
Penalties: FA 4-30, GRE 8-80
Rushing: FA 34-127, GRE 37-211
Individual Rushing: FA Billy Rascoe 15-60, Ryan Gullikson 12-23, Ryan Buzzell 6-39, Cody Loewe 1-5; GRE Matt Pisini 4-36, William Peck 7-52, Nick Dubois 2-7, James Ferrar 17-93, Jonny Burton 7-23, Sam Peck 6-29
Passing: FA 8-17-109; GRE 9-16-219
Individual Receiving: FA Ryan Buzzell 3-74, Cody Loewe 4-13, Aaron Ludwig 1-22; GRE Connor Hanley 3-78, Sam Peck 3-92, Matt Pisini 3-49
Total Offense: FA 236, GRE 430
Turnovers: FA 3; GRE 2
Tackles (Solo, assisted, total): FA, Isaac Wakefield 2-0-2, Billy Rascoe 2-3-5, Andrew Lyman 2-5-7, David McLaughlin 4-1-5, Willy Macfawn 3-2-5, Kyle Bennett 2-2-4, Jaquan Causer 2-1-3, Greg Harmon 3-2-5, Aaron Ludwig 3-1-4, Ryan Buzzell 6-1-7, Sulo Burbank 3-1-4, Matt Boucher 1-0-1, Cody Loewe 1-0-1, Greg Sargent 1-1-2, Ben Southwick 0-1-1

Defense ruled the third quarter as Greely had two possessions and the Raiders one, each resulting in no scoring.

The Raider defense made a big stand, stopping Greely at the FA-10 as Ryan Buzzell leaped with Hanley in the end zone for a throw, and took it away for an interception.

Greely caught the Raiders napping to keep the drive alive as punter Matt Pisini faked the kick and bolted 35 yards down the right side, erasing a 4th-and-17 situation.

Greely’s next drive stalled when Raider end Jaquan Causer thumped Ranger quarterback Burton for a yard loss on fourth down on an option play at the FA-3.

“This went from a fast-paced first half to a point no one had scored until the final minutes. What I liked was that we kept fighting. We had turnovers and botched punt, but we came up with some key defensive stops, which were huge and kept us in the game,” Coach Turner said. “We stayed close and kept playing.”

Disaster nearly struck for the Raiders to start the fourth quarter as Gullikson was picked off for the third time as Hanley caught a high pass intended for Loewe at the FA-35.

But, Greely returned the favor as James Ferrar (17 carries for 93 yards) fumbled, and Raider lineman Sulo Burbank recovered.

Fryeburg drove deep into Greely territory as Gullikson broke a 0-for-5 streak with a well-thrown spiral to Buzzell for 18 yards on a critical 4th-and-3 call. At the GRE-22, Fryeburg saw a promising chance to climb back into the game fall apart when a snap sailed over Gullikson’s head for a 22-yard loss. On the play, Gullikson was motioning for a receiver to move when the snap was delivered, well over his head.

Greely seemed to salt the game away, completing a nine-play, 69-yard drive with Ferrar scoring from four yards out with 1:23 left.

But, the Raiders refused to quit. A pass interference call and an acrobatic 22-yard catch down the far sideline by Aaron Ludwig, who kept his focus to snare a tipped ball as he fell to the turf, set up a 25-yard scramble for a touchdown by Gullikson. Buzzell caught the two-point conversion to close the deficit to 32-24 with 42.8 seconds left.

An onside kick try was smothered by Greely senior Christian Kroot at midfield. After the Raiders burned their final timeout, the Rangers stunned the FA defense when Burton lofted a deep ball to Pisini, who was all alone, good for a 48-yard touchdown with 28.5 seconds left. Burton took a knee on the point-after-try.

The icing, however, was on the cake.

“We still score with time left on the clock, giving us a chance to win,” Coach Turner said. “You have to like the effort our kids showed. They didn’t give up. We kept playing.”

Up next: The Raiders travel to Topsham Friday night to take on Mt. Ararat (0-2) at 7 p.m. MA, which went 0-9 a year ago, is off to another tough start, having lost to Skowhegan 56-6 and Westbrook 30-0.

Please follow and like us: