AUBURN — Edward Little scored late and pulled out a 28-26 victory over Messalonskee in a back-and-forth football season opener Friday at Walton Field.

The victory is the Red Eddies’ first since 2018.

“We have some kids that have never had a victory. Never had a victory, ever,” first-year Edward Little coach Rick Kramer said. “It’s amazing and I’m excited for them. They deserve it. There were a lot of kids that lifted over the summer time and it paid off tonight.”

The Red Eddies took the lead early in the first half and maintained it until Garrett Card’s touchdown run gave the Eagles a 26-22 lead with about eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Edward Little responded with a roller coaster of a drive.

On fourth-and-10 at the Eddies’ 45, a high snap went over punter Drew Smith’s head. After he ran backwards 15 yards to retrieve the ball, Smith — who is committed to the University of Connecticut baseball team as a pitcher, so he has some arm strength — chucked a pass downfield that Austin Sellinger pulled down for a 13-yard gain, but a much longer throw, and a first down.


“That was crazy,” Edward Little running back Hunter Baker said. “I thought we were done there, and that was an amazing catch by Austin Sellinger there. Amazing.” 

From the Messalonskee 42, Edward Little quarterback Tate Morse connected with Hunter Lachance for a 32-yard pass. A few plays later, on third-and-goal from the 17, Morse threw a high pass to Sellinger for a touchdown, giving the Red Eddies a 28-26 lead with 1:47 remaining in the game.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” Kramer said. “It’s the craziest game around. We had so many times where we should have lost the game, six times over. It shows you the kids never quit. Our motto is pretty much, ‘Go reckless, stay loose and score.’ That’s what we’re all about, and hopefully the kids will play loose the rest of the year and I hope we win again.”

Edward Little got the ball back with 64 second remaining when Connor Irish ended Messalonskee’s next drive with an interception.

Three kneel downs by the Red Eddies and three timeouts by the Eagles gave Messalonskee the ball with 52 seconds remaining, but Edward Little held on for its first victory since beating Lewiston in the Class A North quarterfinals in October 2018 — which was the second of two clutch wins over the rival Blue Devils in consecutive weeks.

The Red Eddies had lost 20 consecutives games since, going 0-10 in 2019 and 0-9 in 2021 (the 2020 season was limited to 7-on-7 touch football due to the coronavirus pandemic).


I don’t know what to say other than everyone was against us,” Kramer said. “Everyone thinks they’re going to win when they play us. I’m just happy for the kids. I hope now that when they’re walking the hallways on Fridays that their friends say, ‘Hey, that was a great game.’ In the past they’ve been telling them, ‘Hey, how much are you going to lose by?’

“So now this hopefully will change their perspective; that we can win things. We had some mistakes of old that came back, but I’ll tell you that these kids are amazing.”

Messalonskee head coach Walter Polky said he knows how Edward Little felt when the clock struck zero on Friday night.

Rick did a wonderful job with those kids,” Polky said. “We were in the same boat as them just last year. … They had a 19-game losing streak, and we had one last year. Guess who we beat? Them. Guess who they beat? Us.”

The Eagles beat the Red Eddies 34-8 in Oakland in the second week of the 2021 season.

The feeling of victory did not go unappreciated by the Edward Little players.


“It was amazing,” Baker said. “It feels amazing. We haven’t had a win in a long while, and we were good as a team tonight. It feels great to come out as a team tonight.”

The back-and-forth nature of the game started in the first quarter.

Messalonskee kicked off its first scoring drive with an interception by Colby Chavarie at the line of scrimmage, giving the Eagles the ball at Edward Little’s 46-yard line.

A 22-yard run from Sam Dube set up a 16-yard touchdown run from Bruce Crowell three plays later. The Eagles converted the two-point conversion on a run from Dube and with 7:10 left in the first quarter the visitors led 8-0.

Edward Little found a groove on offense, and Morse led the Red Eddies on a nine-play, 63-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Sellinger and cut the Eagles’ lead to 8-6 with 1:32 left in the quarter.

Sellinger finished with 40 yards receiving on three catches — all huge: two touchdowns and the throw from Smith on the botched punt that kept the game-winning drive alive.



Edward Little’s ensuing kickoff landed around the Messalonskee 15-yard line and Lucas Pawlina pounced on the bouncing ball before the Eagles got to it. Edward Little had possession once again, this time on the Eagles’ 14-yard line.

“It’s high school football and it comes down to turnovers and penalties, and we lost that battle,” Polky said. “Our situational football, we made opportunities but we need to take advantage of them. We need to do a better job of that as a coaching staff.”

Hunter Baker of Edward Little High School crosses the goal line for a first-quarter touchdown during Friday’s game against Messalonskee High School in Auburn. Baker’s touchdown put the Red Eddies up 12-8. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The Red Eddies capitalized three plays later then Baker ran in a 1-yard score, then the Red Eddies converted the two-point conversion to take a 14-8 lead.

Messalonskee went on a long drive at the beginning of the second quarter, running 10 plays that gained 52 yards. Eagles quarterback Seth Hansen connected with Card for a 15-yard TD pass that tied the game at 14-14 with 6:40 left in the first half.

Neither team’s offense strung together enough plays to break the tie before halftime. Edward Little’s defense had a couple of group sacks on Hansen to stop a drive on turnover on downs near the end of the second quarter.


On the opening play of the second half, Baker took a handoff and broke a tackle on his way up the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown run. A successful two-point conversion pass gave Edward Little a 22-14 lead early in the third.

“It felt good. They were my first varsity touchdowns and it felt great to score two in one game,” Baker said. “The offensive line was great and they gave me some great holes to run through.”

Crowell answered with an impressive 41-yard touchdown run for the Eagles two possessions later.

Crowell bounced to the outside and ran up the right sideline where he ran into a safety with 10 yards to go. Crowell stiff-armed the defender and reached the end zone. Messalonskee didn’t convert the two-point conversion, so Edward Little maintained the lead, 22-20, with 7:04 remaining in the third.

After both teams stalled on drives, Edward Little snapped the ball over the head of the quarterback and Messalonskee recovered on the Red Eddies’ 14-yard line.

On fourth-and-8, Card scored for Messalonskee again, running in from 12 yards out, giving the Eagles a 26-22 lead with 7:59 to play in the game.

Our kids played extremely hard,” Polky said. “The effort these kids give is phenomenal and they played their hearts out. That’s what high school football is supposed to be.”

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