BANGOR — It may not have been an artistic masterpiece to match their season-opening shutout at Skowhegan.
But for the Bangor High School football team, Friday night’s 32-19 victory over Mount Ararat of Topsham at Cameron Stadium represented thriving through adversity.
Two fumbles by the Rams led to a pair of Mount Ararat touchdowns, and while Bangor got its aerial game untracked after barely using it a week earlier, some dropped passes left the team somewhat dissatisfied with merely scoring a comfortable victory
“It’s not easy, you’ve got to show up and play every night,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “I was happy with a lot of what we did, but it wasn’t real clean and it wasn’t real finished-looking.
“Do I like our performance? No. We’ve got to do a better job coaching because we’ve got to clean some of that stuff up.
“We like it to look perfect. We’re perfectionists, and so are the kids, but I liked our fight and I liked our blank and vinegar.”
What was constant for Bangor was its defense, which limited Mount Ararat to 50 rushing yards on 34 carries as senior captain Josh Bishop, sophomore nose guard Cain Corkum and senior tackle Tyler Shanklin controlled the line of scrimmage.
“In practice we went up against all the different looks they would throw against us,” said Bishop, “so if they went shotgun we knew what they might do or if they were in I formation we worked against what they might do.
“Then we just hit them hard every play and did our best to win the line of scrimmage.”
Senior linebacker Joe Stanevicz added two quarterback sacks, while Bangor also forced four Mount Ararat turnovers — interceptions by Jon Fader and Joe Seccareccia and fumble recoveries by Corkum and Nic Cota.
Bangor amassed 357 yards of total offense, with Seccareccia rushing for two touchdowns and completing 10 of 21 passes for 136 yards with two more scores — both to junior wideout Nick Sherwood.
“They found out about our run, so we decided to pass the ball more and we got some yardage on that and that was key for us,” said Sherwood. “We try to bash first, but we realize that dash is important, too.”
Josiah Hartley had his second straight 100-yard rushing game for Bangor with 101 yards on 17 carries, while sophomore Zeb Tuell added 62 yards on just eight attempts.
Bangor spotted 0-2 Mount Ararat a 7-0 lead on a 45-yard pass from Brett Milliken to Luke Liedman with 9:16 left in the first quarter.
The Rams responded with 26 unanswered points. Seccareccia capped off a 65-yard drive with a 1-yard keeper to pull Bangor within 7-6, then a fumble recovery by Corkum set up a 9-yard scoring strike from Seccareccia to Sherwood to give Bangor a 14-7 lead with 8.4 seconds left in the opening period.
Seccareccia set up his second rushing touchdown with an interception of Milliken at midfield. Ten plays later, he scored from the 2.
Fader then picked off a Milliken pass along the Mount Ararat sideline one play after the kickoff and returned the ball 25 yards to the Eagles’ 23.
Seccareccia then found Sherwood open along the right side on the next play, and Bangor’s lead was 26-7 with 5:02 left in the first half.
But Mount Ararat regained some hope in the final 90 seconds of the second quarter when Bangor fumbled on the first play after taking over on downs near its goal line and the Eagles’ Colby Barnes recovered the loose ball out of the air and ran five yards into the end zone to draw his team within 26-13 at the break.
Bangor chewed up much of the third quarter with a 16-play, 70-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard scoring run by Hartley to extend the margin to 32-13.
Mount Ararat scored its final touchdown as the game ended on a 1-yard run by Derek True. That came after Bangor had stopped the Eagles on four downs from the 1, only to fumble the ball away on the next play.