FARMINGTON — The Mt. Blue Cougars became mired in a Witches’ brew that was sweetened with a dash of Brewer’s powerful ground game and stubborn defense.
The Witches had little difficulty moving the ball, rolling up 33 unanswered points in the first half and eventually marching off with a 36-14 victory at Caldwell Field on a muggy Friday night under the lights.
The Cougars didn’t let up, but Brewer’s fluid ground was simply overpowering in the first half. The Witches rarely passed and rushed for 284 yards in the first half before they started bringing in subs in the second half.
Senior running backs Bryant Kiley and Bryce Largay bolted whenever the Brewer lined opened a whole — and the Witches opened many. Kiley and Largay each scored two touchdowns to cap off a splendid night for the Witches.
“We have a very seasoned O-line. We are going to rely heavily on them over the course of the year,” Brewer coach Nick Arthers said. “I know they did a heckuva job with ball possession. Tonight was tremendous for us.
“Last week, we had a couple of costly turnovers against Westbrook. This week we took care of the ball.
“I think offensively, we really stood out. Our defense put us in some pretty good positions, but I think we need to work on our tackling a little bit.”
Brewer made Mt. Blue sit up and take notice on the Witches’ opening drive in the first quarter. They took it from the 13-yard line to the 39 where Largay broke free for Brewer’s first touchdown. Andew Kiley split the uprights and Witches were well on their way to victory.
The Cougars offered a gimme to the Witches in the second quarter. Mt. Blue fumbled on the 38 on the second play of its drive and Brewer moved the ball to the 16-yard line. Bryant Kiley spilled into the end zone from there, but Andrew Kiley’s kick was blocked. It didn’t matter because the Witches were holding steady with 13-0 lead.
Brewer was just getting started. Largay came across from the 22-yard line. The conversion failed, but Witches were sitting pretty with a 19-0 lead.
Another Mt. Blue turnover put the Witches in the driver’s seat when Brandon Glidden intercepted junior quarterback Noah Bell’s pass at the 30. Brewer moved to 5 where Bryant Kiley scored from there. The Witches were now up 26-0 after the kick failed with 5:01 left in the first half.
With 2:02 left, Brewer frustrated the Cougars again — this time from the air at the 20-yard line. Brewer quarterback Cody Wood found junior tight end Jacob McCluskey open for a TD pass. Andrew Kiley’s kick was good, providing the Witches with a 33-0 lead.
But the relentless Cougars had other ideas and scored with 12.5 seconds left in the first half. Bell connected with Abram Meader from the 47-yard line for a TD. Bell and Meader teamed up again to complete the two-point conversion, leaving at halftime with Brewer in command, 33-8.
In the second half, the Witches decided to attempt a 27-yard field goal. Offensive lineman Tyler Bean launched it from the 13-yard line and his field goal convincingly sailed through the uprights in the third quarter.
Not to be outdone, stubborn Mt. Blue’s Meader scored from the 8-yard line with 25.9 seconds left in the game.
“Mt. Blue kids aren’t going to let up that’s for sure,” Mt. Blue coach Nate Quirion said. “We have too much pride. We have worked too hard. It means so much to them. They are never going to let up.
“Brewer is a good team. They are a top tier, very disciplined. They are well coached. What we gotta do now when we play a team such as Brewer’s caliber is we just can’t have penalties and we can’t turn the ball over. We have to play very clean and then we made it very easy for a good football team in the first half.”