BANGOR, Maine — Their playoff seedings already determined, Foxcroft Academy met John Bapst of Bangor in an LTC football matchup Saturday night with little tangible at stake.
Now the intangibles were another story, and those were enough to fire up both teams before John Bapst used two late defensive stands to earn a 32-26 victory at Cameron Stadium.
First, the win avenged a loss to Foxcroft in last year’s Eastern C final.
“You try to put last year in the past, but these are high school kids and they remember,” said John Bapst coach Dan O’Connell, “so it meant a lot to them.”
And with John Bapst (7-1) second and Foxcroft (5-3) third in the final Crabtree points, the rivals are seeded to meet again in two weeks in the LTC semi-finals if they win their quarter-final games.
“Losing last year in the Eastern Maine game, there was that chip on the shoulder and we wanted to get them back,” said John Bapst junior Bill Wetherbee. “We’ll probably see them again.”
The teams combined for 813 total yards, including four 100-yard rushing performances. Wetherbee had a game-high 151 rushing yards, while teammate Derek Smith rushed for 104 yards and passed for 118. Foxcroft got 125 rushing yards from Ian Champeon and 100 yards from fullback Wade Witham.
John Bapst scored first on a 36-yard pass from Smith to Max Andrews, but Foxcroft took a 14-6 lead late in the first period on a 25-yard run by Chase Hutchinson and a 31-yard pass from Ryan Stroud to Champeon.
John Bapst then scored 26 unanswered points to take a 32-14 halftime lead. Wetherbee scored on runs of 51 and 16 yards, and Smith passed 57 yards to Shane Hass and added a 3-yard TD run with 25.9 seconds left in the half — a score set up by his own 64-yard run.
Champeon gained 22 yards on the first play of the third quarter, setting up a 23-yard TD pass from Stroud to Stetson Bowden to cut the gap to 32-20.
A 24-yard punt return by Hutchinson then set up a 34-yard scoring run by Champeon to make it 32-26 with 3:48 left in the third quarter.
Champeon sat out several minutes with a leg injury, but the Ponies still marched 49 yards on their next possession before being thwarted when Wetherbee knocked away a pass intended for Josiah Richard at the goal line and Foxcroft failed to convert on fourth-and-seven from the Bapst 23.
Foxcroft got one last chance, but Champeon was stopped short on fourth-and-three near midfield with 2:10 left in the game.
“I think we can take a lot of things away from this game,” said Foxcroft coach Paul Withee. “That’s an outstanding offensive team and we shut them down in the second half, at times without Ian being out there. We didn’t stop playing, we played hard the whole game and it was a battle. We just can’t get down 32-14 and then try to come back.”