Edward Little wide receiver Xzabier Weaver, center, just misses a pass over his outstretched hands in front of teammate Maxx Bell (1) and Deering defender Dru Tillman during their game at Walton Field in Auburn on Friday.

AUBURN — Edward Little continues to find ways to win.

In their latest victory, 33-12 victory over Deering at Walton Field on Friday night, the unbeaten Red Eddies made big plays, stuffed the Rams and dominated the field-position battle.

Only 15 plays were run on Edward Little’s side of the field in the entire game, and Deering didn’t pick a first down until late in the third quarter. The Rams were held to 120 yards of total offense, and only 50 after halftime, and intercepted three passes.

“By playing sound defense as well as our guys knowing the opponent’s scheme, we’ve done OK,” Edward Little coach Dave Sterling said.

Then there was the big plays.

Grant Hartley had a 58-yard punt on the first drive of the game that set the field position tone.

Hartley also threw two touchdown passes on fourth down-and-goal, first to Terrell Thomas from the 9-yard line on the first play of the second quarter, and then to Xzabier Weaver from 15 yards out in the third quarter.

Hartley also completed a 31-yard pass to Maxx Bell on fourth-and-14.

“We needed the first round, and Grant just threw it up, and the reps that we’ve had together, it really pays off, especially in the clutch times,” Bell said. “Good ball by Grant.”

One play later, Hartley scored on a quarterback keeper from the 1-yard line.

Hartley also set up Weaver’s touchdown catch by scrambling for 17 yards on fourth-and-14.

“We worked play-action really well,” Sterling said. “We had some people step up. Xzabier Weaver made some very great catches during the game. Leighton Girardin stepped up and has been playing the A position for us. Maxx Bell’s made some pretty big plays. Caden Begos continues to be our workhorse running the ball and pounding it out, and Grant Hartley’s managed our offense well. Excellent pass protection.”

The biggest play, or at least the most exciting, came on a third-quarter punt return when Bell got knocked around and at one point appeared swallowed by a swarm of defenders but somehow emerged and scored a 53-yard return.

“I just kept pumping my feet, and I saw open space and, there I was in the end zone,” Bell said. “I got hit at first and spun around and just stuck my hand in the ground and kept myself up.”

Deering had its chances, as well. Especially in the first half. But three long plays — the 50-plus-yard variety — were called back due to penalties, and a 25-yard run was spoiled by a fumble.

“So the story goes; this is us,” Deering coach Jason Jackson said. “We can compete with whoever, you see it, but it’s always mistakes here, mistakes there, it’s just mental errors.”

Those plays all happened in the first half, which ended with Edward Little only leading 14-6.

Deering’s touchdowns came on a 84-yard punt return by Dru Tillman and an 8-yard run by Travis Soule.

Edward Little (6-0) did suffer several injuries in the game, which has the potential to be detrimental in next week’s matchup with Windham.

“We had a number of injuries as the game went along,” Sterling said. “So we have significant work to do this coming week.”

Edward Little quarterback Grant Hartley (12) releases the ball just as he’s hit by Deering’s Blaize Vail during their game at Walton Field in Auburn on Friday.Deering High School’s Dru Tillman, right, returns a kickoff for a touchdown past Edward Little High School’s Eric Robinson, left, during their game at Walton Field in Auburn on Friday.

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