When all was said and done, it was Edward Little lifting the Allen Clark Memorial Trophy after a zany 22-19 victory over rival Lewiston at Don Roux Field on Friday night.

“Anger. Sadness. Happiness. Just everything. Every feeling you could possibly have in one game,” EL quarterback Grant Hartley said. “That’s why this game is so great.”

“We knew it was going to be an up-and-down, close game. It always has been,” EL coach Dave Sterling said. “Both schools always bring their best effort. Odd things can happen. But it’s about overcoming the adversity, keeping your mental attitude together, and our guys did that, they did it well.”

“This was a great game, anybody could have won it,” Lewiston coach Bruce Nicholas added. “A play here, a play there, and that’s the difference.”

The Red Eddies (3-5) got off to a horrific start. Their first snap of the game, which took place in the rain, was a bad one, and went for a loss. Two incomplete passes followed.

The Blue Devils (2-6) needed just four plays to find the end zone, with quarterback Tanner Cortes finding Brock Belanger behind his defender for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Just 2:27 into the game, it was 7-0.

Edward Little bided its time from there, with Maxx Bell picking off Cortes on consecutive possessions to slow down the Lewiston aerial attack. But the Red Eddies couldn’t cash in consecutive trips into the red zone.

A third try for a fourth-down conversion was the charm, with Hartley running for the first down. He then hit Bell for a 19-yard touchdown pass on the next play and ran in the two-point conversion himself for an 8-7 lead with 24 seconds left in the first half.

“The thing that surprised me maybe the most was Hartley running with the ball, putting his head down and saying, ‘Look, I’m going to take this team over my shoulders,'” Nicholas said. “We were stopping a lot of the stuff that they do, especially in the first half. He doesn’t typically run with the ball.”

“We had to talk about this, that it was going to be rainy, and that I needed (Grant) to run the football, and that we needed to possess the football at times,” Sterling said.

The rain let up late in the first quarter, and things were much drier at the beginning of the second half than they were at the beginning of the game, allowing EL’s passing game to finally come alive.

Three Red Eddies plays into the second half, Hartley threw deep in the direction of CJ Jipson, who turned his head around at the last second, caught the ball between two defenders and ran the rest of the way for an 81-yard touchdown.

“When the rain had held off for a minute, that’s when we broke the long touchdown to CJ Jipson,” Sterling said. “We knew we had to go for a quick strike then. CJ made a great route, Grant threw a great ball. he knew he could lead him, because our concept is to throw it to the green grass, let him run.”

“To be honest, I think the cornerback was trying to bait me into a pick, and I noticed it right when I threw the ball,” Hartley added. “I kind of threw it a little bit to (CJ’s) inside shoulder too much. It just happened to be that that was kind of the right spot where to put it. Our receiver made a great play, and I’m pretty sure the defenders ran into each other. That could have gone both ways, 50-50, for sure.”

The lead was short lived, however. Lewiston fumbled the ball back to EL two plays later, but the Red Eddies went three-and-out. Jipson’s punt attempt fell off his foot, rolled over a couple times and went into the arms of Lewiston’s Billy Sheperson, who took the ball 36 yards for a touchdown, pulling the Blue Devils withing three at 16-13.

Cortes put the Blue Devils back on top with another long touchdown throw on Lewiston’s next drive. On third-and-long, Cortes rolled out to his right, then turned to his left and lofted a pass to Garrett Poussard, who ran up the left sideline for a 60-yard touchdown.

Hartley took over for Jipson as the EL punter just before that drive, and hit his first attempt 33 yards. His next went 52 and pinned the Blue Devils deep. Lewiston’s drive went nowhere, then a bad punt snap left Cortes scrambling with a throw, which he tossed out of bounds and was called for intentional grounding.

“We fumbled a punt, we didn’t execute the punt real well, and Grant punted one (50) yards the other way,” Nicholas said. “I thought that was the biggest transition right there, was his deep punt.”

The Red Eddies got the ball at the Lewiston 3-yard line, then took all four downs to score. Hartley reached over the goal line on a quarterback sneak to give EL the lead for good.

“I wasn’t sure (I was in),” Hartley said. “Every single call is a big call in this game. And I knew you really have to get in there. You just can’t leave it to the refs. It can’t be close, you have to get in there. So I just tried my best, kind of just stretched over, and we got it.”

Lewiston’s comeback never materialized. The Blue Devils punted on the ensuing possession, then Cortes was stopped by Tyson Cote on fourth down on the final drive to seal the victory.

“I talk about Murphy’s Law. That what can go wrong, will,” Sterling said. “Our guys have learned to understand that Murphy is going to show up during the game. It’s about beating Murphy at the end of the game. And that’s what our guys did at the end of the game.”

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