Lewiston’s Garrett Poussard celebrates a touchdown during teh first half of Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College.

LEWISTON — Lewiston took out a season’s worth of frustration on its rival in the second half of the 175th Battle of the Bridge on Friday night, and simultaneously reminded the rest of Class A North it is not to be overlooked when the second seasons starts.

Garrett Poussard scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one on a fumble recovery, and Lewiston showed the killer instinct it had been lacking in the second half for much of the season with three unanswered touchdowns to roll to a 41-16 victory over previously unbeaten Edward Little at a packed Garcelon Field.

“I feel like we play better against them than we do any other team,” said Poussard, whose team had dropped the previous two games to the Eddies. “It’s great to finally beat them.”

“It was a 0-0 game (at halftime). We didn’t want another comeback,” said senior linebacker Connor Kaplinger, whose team led at halftime in seven of eight games. “We wanted to put the game away, so we came out and played as hard as we did in the first half.”

Poussard, a senior running back, rushed for 140 yards on 25 carries with touchdowns of four and 62 yards. Hunter Landry had a 14-yard TD run and 30-yard TD catch from Tanner Cortes, who also had an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jason Willis.

Senior QB Grant Hartley led EL (7-1) with a two-yard touchdown run and a 63-yard TD pass to Xzabier Weaver.

With the win, the Blue Devils (4-4) secured the No. 2 spot and a bye next week in the Class A North playoffs. Edward Little had already clinched the No. 1 seed and a bye, and will use the time to clean up the mistakes it made in the regular-season finale.

“We overran a few plays. We came up short on a few plays that we needed an extra half a yard. We missed a couple of blocks that we normally get,” Edward Little coach David Sterling said. “I told the team we’ve got to get back to basics.”

Lewiston now leads the all-time series, 93-70-12.

The Blue Devils led at halftime, 14-8, despite gaining just 15 net yards on offense. 

On EL’s second possession, Poussard scooped up an errant snap, broke a tackle by Hartley and ran it in from 13 yards out for an early 6-0 Lewiston lead.

“Grant had me a little bit there and then I just broke free,” Poussard said. “That was a big play, definitely. That got the crowd behind us and that definitely helped. We hear all about their fan section but our’s was pretty good tonight.”

The Red Eddies forced a punt on Lewiston’s next possession and Robert Tremaine blocked Cortes’ attempt. Several Eddies gave chase in hopes of recovering it for a touchdown, but the ball bounced out of the side of the end zone for a safety to make it 6-2.

EL took advantage of good field position after the ensuing free kick, driving from Lewiston’s 38 to the 2, where Hartley ran it in to give the Eddies their only lead, 8-6, with 2:13 left in the first quarter.

Another bad snap and the second of Poussard’s two sacks forced an EL punt that set the Devils up at their own 48. Poussard then ran through several tacklers to turn a short screen pass from Brock Belanger into a 28-yard gain that made it 1st-and-goal at the 10.

“We ran a backside screen and there really was no one there,” Poussard said. “Brock lofted it up over the end and I had to beat one guy and then ran through a couple of other ones. I got tripped up by my own teammate, actually.”

Three plays later, Poussard pounded it in from four yards out and Cortes hooked up with Landry on the two-point pass to make it 14-8 with 3:32 left in the half.

Edward Little, which had 92 more yards of offense than Lewiston in the first half, crossed into Lewiston territory on its last two drives of the first half but couldn’t capitalize.

A false start on the opening series of the second half pushed Lewiston back to a 4th-and-6 at EL’s 30, but Cortes’ pass sailed over the hands of two Red Eddies and into the arms of Landry for a touchdown and a 20-8 lead.

EL once again crossed midfield on its first series of the half but stalled when Maxx Bell was stopped short on 4th-and-6 from Lewiston’s 36.

“We made a lot of mistakes, definitely, not to take anything away from (Lewiston). They played a great game,” Hartley said. 

Landry helped Lewiston pull away with two long punt returns in the fourth quarter, the first setting up his own 14-yard touchdown run and the second setting up Cortes’ touchdown pass to Willis.

Hartley connected with Weaver for the Eddies’ lone score of the second half to cut it to 35-16 with 2:15 left. But the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, giving the Devils possession, and Poussard took off on his 62-yard TD jaunt on the next play to seal it.

Minus the late touchdown, EL managed just 44 yards and four first downs in the second half.

Caden Begos rushed for 73 yards on 19 carries for the Red Eddies. Hartley finished 9-for-16 for 126 yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked three times and hurried several other times.

“They did a good job of disrupting the pocket,” Hartley said, “but (the difference) was definitely us making mistakes.”

“We knew we had to key on Hartley and Begos, because we know they’re hard runners,” Kaplinger said. “Grant likes to roll to the left side, so we wanted to blitz from the weak side and get to the quarterback and collapse the pocket so he doesn’t escape. He’s a good runner.”

Edward Little was penalized nine times for 75 yards, Lewiston three times for 15 yards.

Edward Little’s Grant Hartley passes the ball before Lewiston’s Jeremy Madore can tackle him during Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College.Lewiston’s Tanner Cortes looks for a free teammate to pass the ball as Edward Little’s Maxx Bell and Gunnar Winslow look to take him down during Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College.Edward Little’s fans lose their minds during Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College.Edward Little’s Grant Hartley takes off from Lewiston’s Garrett Poussard during Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College.Lewiston’s Garrett Poussard moves the ball to the endzone for a touchdown during Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College.Edward Little’s Leighton Girardin runs the ball down the field while being chased by Lewiston’s Dominick Colon during Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College. Lewiston’s Tanner Cortes comes in from the left to assist with the play.

Lewiston’s Brock Belanger gets ready to pass the ball to a teammate as Edward Little’s Justin Theriault come up from behind during Friday night’s Battle of the Bridge football game at Garcelon Field at Bates College.


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