LEWISTON — Still licking some wounds from a humbling defeat to rival Edward Little from a week before, Lewiston High School felt like it had something to prove.
Jeff Turcotte, usually in line for the short-gain, pounding runs for the Blue Devils, felt he could contribute more to his team’s cause.
That was a lethal combination, and proved to be the big difference as Lewiston rolled to a 42-13 victory over the Eagles in the teams’ Pine Tree Conference quarterfinal matchup at Don Roux Field on Friday.
“The first day, we came into game film, we felt like we’d let ourselves down,” Turcotte said. “We came in with too many high hopes probably, and we were hard on each other. During practice, during the week, we kept working harder and harder.”
“I think the kids were motivated,” Lewiston coach Bill County said. “I think they were demeaned after last week’s loss. That’s a big loss for our program, and I was impressed with how they responded.”
The extra work paid off for Turcotte, who rattled off three touchdown runs and totaled 151 yards on 15 carries to lead the Blue Devils’ offense.
“He played probably played the best game of his life,” County said of Turcotte. “The pieces came together. He’s usually the guy, you know, we’ve been using (Jeff) Keene and (Joe) McKinnon as scat backs, and Turcotte’s given us more in short-yardage, but he really broke out tonight.”
Not to be outdone, McKinnon tacked on 105 yards on 16 carries two scores and 55 yards receiving for another score, Keene had eight carries for 41 yards, and Matt Therrien added 42 on five carries for Lewiston, which outgained Messalonskee 405-184 on the night.
“We knew they were a good football team, they have three good running backs and we were concerned about that,” Messalonskee coach Wes Littlefield said. “I think we got a little shell-shocked there. No one has run the ball on us like that all year. After watching (Lewiston) against EL, they didn’t look like they were that tough up front, but tonight, they showed us that they were.”
No. 4 Lewiston’s offense dominated the first half. The Devils ran 29 plays in the first two quarters, none of which were a third-down play. Their first play on third down came with 4:52 to play in the third quarter, and they ran just four third-down plays, and three on fourth downs.
Taking a play out of Messalonskee’s book, the Blue Devils chewed the clock in the first quarter, marching 71 yards on nine plays over four-plus minutes.
A botched punt led to No. 5 Messalonskee’s first touchdown and to a tie game at 7-7 with 2:17 to play in the quarter, but Messalonskee’s defense remained porous. Therrien capped the next Lewiston drive with a 12-yard run, and Turcotte added another from a yard out to push Lewiston’s lead to a pair of touchdowns.
Chris Madden’s lone completion on a pair of pass attempts led to another quick strike later in the first half to run the home team’s advantage to 28-7 when he hooked up with Therrien up the right side for 55 yards.
The second half turned on a dime. Messalonskee scored on a clock-chewing, 75-yard drive to pull within a pair of touchdowns, and, for the first time all night, found a way to stop Lewiston’s offense, stuffing the Devils on a 4th-and-8.
But three plays later, the Eagles tried a double pass, and Abdi Osman stepped in front of Sam Dexter’s effort. On the next play, Turcotte split the middle for a 27-yard score to restore Lewiston’s three-touchdown cushion.
“We thought we’d try something there and we were hoping they’d bite on it,” Littlefield said.
“That was big, that turned things right back around,” County said.
Lewiston tacked one more on in the fourth quarter when Turcotte broke through the middle for 39 yards.
The Devils will host Brunswick next weekend after the No. 8 Dragons pulled off the upset of No. 1 Lawrence in another PTC battle.