ORONO, Maine — Junior quarterback Austin Spencer had a hand in all seven John Bapst touchdowns as the Crusaders rolled to a 49-18 high school football victory over Orono on Thursday night at Alfond Stadium.
Spencer threw five TD passes, including a 70-yarder on the second play of the game, at the University of Maine’s Morse Field. He then capped the scoring with a 52-yard interception for a TD from his defensive back post.
“He had a great night,” said Bapst coach Dan O’Connell of Spencer. “He has come a long way with his maturity.”
That maturity shows in his improved handling of the position, according to O’Connell.
“He knows he’s going to have pressure put on him and he knows he’s going to be hit, but he understands he has to be patient. When he’s patient he makes big plays.”
Spencer opened the game, which was Senior Night for both squads, firing passes as the Crusaders (7-1) tried to open up the field for their offense.
He missed connecting with Jake Moore on his first pass out on the right flat, then came right back to Moore. He caught his running back in stride down the right sideline, and Moore outraced the Red Riot defenders to complete the 70-yard play 24 seconds into the game. Spencer then ran in a two-point conversion after Bapst bobbled the point-after kick attempt, but Orono was called for a facemask penalty and Bapst got a second chance at the conversion.
Bapst never gave Orono a second chance.
Spencer kept passing, catching receivers open short and long.
“We just felt like we had enough athletes to stretch the field on them,” O’Connell said.
After Andrew Catlin’s interception ended Orono’s first possession, Spencer drove the Crusaders down the field again, capped by a 26-yard TD pass to Austin Cyr and a Patrick Leonard PAT kick.
“We thought if we could get ahead early, the momentum would carry us and it did,” said O’Connell. “Being able to get a lead on Orono [is key]. You know they’re going to run the ball and try to grind out the clock.”
Bapst’s early lead forced Orono to hurry its offense and the Crusaders took advantage.
“The defense really did a great job,” O’Connell said.
Orono fought gamely, cutting the lead to 15-6 when Christian Mowrer scored from 2 yards out after an interception and a Bapst penalty put the ball inside the Bapst 2-yard line.
But that was as close as the Red Riots (6-2) would get.
Spencer tossed a pair of TD passes to Josh Baker and one to Catlin, while Orono added another Mowrer TD run of 21 yards and Norton Revell caught a 25-yard TD pass. Catlin also scored on a 14-yard run in the second quarter.
Both teams will host LTC Class C quarterfinal games next weekend. The Crusaders currently hold the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Maine Class C Crabtree points, but whether they stay there will depend on the outcome of Foxcroft Academy’s game with Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.