Telstar’s Will Doyle throws a pass during Saturday’s game against Maranacook in Bethel. Adam Robinson/Sun Journal

BETHEL — Telstar entered halftime tied with Maranacook, and the Rebels coaches and players knew things needed to change. 

Maranacook scored right before halftime and then took the lead on the first drive of the second half, but Telstar scored on a fourth down and took the lead off a broken play on a two-point conversion to stay undefeated in eight-man football with a 14-12 homecoming victory Saturday.

“(Coach Tim O’Connor) was telling us just to wake up and bring our swagger that we had the first three games,” Telstar quarterback Will Doyle said. “We weren’t playing the greatest.”

Doyle got the Telstar (4-0) offense going on the first play from scrimmage when he found Brayden Stevens for a 64-yard touchdown pass to put the Rebels up 6-0 early.

Telstar then forced a fumble after Maranacook’s Seth White caught a Chris Reid pass near the end zone. White lost possession and didn’t go after the loose ball, allowing Telstar to fall on it. 

The Black Bears (0-2) fumbled the ball five times in the first half, losing it twice.

Telstar received a punt and had one last possession with 50 seconds left in the half, but three plays into the drive Reid jumped in front of a pass by Doyle and brought it back 70 yards for a touchdown to end the half and help Maranacook tie the game at 6-6. 

“We thought we had all our blocking assignments taken care of, but obviously we have some work to do this week,” O’Connor said. “We made some adjustments at half, but we also told them that this is homecoming. They came out flat, and we don’t understand why and the offense just kind of sputtered, I don’t know why.”

Telstar’s Andrew Leighton (66) and Gavinn Martin swarm Maranacook’s Chris Reid on defense on Saturday. Adam Robinson/Sun Journal

On the first drive of the third quarter, Maranacook marched down the field and scored on the ninth play on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Reid to Thomas Struck to take a 12-6 lead. Telstar was able to stop the two-point conversion. 

“Considering (Ried’s) been out for three weeks and he came back two days ago, he did pretty well,” Maranacook coach Jordan DeMillo said. “Unfortunately, we had a good little run of COVID there. Yesterday was the first day I’ve had a full team. We showed a lot of rust again here, blown assignments, but once we get the rust off I think we will be a formidable team.”

The two teams traded punts before Telstar started to drive down the field on its second drive of the third quarter. 

The Rebels quickly ran into a fourth down with 10:57 left in the game. Doyle dropped back on fourth-and-11 and found Gavinn Martin over the middle for a 57-yard touchdown to tie the game up at 12-12. 

“That was ‘ram right orbit quick post,’ and I am just looking for that post from Gavinn Martin, and I just had to wait a little bit and put it in his pocket and he did the rest,” Doyle said.

On Telstar’s two-point conversion attempt, Stevens took the snap but fumbled it. Stevens was able to pick up the ball and run to the right sideline and into the end zone to give the Rebels a 14-12 lead.

Telstar’s Will Doyle hands the ball off to Bode Leach during Saturday’s game against Maranacook in Bethel. Adam Robinson/Sun Journal

“It was supposed to be a wildcat play. It was a trap play, so my wing was supposed to come over and he never came over,” Stevens said. “So I said, ‘All right, I guess we are running that side.’ Then I said, ‘Go,’ and I wasn’t paying enough attention, but thankfully (the defender) went for the ball and not me and I found a hole.”

Telstar ran for only 6 yards for the game, but Doyle’s two big touchdown passes proved to be enough offense. 

“We just needed to execute,” O’Connor said. “We’ve been practicing all week some different plays and we have a very complex offense. We have a lot of things we can run out of our sets and what we do is see what they run and then try to fit it accordingly.”

At the end of the game, with Maranacook driving with less than a minute remaining, Cam Palmer picked off Reid to clinch the victory for the Rebels. 

Reid finished the game with 21 yards rushing and 134 yards passing.


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