LEWISTON — The Bangor Rams controlled the football during their Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal against Lewiston on Saturday night.
But the Blue Devils controlled an even more important element of the game — the scoreboard — in earning a 34-26 victory at Don Roux Field.
Wes Myers rushed for 110 yards and returned a first-quarter kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown as Lewiston ended an 0-4 playoff drought against Bangor since 2001.
“Coach [Bill County] always says they knock us out every year, so this was one of his things to do before he dies, beat Bangor in the playoffs,” said Lewiston quarterback Ronnie Turner, who rushed for two touchdowns and passed for a third.
The 8-1 Blue Devils visit 8-1 Edward Little of Auburn in next weekend’s semifinals
Sixth-seeded Bangor ran 82 plays from scrimmage compared to 43 for No. 3 Lewiston, totaling 434 yards of offense and 20 first downs compared to 249 total yards and seven first downs for the Blue Devils.
Lonnie Hackett led Bangor with 154 rushing yards, while Adam Billings ran for 88 yards and Joe Seccareccia passed for 157 yards and a touchdown.
But Lewiston capitalized on big plays, including Myers’ kickoff return on the Blue Devils’ first offensive touch of the game and a 57-yard TD pass from Turner to Chuck Faletra on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
Those long strikes left Bangor playing from behind all night, though the Rams did take a brief 6-0 lead 3:42 into the game when Hackett scored on a 21-yard run.
“I was pretty proud of how we played and how we kept fighting back. We just came up a little short,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett, whose team ended its season at 3-6.
Lewiston built a 20-6 second-quarter lead thanks to short Bangor punts into the wind that gave the Blue Devils good field position, with Cody Dussault and Turner both scoring on 1-yard runs.
Bangor rallied before intermission, as Seccareccia scored on a 4-yard bootleg run and later drove the Rams 63 yards in 2 minutes, 10 seconds to tie the game on a 20-yard TD pass to Nate Henigan with 10.2 seconds left in the half.
That momentum was short-lived, as Turner found Faletra open behind the Bangor secondary at the outset of the third quarter to restore Lewiston to a 26-20 lead.
Bangor drove 45 yards in 12 plays later in the period but was stopped short on fourth-and-inches at the Lewiston 32.
The Blue Devils then raced 68 yards in four plays, as Myers ripped off a 45-yard gain on first down and Turner rolled out to his left two plays later and scored on a 22-yard run to extend Lewiston’s lead to 34-20 with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Bangor closed within eight points early in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Billings, and reached the Lewiston 7 in the game’s final minute on a march that included a 25-yard pass from Seccareccia to Tyler Pembroke (four catches, 107 yards) on fourth-and-14 from the Rams’ 42.
But Lewiston’s Derek Roy stuck Hackett for a 6-yard loss on second down, and Bangor got no closer than the 10 before Lewiston took over on downs with 23.3 seconds left.