Bissell, McEwen, Murphy shine as Witches roll up 401 rushing yards
BREWER, Maine â€” It was raining Orange-and-Black all over Doyle Field Friday night.
The Brewer football team used the mucky and sloppy conditions to its advantage, as nine ball carriers combined for 401 yards rushing while the Witchesâ€™ defense held Oxford Hills of South Paris to 130 net yards in earning a 36-0 triumph for their first victory since returning to the Class A ranks last fall.
â€œItâ€™s a team win â€¦ itâ€™s a team offense and it makes it a team win,â€ said Witches coach Don Farnham, whose club last won in 2006 while in Class B.
The Witches (1-1) fumbled the ball away on the first play of the game, but that didnâ€™t faze them, as Pat McEwen ran around the right side of the Vikesâ€™ eight-man front for a 23-yard touchdown run midway through the first.
Sean Murphy ran in the two-point conversion to give Brewer an 8-0 lead.
The Witchesâ€™ offensive line of tackles Jon Thoms and Matt Junkins, guards Brandon Car-ney and Matt Helfen, center Matt Demchak and tight ends Aaron Lacey and Eric McCarthy cleared massive holes for Murphy (7 carries, 73 yards, 2 TDs), Billy Bissell (10-130-1) and Pat McEwen (11-121-1) in Brewerâ€™s double-wing at-tack.
Bissell and McEwen opened the floodgates in the second quarter, scoring on respective TD runs of 51 and 53 yards to give the Witches a 22-0 lead at the break.
â€œThe big guys for us made wide holes for us and a couple times we had a wide-open hole to cut across the field,â€ said Bissell.
Murphy added a two-yard TD plunge and quarterback Coby Hutchins a 29-yard TD scam-per in the third to cap the scoring.
â€œWeâ€™re a smashmouth team and we just like to pound the ball,â€ Thoms said.
Bissell added, â€œThatâ€™s what it is mostly, just to smash those linebackers out of the way and get into the open field.â€
With the slippery conditions taking away Ox-ford Hillsâ€™ passing attack â€” the Vikings (0-2) came out in a spread formation â€” the Witches geared up to stop the run, keeping at least seven defenders up front throughout the game.
That tactic paid off, as the Vikings would only compile 105 yards on the ground.
â€œHalf their offense was taken away by the weather. Once we realized it was hard to throw tonight, our kids pinned their ears back and really concentrated on the run game,â€ Farnham said.
The Vikingsâ€™ deepest offensive penetration was to the B-3 on their first possession of the second half, but Nate Dubois fumbled on a third-down play and the Witches recovered and drove 93 yards in 12 plays, capped by Murphyâ€™s 2-yard TD.
â€œWeâ€™ve been on the other side with the turn-overs, you feel for Oxford Hills, they had some things going and they would fumble. Weâ€™re just proud of the way [our] kids played,â€ Farnham said.
Brewer was well-prepared for the Vikesâ€™ spread attack.
â€œWe just practiced really hard and we had a good [scout] team that was really important for us, we just played hard,â€ Thoms said.
Brewerâ€™s defense forced three turnovers, all fumbles.
After the rains subsided and the clocked ticked down, the jubilant Witches ran down to the far end of the field, tipped their helmets high and sang the school song as loud as they could.
â€œThat was really cool, thatâ€™s what I wanted,â€ Bissell said. â€œItâ€™s just great, everyoneâ€™s happy, the fans, [the] crowd, they were all waiting for this moment. Thatâ€™s what I wanted, to get [some] wins this year.â€
â€œThis is definitely going to just pump us up for the next game,â€ added Thoms.
Dubois led Oxford Hills with 41 yards on 10 carries.