BANGOR – It was a tale of turnovers Friday night, but it was Edward Little’s miscues that proved the most costly.
Edward Little threw seven interceptions, with three leading to all of Bangor’s points. Though the Rams had four fumbles, EL failed to capitalize as Bangor blanked the Red Eddies 16-0 in an Eastern A quarterfinal football game.
“Ours happened at the wrong time,” said EL coach Dave Sterling. “We were trying to concentrate on preventing the big turnover. They catch up with you. It makes it a little harder. We were happy with the season that the kids put in. We stayed in this game right to the end. There was no quit in us.”
EL fell behind 9-0 in the opening half thanks to a late score. EL had the chance in the third quarter to rally. The Red Eddies controlled the ball for much of the third, but all went for naught when a Bangor interception nixed the threat. The Rams then turned that into a touchdown and a crushing 16-0 lead.
“I’ve been at Bangor for 25 years and I don’t ever remember seven picks in a game,” Bangor coach Mark Hackett said. “They were pretty good plays. They were just terrible throws. They were good plays on the ball.”
EL was forced to throw the ball more after center Cody Meserve was injured early in the game. That changed up the Red Eddies offensive strategy. EL threw for 113 yards on six completions but rushed for just 82 yards on 28 carries.
“Cody Meserve is a big part of our offense,” said Sterling of his senior lineman. “That created a whole different dynamic running the football. Passing the ball, we’ve had success doing it, but we just weren’t as successful as we wanted to be.”
The Rams got a strong push on the line of scrimmage and grinded out most of its offense on the ground. The Rams gained 298 yards on 57 carries, led by Josiah Hartley’s 214 yards on 39 tries.
“We were running the ball almost exclusively against a good football team and a hard-nosed team,” said Hackett. “They had a lot of guys in the box and were playing the run. There were no surprises. We were able to get out when we needed to and had enough to get by them.”
Both showed they could move the ball in the first half, but turnovers got in the way for both teams. EL had three interceptions while Bangor fumbled the ball away twice.
The Red Eddies moved the ball on the ground on their first two possession but both opportunities stalled. A penalty and fumble on the opening drive forced EL to punt. After recovering a Bangor fumble on its first snap from scrimmage, the Red Eddies took over on the 19.That chance ended with an interception on fourth-and-14 from the 23.
The Rams subsequently marched downfield and got as close as the 13. Carl Farnham put the Rams on the board with 31-yard field goal with 45 seconds left in the first quarter
“I’m proud of my sophomore field goal kicker,” said Hackett. “In high school football, some people don’t believe in it, but it’s better than coming away with nothing.”
Another interception nixed an EL chance. The Red Eddies drove down to the 9 with the help of a 52-yard pass from Josh DeLong to Dylan Deconzo. Facing third-and-six from the nine, the Rams intercepted a DeLong pass in the end zone.
Bangor rushed the ball to midfield but fumbled it away. EL couldn’t take advantage and was forced to punt. The Rams took over on the 18 and marched it downfield. Hartley led the way with eight carries that put him over 100 yards in the first half.
EL made it tough for the Rams in the red zone. Facing third-and-5 from the 5, EL’s Zach LeBlond had Seccareccia in his grasp as the Bangor quarterback scrambled. As he was being hauled down, the quarterback released the ball over the middle for Nic Cota for the touchdown with 29 seconds left in the half.
“The defensive end crashed in on me and had me by the waist,” said Seccareccia. “I could hear Nic yelling. I saw him out of the corner of my eye. I tried to set my feet as best I could and put the ball right in his chest.”
EL controlled much of the third quarter, running 16 plays, but came up empty. Even after a fourth-and-3 reverse was stopped for a loss, Bangor gave the ball back with another fumble, but EL answered that with a fourth interception at midfield. The Rams used just 10 plays to turn it into a 16-0 lead with 9:35 left in the game when Hartley dove over from the 1 to cap the drive that went 45 yards.