HAMPDEN, Maine — Hampden Academy senior Dan Marquis scored three touchdowns, the third on a 35-yard interception return with 38 seconds left, to propel the Broncos by the Skowhegan High School Indians 32-26 in a back-and-forth Pine Tree Conference football matchup Friday night.
“When I saw the formation, I stepped back and took a look,” Marquis said of the interception. “Once I saw [the wide receiver] stutter step maybe three steps out and saw him going, I just went straight for the ball.”
Both teams are now 2-1.
Skowhegan junior running back Kaleb Brown began the scoring on the Indians’ first possession. The point-after sailed wide, giving Skowhegan a 6-0 lead.
The Broncos would respond on the following drive on an 8-yard TD from senior quarterback Matt Martin to wideout Marquis. Skowhegan managed to get a hand on the ensuing point-after kick to keep the score knotted at six.
The defenses held both teams scoreless in the second quarter after a huge interception by Skowhegan on its own goal line prevented Hampden from taking the lead.
Hampden would score on its first possession of the second half on a 13-yard pass from Martin to senior wide receiver Tanner Bisbee that was set up by Martin’s 35-yard scramble earlier in the drive.
Martin would finish with more than 350 total yards to go along with 3 TDs to lead the Broncos.
The Indians would respond on the ensuing drive on a 13-yard pass from Clukey to senior tight end D.J. Allen. Clukey would finish with two TDs to go along with 280 yards passing.
Hampden retook the lead two drives later on a 34-yard bomb from Martin to senior wideout Matt Closson.
“I looked right, scanned left and saw that he had a step on the corner so I let it go,” Martin said of the play. “He was able to go up and get it.”
Skowhegan would respond with a TD on third-and-goal from the 11-yard line on the next possession. The Indians converted the two-point conversion to take a 20-18 lead.
Marquis’ second TD on a screen pass two minutes into the final quarter put Hampden back on top 26-20 after the two-point conversion. A 32-yard TD from Clukey to Brown a couple of possessions later leveled the score at 26.
Hampden’s next drive would stall in Skowhegan territory, but Marquis’ interception return for a TD on the Indians’ next possession put the Broncos back up 32-26. Clukey would quickly march Skowhegan into Hampden territory on the following drive but could not find the end zone, sealing the Broncos’ 32-26 victory.
“Overall our defense played well,” first-year Hampden head coach Kevin Canty said. “We bend, but we didn’t break. We need to spend some time on our kicking game, but all in all we can’t really be too upset, we got a second win under our belt.
“As long as I can look on film and see we’re improving week by week, I’m satisfied.”
“They ran the ball better than we had seen on film, and they’re a bigger team than us,” Skowhegan head coach Matt Friedman said. “We tried to be physical and we did a decent job but we just ran out of gas I guess.
“We made a lot of mistakes in the first half: we had a lot of penalties, we put the ball on the ground a few times. We’re not the biggest team in the world [...] We can’t afford to make mistakes, especially on the road.”
Both teams take to the road for their next matchup Sept. 27. Hampden faces off against Gardiner High School, while Skowhegan travels to Brunswick High School to take on the Dragons.