OAKLAND, Maine — With the resounding exception of a giant game by a sensational back with a wounded wing and a bad wheel, the Lewiston High School football team endured a frightful Friday night.
Messalonskee scored early, scored often, scored late and exacted an excruciating physical and emotional toll in a 48-27 Eastern Class A victory.
If the winner and loser don’t shock people, the margin certainly will.
“It’s huge. It’s absolutely huge, especially (with the Pine Tree Conference) only taking four teams to the playoffs,” Messalonskee coach Wes Littlefield said. “Maybe this will wake some people up a little bit.”
Put Lewiston (1-1) on that list. And the Blue Devils had better not hit the snooze button, not with additional road games against Brunswick, Lawrence and Bangor in the immediate future.
The Eagles didn’t rate the preseason publicity of those perennial powers. But they scored on their first play from scrimmage and led by two touchdowns at the half.
Lewiston answered the second-half bell with Jeff Turcotte’s electrifying, 83-yard touchdown ramble. Messalonskee promptly counterpunched with two authoritative scoring drives and drained the life from any comeback aspirations.
Sophomore Corey McKenzie rushed for 145 of his team-high 180 yards in the second half for the Eagles (2-0). He scored touchdowns of 24 and 3 yards.
“I saw in the papers everybody picked them to beat us. That got me a little bit mad,” McKenzie said. “I think we played awesome tonight.”
Turcotte, stymied by a stinger that weakened his left arm and a cramp in his right calf, still finished with 23 carries for 246 yards and three scores.
That was roughly two-thirds of the offense for Lewiston, which was missing the other two-thirds of its dynamic backfield for most of the night.
Joe McKinnon was benched by Lewiston coach Bill County after he was hit with double flags for unsportsmanlike conduct on a play late in the first quarter. Although McKinnon was not ejected from the game, County said that the senior fullback will be sidelined next week, as well.
Matt Therrien departed with a left ankle injury in the second quarter.
“I still thought offensively we weren’t awful,” County said. “We had to throw a couple new guys in there, and obviously Jeff Turcotte’s pretty special.”
Defensively, however, the Devils divined no answers for the Messalonskee double-wing, which sported a rare passing wrinkle thanks to senior quarterback Travis St. Pierre.
St. Pierre hit Sam Dexter for a 64-yard TD on Messalonskee’s initial play and was 4-for-5 for 116 yards in the first half.
“We had to get up early. We wanted to see if we could hit something the first play,” Littlefield said. “(St. Pierre) allows us to do some things back there we haven’t done in years.”
Chris Madden capped Lewiston’s opening drive with a 29-yard strike to Steven Patrie for a 7-7 tie.
McKenzie (24 yards) and Turcotte (45) also exchanged long scoring runs in the opening quarter.
“We kind of got into a little bit of a shooting match. Give one, take one,” County said. “Defensively we just didn’t have an answer. (Messalonskee) has been running that offense for years, but there were a few wrinkles in it. It’s like most power football: You think you’re seeing the same thing every time, but he had a couple of subtle things that I think caught us off guard.”
The Eagles’ front five of Jake Stinson, Dustin Sherman, Zack Dexter, Caleb Bean and Ryan Fecteau and Lewiston’s generosity with penalties (8 for 76 yards) also provided Messalonskee’s offense with ample momentum.
St. Pierre’s pass to Sam Dexter converted fourth-and-17 and set up a St. Pierre sneak for a 21-14 lead early in the second quarter.
A late hit and long St. Pierre run preceded Dexter’s 6-yard score for a 27-14 halftime edge.
Kyle Gleason, Corey Foye and McKenzie all piled on touchdowns in the second half.
Turcotte tucked another 53-yard scoring ramble into the mix. Dexter’s late interception frosted the cake for Messalonskee.
“We knew it was a big game for our season,” McKenzie said.
(c)2011 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)
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