Marshwood’s Kyle Glidden (36) carries the ball past Skowhegan’s Sean Savage in first half action in the Class B football state championship at Fitzpatrick Stadium. (Jill Brady/Portland Press Herald)
PORTLAND — The Class B state championship was filled with big plays, and just as it was in Week 1 of the regular season between Marshwood and Skowhegan, the Hawks had the majority of them.
Marshwood capped an unbeaten season in style Saturday, earning a 63-20 victory over the Indians at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
“The effort was really good,” Marshwood quarterback Tommy Springer said. “It was 0-0 and we forgot about last game. The effort by them was really good but an even better effort by us.”
After an uneventful first couple of drives to open the game, Marshwood struck first.
Senior captain Kyle Glidden opened the drive with a 34-yard run in motion, then caught a pass from Springer for 19 yards. Glidden finished the three-play drive with a 24-yard touchdown catch on a right-side rollout from Springer. Glidden shed a tackler and started to celebrate, turning to face the rest of the field on the goal line. Glidden was tackled but fell into the end zone for a touchdown to make it 6-0 after the failed kick.
Skowhegan started with a quick pass, but fumbled a catch on the next play and the Hawks recovered in their opponent’s field. On the ensuing play, Glidden showed off his versatility and threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Samuel Cartmill, and after the converted two point attempt, the Indians found themselves in a 14-0 hole.
Quick touchdowns were a theme in the first half as Skowhegan’s Jon Bell picked up the ball on the one yard line in the right side corner off the kickoff, cut to the opposite side of the field and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. The Indians converted and in a flash it was 14-8.
Two Marshwood drives later and Glidden showcased his abilities once more. The senior had runs of 23, nine, and five yards on the drive, all culminating in a 12-yard bootleg keeper by Springer to advance the lead to 22-8 after a two point conversion. Glidden finished the game with 142 yards and three total touchdowns.
The Hawks forced a three-and-out and kickstarted their drive with a 55-yard run by Matthew Goodwin, making it first-and-goal at the 2. Connor Nickerson rumbled his way through blockers to score to increase the Marshwood lead to 21.
However, just as the Indians had an answer before, they found one here. The Hawks failed on an onside attempt and Skowhegan’s Marcus Cristopher completed two passes for 52 yards, ending the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Barnes, cutting the lead to 15. Marshwood head coach Alex Rotsko knew that the big plays were a problem.
“We gave up a couple big plays,” Rotsko said. “One was probably a coaching mistake on our end where we were in a coverage that we shouldn’t have been and then give up a big play… We felt that if we could stop giving up big plays then we’d be fine.”
Before halftime, Springer threw a screen pass to receiver Jayke Longarini who had blockers ahead of him. At the 10-yard line Longarini was caught by a defender and twisted around, but Longarini showed his strength and squirmed free for a touchdown, Springer’s third TD pass the night.
“I think it showed how much we cared about winning this game and that we were gonna come out on top,” Springer said.
Skowhegan was backed up to its 6-yard line to start the second half, but Christopher ripped a slant pass to Barnes and the senior receiver did the rest, bringing it 94 yards for the score to put Skowhegan back within striking distance, ultimately for the final time.
After a drive that ended in a punt, Goodwin took the opening run for 64 yards and a score, a run that was symbolic of the second half in their domination, and how the ball was spread around on the Hawks offense.
“Just about every single guy on offense contributed,” Rotsko said. “It was great.”
Skowhegan head coach Ryan Libby knew his team had a chance to creep back into the game but squandered it.
“I don’t know that there was one (play),” Libby said. “We just had a hard time containing pretty much everything. Even down big coming out, we immediately strike back and then give up another big play, so it was just hard to consistently put it together to keep us in it.”