June 20, 2018
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MMA’s title game script full of thrills

Bangor Daily News | BDN
Bangor Daily News | BDN

Every game is like a drama.

You never really know what you’re going to see.

You have preconceived notions. Sometimes they come to fruition. Sometimes they don’t.

The New England Football Conference championship game Saturday was one for the ages.

On one side, you had the triple option which has been perfected by Maine Maritime Academy and its Don Nottingham-like fullback Jim Bower.

On the other side, you had a Curry College team featuring a multi-threat quarterback by the name of Zach Cavanaugh, who came to Curry via Marshfield, Mass., and Hebron Academy.

It was an absolutely miserable day in Milton, Mass., but the 1,337 who braved the elements left with a lasting memory of MMA’s 48-42 triumph.

Despite the wet artificial turf, the offenses were marching up and down the field.

They combined for 846 yards in total offense.

There was only one sack and that was registered by MMA.

Third-and-long situations were few and far between.

Both teams converted exactly half of their third downs into first downs.

Both quarterbacks, MMA’s Tyler Angell and Curry’s Cavanaugh, completed 4-of-8 passes.

Two of Angell’s completions came on 4th-and-two and 3rd-and-eight situtations and led directly to touchdowns.

Maine Maritime Academy converted all five of its red zone marches into touchdowns and Curry converted three of four.

MMA rallied from a 21-6 deficit to pull within 21-20 at the half and the teams were never separated by more than seven points the rest of the way.

Watching MMA’s offense is like watching a successful control pitcher whose fastball rarely hits 90 miles an hour.

You don’t understand how they can succeed until you realize they feature precise execution on every play or every pitch.

Tyler Angell will never be confused with Tom Brady. He may not even throw as well as Greg Brady [from the Brady Bunch].

But he executes the option brilliantly, knowing when to hand the ball to Bower; when to keep it himself and when to pitch it to Nick Bourassa or Todd Murphy.

The 5-foot-9 Angell has rushed for 645 yards on 117 carries which averages out to 5.5 yards per carry. Bourassa has rushed for 815 yards on 70 carries for a mind-boggling 11.6 yards per carry.

Then there’s Bower.

The 5-9, 225-pounder isn’t fast. He really isn’t very quick, either.

But his leg drive, fierce determination and low center of gravity make him virtually impossible to tackle and he lugs tacklers up and down the field.

Chalk him up for 1,467 yards on 231 carries (6.4 ypc) this season.

And don’t forget the interior offensive line comprised of tackles Michael Durrell and Travis Berube, guards Andrew McCann and Michael Secord, center Dan Weamer and wide receiver-tight end Travis Shaw.

The line makes it all possible with their blocking schemes.

The game itself came down to a Hail Mary on the last play that deflected off a Curry safety into the arms of Alex Coulombe.

In a game in which six players rushed for at least 66 yards — MMA’s Bower (166 on 37 carries), Bourassa (77 on 7) and Angell (66 on 20) and Curry’s Jamaal Woods (146 on 26), Cavanaugh (101 on 13) and John Sughrue (84 on 10) — it was decided by a desperation heave by Angell.

That’s the beauty of sports.

It certainly wasn’t an ending you anticipated. But what an ending it was!

If it had gone to overtime, they might still be playing. And scoring.



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