BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor High School football team could have backed into the Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs even with a loss in Friday night’s regular-season finale.
But with cross-river rival Brewer as the opponent for the 101st time in their historic series, the Rams’ motivation was two-dimensional — not only to end its personal three-game losing streak, but also to extend the program’s winning ways against the Witches to 10 straight games covering the last 17 years.
Bangor accomplished both missions with a 45-20 victory over Brewer before a Home-coming crowd at Cameron Stadium.
Bangor (3-5) likely will finish sixth in the final PTC standings, which may set up a quarterfinal matchup at Skowhegan next Friday night, but official pairings won’t be determined until after Saturday’s games.
“I think we’re almost there,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “We’ve got another week to play now, and we are a better team. The kids work hard, they play hard, and they are better than they were a week ago or two weeks ago.
“Is it good enough? We’ll have to wait and see.”
Junior tailback Lonnie Hackett helped Bangor improve its record against Brewer to 73-20-8 by rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries to surpass 1,000 yards for the season.
But it was his 82-yard kickoff return early in the third quarter that gave the Rams ultimate control of this contest.
After the Witches’ Aaron Lacey had recovered a fumble on Bangor’s first possession of the second half, Brewer drew within 20-14 when Coby Hutchins hit Billy Bissell with a 30-yard touchdown pass and Sean Murphy rushed for the two-point conversion.
That momentum lasted all of 14 seconds, the time it took Hackett to gather the ball at his 18, wait for his blockers to do their work, and then explode down the left sideline to the end zone to restore the Rams to a 26-14 lead with 9:32 left in the third quarter.
“The blocking was great,” he said. “They hit one guy, and it just started a chain reaction and the next thing I know there was a huge hole and all I did was run.
“I was just letting the blocking develop and luckily it did and it turned out to be a big play.”
A fumble recovery by Joe Quinn set Bangor up for a touchdown on its next possession, a 72-yard drive capped off when quarterback Joe Seccareccia found Darren Casey-Covell on a slant pattern for a 21-yard touchdown strike that extended the lead to 33-14 with 46 seconds left in the period.
Fullback Adam Billings made it 39-14 with a 29-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
Brewer then got a 28-yard scoring run from Tylor Perry before Bangor senior Joe Moore completed the scoring with a 36-yard touchdown reception from Dylan Morris.
Bangor finished with 281 of its 359 total yards on the ground, with Billings adding 56 yards on seven carries and Tyler Pembroke contributing 52 yards and a TD on five tries.
Brewer rushed for 197 of its 263 total yards, with Bissell gaining 66 yards on 19 tries.
Lonnie Hackett gave Bangor a 6-0 lead with an 8-yard touch-down run with 1:25 left in the opening quarter.
Pembroke made it 12-0 on a 14-yard run early in the second period before Brewer fullback Sean Murphy powered in from the 1 to cut the gap to 12-6 four plays after teammate Justin McBreairty recovered a fumbled Bangor punt return.
But that momentum also vanished quickly, as Bangor drove 56 yards in less than two minutes to push its lead to 20-6 when Nate Henigan made a spectacular juggling catch of a 16-yard touchdown pass from Seccareccia in the left rear corner of the end zone with 2:12 left before intermission.