DIXFIELD — Spruce Mountain’s long, methodical scoring drive to end the first quarter of Friday night’s eight-man football game against Dirigo was an outlier for the Phoenix.

Their other five touchdown drives in the first half were of the quick-strike variety as Spruce Mountain earned its program’s first eight-man football victory with a 52-22 win at Harlow Park.

“It feels good. Feels good. Yeah,” Spruce Mountain coach David Frey said of his team’s first eight-man win. “Compared to last week, we didn’t play very well. We lined up a lot of times wrong (against Mt. Ararat).”

Phoenix (1-1) quarterback Camden Phillips capped off the 11-play, 62-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run, and his ensuing two-point pass to Elie Timler made it 16-0.

Phillips had a would-be TD pass to Keegan Turner on the fifth play of the drive called back on a penalty. The pair did hook up on the game’s opening drive for a 50-yard TD, one play after Phillips converted on fourth-and-1 with a QB keeper.

Phillips also converted a fourth-and-1 run on the second drive. The Phoenix didn’t face fourth down again until late in the fourth quarter.

Phillips finished the game with 142 yards rushing on 12 carries, along with 59 yards passing while completing both of his attempts.

“He was huge,” Frey said of Phillips. “He’s a big part of the offense. He’s very smart, very alert when he runs. Shifty. You know, stuff he does you just can’t coach. It’s instinct.”

Reece Davis (18 yards), Dominic Irish (9 yards), Owen Dow (18 yards) and Isaac Parker (49 yards) added touchdown runs in the second quarter to put Spruce Mountain up 44-0.

Dirigo (0-2) quarterback Charlie Houghton had a 2-yard TD run with 19 seconds left in the first half and a 4-yard TD pass to Trent Holman to open the third quarter.

“I really like Charlie. We talked about making the right reads, and he knew coming out in the second half we were going to throw it,” Dirigo coach Craig Collins said. “I told him, ‘We’re going to throw it every down, so here’s the chance.’ And Charlie did a good job, he really did. He made the right reads and the results is we scored a couple more touchdowns the second half.”

Davis scored another 18-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter to counter the Houghton TD pass.

“We were up comfortable, but I wasn’t comfortable with a lead, the way they started throwing the second half,” Frey said. “You know, two quick scores and they’re right back in the game.”

Frey was happy with the way his defense played in the first half, holding the Cougars to only 11 yards of offense before Dirigo’s scoring drive to end the half.

Houghton and Trenton Hutchinson connected for a 63-yard touchdown pass to round out the scoring.

“I just told the guys (after the game), ‘Believe in what we’re doing, continue believing, and it’s one day at time,'” Collins said. “And that’s our goal, is to get better each day.'”

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