BANGOR, Maine — These may not have been desperate times as the Bangor football team entered Friday night’s Class A game against unbeaten Edward Little of Auburn on a two-game losing streak.
But the Rams did face a desperate moment early in the second half when the Red Eddies drove to the Bangor 1-yard line, just three feet from taking not only the lead but capturing the game’s momentum.
Bangor responded first with two stops for no gain, then by forcing a fumble that backup lineman Jacob Thompson recovered — setting the stage for the Rams to earn a hard-fought 21-13 victory at Cameron Stadium.
“We always want to win, but tonight was especially like that,” said Bangor junior tail-back Lonnie Hackett, the offensive star with 263 rushing yards and three touchdowns. “If you start 1-3 it would be tough, but we’re back to .500 now and we’d like to keep it going.”
Hackett’s second touchdown, on a 32-yard run with 5:18 left in the first half, gave Bangor a 14-13 halftime lead.
But EL — which lost to Bangor 61-0 at Auburn last fall — took the second-half kickoff and drove from its 36 to the Rams’ 1, a drive keyed by Cody Goddard’s 44-yard pass to Shane Ciriello that ended with Hackett knocking him out of bounds just short of the goal line.
Back-to-back runs by Merton Foss and Dylon Therrien produced nothing for the 3-1 Red Eddies.
After an EL timeout, Grady Burns, normally a lineman, got the ball out of the power-I formation, and Bangor linebacker Steven Seccareccia got his helmet on the ball. The ball came loose, and Thompson fell on it as a pile of humanity fell on him to thwart EL’s last best scoring chance.
“I hit my guy back, and then Steve hit the ball loose and it just bounced off my helmet and then I jumped on the ball and held on to it,” said Thompson, a junior seeing his first varsity action of the season. “The guys tried to grab it from me, but I didn’t let them.”
“I jarred it loose with my helmet,” added Seccareccia. “As a linebacker you know they’re going to run right at you, so you try to stick your helmet right where the ball is and fortunately the ball came loose.”
EL reached the Bangor 25 on its next possession, but the Rams’ Tyler Pembroke broke up a Goddard pass on fourth-and-8 to end that threat.
A 50-yard run by Foss on EL’s next possession gave the 3-1 Red Eddies one more threat, but this time Joe Seccareccia, Steven’s brother, came up with a pass interception at the Bangor 20 with 9:37 to play.
And this time Bangor capitalized, with Hackett racing down the right sideline 40 yards to the end zone to extend Bangor’s lead to 21-13 with 6:33 left.
“Last week we lost in the second half against Lawrence, and we knew we couldn’t let that happen again,” said Hackett. “So we came out hard in the second half, our defense played great and we pulled one out.”
Billings added 76 yards on 16 carries for Bangor, which finished the night with 354 yards on the ground.
“There’s no easy games,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “This was huge, though. They can’t take it away. When you put it into the bank, it’s done.”
Lonnie Hackett scored on an 8-yard run late in the first quarter to give Bangor a 7-0 lead, but EL quickly countered as Goddard found Devin Flynn for a game-tying 39-yard touchdown pass.
The Red Eddies took a 13-7 lead on their next possession, when Foss (18 carries, 167 yards) scored on a 32-yard run.
But Bangor countered with a 67-yard drive capped off when Hackett raced up the middle and then cut to the left sideline for a 32-yard scoring run with 5:18 left before intermission.