LINCOLN, Maine — Even head coach David Hainer had to shake his head and admit it after watching his Mattanawcook Academy football team eliminate Bucksport 18-6 in an LTC quarterfinal playoff game Friday night.
“We did win ugly, but at this point in the season, you’ll take an ugly win because you get to play another week, but I don’t know if ugly will be good enough,” Hainer said. “We have to cut down on the turnovers and cut down on the penalties.”
The 7-2 Lynx of Lincoln fumbled the ball six times, losing it to Bucksport once, and threw two interceptions to go with a whopping 16 penalties for 115 yards. But as eye-popping as those statistics were for the wrong reasons, MA quarterback Ethan White’s were for the right ones.
White carried the ball 35 times for two touchdowns and 209 yards and completed four of nine passes for another TD and 74 yards to lead the third-seeded Lynx past the 4-5 Golden Bucks on a crisp, cold and breezy night at Curry Field.
“I mean, you know he’s going to get the ball, but he’s tough to bring down, he’s elusive and he’s quick,” said Bucksport coach Joel Sankey.
White, who went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season Friday night, credited the blocking up front by offensive linemen Mike Parent, Nolan Pelkey, Dustin Libby, Blake Miller and Aaron Mansur for helping him vex the Bucks’ defensive unit.
“They got me those yards. I owe it all to them,” said White. “We thought we had a little more speed to the outside so we tried to bounce it out on them.
“We played well enough, but practice is going to be hard this week because we played a little sloppy.”
Meanwhile, the Lynx defense was playing anything but sloppy as they limited the Golden Bucks to 143 total yards and causing four turnovers.
“Our kids play with a lot of emotion and hit hard,” said Hainer.
Hainer credits a defensive experiment for his defense’s marked improvement in recent weeks.
“About three weeks ago, we experimented against Old Town and put tailback Grady Markie, who’s lightning quick and strong, at nose guard and told him to just disrupt things in there,” Hainer explained. “We’ve been strong on the edge all year with Greg Hand and Nolan Pelkey, but he’s made all the difference.”
Since the switch, Markie has had seven sacks in the last four weeks.
The Lynx jumped out to a 6-0 lead by marching 56 yards in nine plays. White finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
MA made it 12-0 with 5:24 left in the first half on a quick, five-play, 32-yard scoring drive in which White found Derek Gardner over the middle for a 31-yard TD reception.
The Lynx made it 18-0 with 3:14 left in the third quarter by driving 37 yards in 11 plays with White scoring on a 12-yard run.
The Bucks foiled the shutout by moving 79 yards in eight plays. Bobby Alvarado scored on a 7-yard run with 2:24 left in the game.
The Bucks lost starting tailback and leading rusher Vinny Tymoczko to injury early in the second quarter.
“He’s OK, but we think he has a concussion,” said Sankey. “He was sick to his stomach and lightheaded, so we took him out.
“That hurt us obviously, but we were having a difficult time moving the ball even with him in there.”