BREWER, Maine — It’s passing game stuck in neutral, the Lewiston football team went to the ground Friday night, and it paid off in a big way.
The Blue Devils piled up 301 yards on the ground, led by Andy Pulk’s 157 as coach William County’s club earned a hard-fought 35-22 victory over a gritty Brewer club at Doyle Field.
A veteran offensive line of center Jake Tanguay, guards Ben Wigant and Kris Gagne and tackles Eddie Chan and Monte Scott cleared gaping holes up the middle for the quick 6-foot-2, 185-pound Pulk to run through. He capped an eight-play, 51-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to give Lewiston the lead after the Devils recovered a fumble on Brewer’s opening possession.
Even though Pulk and County were ecstatic about Lewiston’s efforts on the ground, the struggles in the passing game had them both scratching their heads just a bit.
“It was an off-night throwing so we figured we might as well pound it down, put it in their face,” said Pulk, who had three touchdowns on the night.
After another fumble on the Witches’ second possession, Matt Therrien finished a 62-yard march by scoring from nine yards out, and his two-point conversion rush gave the Blue Devils (2-0) a quick 14-0 lead.
Coach Don Farnham’s Brewer club (0-2) kept battling, however, as its triple-wing offense was effective to the tone of 223 rushing yards, and Jamie Williamson got the Witches on the board with a 20-yard TD burst in the second quarter.
But Brewer’s young defense struggled to neutralize Pulk, who scored from 17 yards out on Lewiston’s next possession.
“I think that our offensive line did a great job blocking,” Pulk said. “I think they’re experienced, so they know what they’re doing.”
Brewer continued to show its toughness on its next possession, covering 62 yards in eight plays, with quarterback Brandon Briggs hooking up with Pat McEwen for a 29-yard TD pass down the left sideline. The subsequent two-point conversion pass made it a 20-14 game at halftime, prompting County to make some adjust-ments.
“We took our inside down tackles and brought them inside a little bit and widened out our linebackers, hoping to stop that off-tackle stuff,” he said.
The Blue Devils’ passing game came to life on the first drive of the second half, as Ronnie Turner completed his only pass of the night for a 29-yard touchdown to Peter Blais. Pulk’s conversion rush made it 28-14.
The Witches’ first possession was an up-and-down one, as they were given new life after punter Dom Drake was roughed, giving Brewer a first down at its own 32.
The Witches eventually marched to the L-17, but two penalties and a fourth-down interception by Tyler Nunez thwarted Brewer’s attempt at points.
“The kids played hard, and we shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties and a couple turnovers,” Farnham said. “Against good teams like Lewiston, you can’t make mistakes. We’re playing hard and the kids are trying but right now we’re making mistakes at the wrong time.”
Lewiston needed only three plays on its next drive to score a game-clinching TD, as Pulk himself covered 62 yards in three plays to put his team up 35-14.
Caleb Woodward, who led Brewer with 90 yards on six carries, scored from 68 yards out late in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
McEwen finished with 64 yards on 12 carries while he also had two catches for 45 yards and a TD. Drake chipped in two catches for 40 yards.