LINCOLN, Maine — Motivation can come in many forms in this technological age.
For the Bucksport football team, motivation Friday night came from the World Wide Web, and the Mattanawcook Academy Lynx were the victims as the undefeated Golden Bucks pulled away after intermission for a 37-0 LTC victory at Curry Field.
“Not everyone believes we’re that good,” said two-way Bucksport standout Robbie Winters, citing talk on Internet chat rooms. “Not everyone believes we should be 7-0, so we just wanted to come out and prove that we’re one of the best, and we did it.”
That they did, outgaining MA 414-149 in total yardage and putting the game away with three touchdowns in the first 5:43 of the second half.
“That’s as good as we’ve played in a long time on all sides of the ball — offense, defense and special teams,” said Bucksport coach Joel Sankey.
Senior tailback Nate Warren led Bucksport, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 197 yards on 19 carries to surpass 1,500 yards on the season.
That effort was highlighted by a 60-yard scoring run on the Golden Bucks’ first offensive play of the second half. The reigning Class C state champion in the 100 dash took a pitch from quarterback Kyle McGeechan, used a block from fullback Alex Giosia (80 rushing yards) to get to the right corner, then jumped over a Mattanawcook defender before racing down the sideline to extend Bucksport’s lead to 21-0.
“The play’s designed to go outside,” said Warren. “I like to cut in, but usually that’s a bad idea. That time I stayed outside.”
That play was a huge momentum changer, for Mattanawcook had threatened to make this a close game in the final minute of the first half. The Lynx (4-3) reached the Bucksport 1 on an 8-yard run by Brady Vose but then were stuffed for no gain on a quarterback sneak and set back 15 yards by a penalty that ended the threat.
Bucksport countered with two touchdowns within a 60-second span at the outset of the second half, as Warren’s scoring run 1:47 into the third quarter turned a potential 13-7 game into a 21-0 Bucksport lead.
The Bucks’ Andrew Findlay then recovered a fumble on MA’s next possession, and McGeechan scrambled into the end zone from 14 yards out on the next play to extend the margin to 28-0.
“One or two plays can really swing the momentum,” said MA coach Dave Hainer.
“We give the ball up at the end of the half and Warren breaks one on their very first play of the second half, so instead of 13-7 you’re looking at 21-0 in about two minutes of game time.
“And as much as you tell your kids to keep their heads up, they’re kids and they can feel the momentum changing.”
The blitz continued on Bucksport’s next possession, though the Golden Bucks were close to being stopped, facing fourth-and-3 at the MA 45. But Warren took the handoff, leaped over the pile of humanity at the line of scrimmage to gain first-down yardage, then broke through two tacklers and kept going to the end zone for his third touchdown.
“Nate’s absolutely huge for us,” said Winters. “He’s just a game-breaker.”
Bucksport added its final points midway through the fourth quarter when linebacker Robbie Maguire sacked MA’s Kyle Epp in the end zone for a safety.
Vose finished with 67 rushing yards on 12 carries, but the Lynx struggled to find other offensive sources. MA’s only other sustained drive ended on a diving interception by Findlay at the Bucksport 19 midway through the second quarter.
“We knew they were going to come out in a spread look, so we worked on stopping their outside running plays and misdirection,” said Winters, “and what can I say, our D-line stepped up, blew up their offensive line and we dominated pretty much.”
Bucksport drove 64 yards on nine plays to open the game, taking a 7-0 lead when Giosia scored on a 3-yard run.
The Golden Bucks used another long march, this time 61 yards on 11 plays, to extend their lead to 13-0 when Warren scored from 10 yards out with 7:47 left in the half.