DIXFIELD — Jay coach Mark Bonnevie was confident his football team could pull off a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter of a Campbell Conference game.

But Dirigo’s defense stepped up and foiled the Tigers’ last-ditch effort as Dirigo held on for a slim 7-6 triumph over Jay before a homecoming crowd Saturday afternoon.

Spencer Ross had sprinted for a touchdown and Nelson Pepin kicked the extra point late in the first quarter as the Cougars struggled against Jay’s massive defense.

“It certainly wasn’t pretty,” said Dirigo coach Doug Gilbert, whose team improved to 3-1. “But, a win is a win. Jay always plays us tough, and this game was no different. Last year, we only beat them 28-12 and they came right after us.”

Jay (2-2) received a lift when Zach Bonnevie intercepted Cougar quarterback Ben Holmes at the Dirigo 48-yard line with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter. A couple runs and a pass reception to Jordan D. Couture set the Tigers up in the red zone. The Cougar defense forced a fourth down, but following a timeout Zach Bonnevie (5 of 15 for 76 yards) dropped back and threw a 17-yard scoring strike to tight end Kyle Storer who had beaten the secondary with 1:38 left to play.

“I thought we deserved to win the game,” said Bonnevie, regarding his decision to go for the conversion. “I went in to the huddle and the kids all wanted to go for it. The fact that we had dominated the entire second half made the decision even easier.”


Jay tried a pass over the middle, but Bonnevie’s floater was batted down by Holmes. Interestingly, the ball fluttered toward the ground and almost fell in to the hands of a Jay player.

Dirigo had held Jay on a tackle by Zach White and took over at its own 31-yard line. Following a first down run by Holmes (7 of 22 for 80 yards) and two plays later, Ross got around the left side and outraced the Tigers secondary for a TD. Pepin kicked the PAT, with a minute left in the first quarter

“It was a sweep, so once I got outside I was gone,” said Ross, who gained 67 yards on nine carries. “This was certainly not what we expected. We came into the game not really knowing how Jay would run plays at us.”

In the second half, the Jay defense led by Andrew Stearns, Matt Lancaster, Mat Ferland and Storer limited Dirigo to two first downs on five possessions. The Tigers was able to open up their running game with Bill Calden (111 yards, 20 carries) who picked up first downs on runs of 27, 11, 13 and 21 yards and Couture (46 yards, 13 rushes). Jay also gambled by faking a punt, induced by a Dirigo penalty for having too many players on the field, by running for a first down in Dirigo territory.

“We had had success with a 4-3 defense against them,” Gilbert said. “But not today because they were running off tackle. We tried switching the ends out because our linebackers were not helping. Jay went inside containment in the C-gap.”

The Dirigo defense garnered big stops by Arik Fenstermacher, Thomas Barnett, Chad Cormier, John Calden and Jacob Weston. A fumble recovery and a Holmes interception halted Jay drives.

“We don’t try to fool anybody,” Bonnevie said. “We will come right at you, but unfortunately, we shot ourselves in the foot a couple times.”

The Cougars had some success with passes to Justin Dowland, Spencer Trenoweth and Pepin.

Jay converted two of 14 third downs, while Dirigo was 0 of 12.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: