Connor Truman completed his only pass of the game to Ethan Bourgoin for an 8-yard touchdown in overtime, then John Bowen picked off Grant Hartley to end Edward Little’s hopes of answering in the Vikings’ 26-20 overtime win in a Class A North quarterfinal at Gouin Athletic Complex on Friday.

“I did say to them, it was earlier in the game, I said to them, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if we won this game on our first touchdown pass of the season?'” Vikings coach Mark Soehren said. “Who knew it would come in overtime?”

“The corner was back, and Ethan caught that,” Truman said. “The outside ‘backer was in, just floated right up over him, snagged it.”

The No. 4 Vikings (5-4) aren’t known for passing, having thrown just 73 passes in eight regular-season games. Truman only attempted two passes Friday night, with the other a late spike before a missed game-winning field goal attempt.

The fifth-seeded Red Eddies (3-6), meanwhile, are built on passing. Hartley led the conference in passing yards, but a third-and-goal pass at the 25-yard line to tie the game was a tall task even for EL.

“Even as good of a passing team as they are, that’s a tough spot to be in,” Soehren said.

“I was in position on that. My first pick. That felt great,” Bowen said. “I saw the ball going through the air, and I had one thing on my mind, and that was just, ‘Come down with it.'”

The game-sealing interception came one play after Hartley threw incomplete to CJ Jipson — who caught a game-winning touchdown on the last play of EL’s win over Oxford Hills/Buckfield in the regular-season matchup — and two plays after a trick play cost the Red Eddies dearly.

After Tyler Blanchard ran for 3 yards on EL’s first play of overtime, receiver/runner Maxx Bell took a direct snap and fired a pass to Terrell Thomas, who was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone.

“We practice it weeks on weeks. We saved it for this type of an opportunity,” EL coach Dave Sterling said of the play call. “That’s the right time to call it. They were all up. We want to try to hit the pass there.”

A pass interference went against the Vikings prior to Jipson’s last-play catch during the regular-season meeting.

“It was nice to have something go our way,” Bowen said.

The path the game took to get to overtime was a windy one. The Vikings took leads of 7-0 after one quarter and 14-6 after two thanks to the running of Dawson Stevens, who ran nine times for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. One scoring run went for 80 yards, the other was a 33-yarder. Stevens also kicked a pair of extra points.

“You never know when he’s going to do it. They can throw from anywhere on the field, but we can toss it to Dawson anywhere on the field,” Soehren said.

“We knew we needed to stop the run,” Sterling said. “We packed the box a little bit more.”

EL’s lone touchdown of the first half came on the first play of the second quarter, when Bell took a fourth-and-1 handoff into the end zone from 6 yards out. Otherwise, the Red Eddies’ offense was quiet, compiling just 111 yards before halftime.

So they changed things up in the second half. Hartley completed a 10-yard pass five plays in to Blanchard, who made a circus catch after the ball initially deflected off a defender. Then Hartley was sent to the sidelines, and Blanchard took over behind center, taking direct snaps and leading the offense. EL ran 24 such plays, with either Blanchard or Bell receiving the snap.

“We had worked on that a lot. We knew if it was going to be a rainy day we would want to be able to possess the football and run downhill, as well as change up formations like we did,” Sterling said. “It really helped us get back in the game.”

The Red Eddies actually took the lead thanks to the formation. Blanchard scored from 30 yards out and ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game, 14-14, then made it in from a yard out to make it a 20-14 EL lead in the third quarter.

“We’ve seen it before, but certainly that wasn’t the thing we had planned for this week,” Soehren said. “I do think it was a good job by them, a great game plan by them.”

Stevens countered with an 18-yard touchdown run on the second-to-last play of the third quarter.

The Vikings had one last chance late to score. A 39-yard punt by Janek Luksza down to the EL 1-yard line turned into a Red Eddies drive that went nowhere. Then Bowen returned a punt down to the EL 20-yard line with 21 seconds left. But Stevens missed a 34-yard field goal attempt that would have ended the game before overtime.

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