RUMFORD — Bradley Harriman and the Lisbon Greyhounds may not be very familiar with Chet Bulger Field, but they know open field when they see it — even when they’re in punt formation.
Harriman scampered 39 yards on a fake punt to set up what proved to be the winning touchdown — a four-yard run by Lucas Francis late in the third quarter — and the Greyhound defense made two big stops in the fourth quarter to edge Mountain Valley, 22-20, in the first regular-season meeting of the two storied programs on Friday night.
Francis rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries to lead the Greyhounds (3-0). Isaiah Thompson added 106 yards on 22 carries for Lisbon.
But it was Harriman’s long run on 4th-and-10 from the Falcons’ 43 that gave Lisbon the edge.
“The plan was for either a run or a pass (with Francis running a pass pattern),” Harriman said. “Lucas told me ‘If I’m open, I’m open.’ I didn’t want to take a chance, but that right side was open. My boys blocked for me and that’s all I need. It literally was all blocking. I can’t take credit for that at all.”
“We saw most of the game where we had the edge there,” Lisbon coach Chris Kates said. “There wasn’t really a good spot to use it earlier in the game. But it seemed like there was a little bit of confusion when we lined up the previous play and we were in their territory anyway. If we turned it over, it wasn’t really a huge deal, so it seemed like a good spot to take a risk there.”
The Falcons (1-2) had a couple of chances to take the lead in the fourth, forcing a pair of fumbles near midfield, the first with 6:31 remaining.
“We came in and we knew they were going to hit,” Harriman said. “We didn’t know they were going to hit that hard. They came at us.”
Lisbon’s defense buckled down and forced the Falcons to punt after the first turnover, and Brandon Keith-Williams and Cole Bolduc stopped Jacob Blanchard for no gain on 4th-and-7 after the second fumble with 1:43 remaining. Francis ran for a first down to end the Falcons’ hopes of getting a third opportunity.
“Our D-linemen stepped up and filled the gaps,” Bolduc said. “It’s an unselfish defense.”
“We’ve got to take advantage of the situations we’re given,” Mountain Valley coach Patrick Mooney said. “I think we were plus-two in the turnover category. We’ve got to capitalize. I think the issue right now is we’ve got to stop the big plays on defense.”
Both defenses escaped giving up points on their opponents’ opening drive and set the tone for a see-saw game. The Falcons drove to the Lisbon 25 on their first series but were stymied after a fumbled snap turned a 2nd-and-7 into a 3rd-and-18.
That forced the Falcons to punt and the Greyhounds to start their first offensive series at their own 4. They embarked on a 16-play drive, with Francis and Thompson doing the bulk of the work, and got to the Falcon 4 before Avery Bradeen tackled Francis for a six-yard loss. A false start pushed the Greyhounds back to the 16, and Francis’ 4th-and-goal pass dropped incomplete.
A 52-yard run by Andrews McDonald on Mountain Valley’s next possession set up the game’s first score. Blanchard (13 carries, 102 yards) followed blocks from Bradeen and Dylan Desroches on a sweep left for an 18 yard touchdown. Jasper Turner ran in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The Falcons kept the big runs coming on the first play of their next possession as Desroches (14 carries, 84 yards) raced 76 yards to paydirt for a 14-0 lead.
Francis answered with a long scoring run of his own, 76 yards, then threw to Keith-Williams for the two-point conversion to make it 14-8, which is where it stood at halftime.
A good return by Harriman on the kickoff to start the second half set up the Greyhounds at their own 47. Eight plays later, Francis ran it in from three yards out, then added the two-point conversion to give them their first lead, 16-14.
Blanchard quickly put the Falcons back in front with the most determined run of the night, spinning several times through the middle of the field while shedding multiple tacklers for a 46-yard touchdown that made it 20-16 Mountain Valley with 6:33 left in the third.
After allowing 203 yards on the ground in the first half, Lisbon’s defense yielded just 61 in the second half.
“We went a little bit bigger on the outside,” said Kates, whose Greyhounds face Class E Sacopee Valley next week. “Their offensive line is very good. I mean, we were obviously having a hard time with that offense they were running. There’s a lot of misdirection, and they were getting good chunks of yardage the entire game.”
“We’re developing. We’re improving every week,” said Mooney, whose Falcons have a road crossover game against Mattanawcook next week. “Right now, it’s not good enough. We’ve got to move faster.”
Lucas Francis of Lisbon High School is wrapped up by Nate White, left, and Curtis Gauvin of Mountain Valley during the first half in Rumford on Friday.
Brandon Keith-Williams of Lisbon High School reacts after catching a two-point conversion pass to put the Greyhounds within six points during the first half against Mountain Valley on Friday.
Dylan Desroches of Mountain Valley scampers up the sideline for a 76-yard touchdown run during the first half against Lisbon on Friday.
Jacob Blanchard of Mountain Valley finds running room against Lisbon on Friday.
Lucas Francis puts Lisbon on the board with a 77-yard touchdown run against Mountain Valley in Rumford on Friday.