June 20, 2018
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Resurgent Hampden Broncos roll to win


HAMPDEN, Maine — There’s no better way to bounce back from a disappointing loss than to dominate the line of scrimmage.

Hampden Academy’s offensive line of Richard Hoch, Nick Fitzpatrick, Caleb O’Donald, Davis Rawcliffe and Tyler Poll led the way Friday night as the Broncos piled up 507 yards of total offense during a 46-6 victory over rebuilding Mount Desert Island at the Weatherbee Complex on Friday night.

Sophomore Nick Stevens rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries, while Ryan Blake added 118 yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts as Hampden amassed 343 yards on the ground.

“The offensive line guys were the stars of the game,” said Hampden coach Harry McCluskey.

Junior quarterback Jon Haws provided balance to Hampden’s offense, completing 7 of 10 passes for 164 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown strike to Nolan Turner.

Turner also scored on a 9-yard touchdown run for the Broncos.

“I feel great about our passing game, and we can run it when we want,” said Haws. “We were pounding it up the middle and getting first downs, and when we needed to pass it was there.”

The win erased some of the lingering disappointment from last week’s 29-22 overtime loss at Leavitt of Turner Center, a game in which the Broncos led 22-7 in the third quarter and gave up a game-tying safety late in the fourth quarter.

“I think we just used it to fuel us for this game,” said Hampden senior fullback and linebacker Michael Jenkins. “We had a great week of practice, and we just channeled it into some great football tonight.

“We got comfortable last week. We didn’t get comfortable tonight.”

Hampden (1-1) started quickly against a young MDI team made even younger without senior running back Derek Colbeth, sidelined by injury after rushing for 136 yards and two TDs during the Trojans’ Week 1 win over Belfast.

After Haws recovered a fumble by Nat Hinckley on MDI’s first possession, the Broncos drove 37 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run by Jenkins. Blake kept the drive alive with a 7-yard gain on fourth-and-6 from the MDI 33 and a 13-yard run to the 4 on another fourth-and-6 play.

Hampden went to the air on its next possession, as Haws found Turner open behind the defense down the left sideline on third-and-5 from the Hampden 36.

“We knew they were coming up on passing routes so we took a chance over the top and it paid off,” said Turner, who finished with two catches for 103 yards.

Stevens, a backup running back who starts at nose guard, scored on a sweep around left end on third-and-goal from the MDI 19 to make it 20-0 with 3:20 left in the half. That capped off a 79-yard drive that featured a brilliant one-handed catch over the middle by Turner for a 39-yard gain to the MDI 24.

Hampden scored again just 2:02 into the second half, with Stevens scoring from 18 yards out to cap off a five-play, 58-yard march.

Turner set up his own touchdown run later in the period by intercepting a Duncan Smith pass at the MDI 30.

Blake again picked up a key first down with a 7-yard gain on fourth-and 2 from the 16, and Turner went up the middle to the end zone on the next play to extend Hampden’s lead to 33-0.

MDI broke through on its next possession as Smith hit Oliver Prior with a 14-yard touchdown pass with 1:55 left in the third period.

Hampden added two fourth-quarter scores on a 44 yard run by Blake and an 80-yard sprint down the right sideline by Stevens with 3.5 seconds left.

“I think the big thing was that the kids took last week’s loss so hard I didn’t know how it was going to come out, and I know when we play these guys you never know what’s going to happen,” said McCluskey. “But we came out and played hard and played well.”

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