BAR HARBOR, Maine — Special teams proved to be extra special for Morse High in Saturday’s Eastern Maine Class B football championships.
Ryan Chaney ran back the second-half kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown while Ethan Kingsbury kicked a 28-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining as the fifth-ranked Shipbuilders from Bath rallied to trip up No. 2 Mount Desert Island 10-7.
Morse (8-2) will take on Western Maine champ Mountain Valley of Rumford in next Saturday’s state final in Portland while MDI finishes a stellar season at 8-2.
This game was a defensive struggle throughout, with both clubs coming up with pivotal stops.
The Trojans went down and scored on the first possession of the game, marching 59 yards in 11 plays, culminating with Tyler Crawford’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Nat Hinckley on a fourth-and-2 play.
After MDI forced a three-and-out, the Trojans penetrated deep into Morse territory again, but Nick Moore and Tyler Pelletier sacked Crawford for a 10-yard loss on a third-and-8 from the Morse 28, forcing a punt.
The Shipbuilders marched to MDI’s 10 late in the first half, but the Trojans forced a fumble and took a 7-0 lead into halftime.
Chaney took the kickoff at his 20, scampered down the right sideline, cut back to the middle and broke a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone. Kingsbury’s extra point knotted the score.
Morse forced MDI into a three and out on its next drive and advanced the ball to the Trojan 39, only to be forced into a punt.
MDI put its running game to work after that, eating up the last couple minutes of the third quarter and nearly eight minutes of the fourth, penetrating to the Shipbuilders’ 11.
However, MDI committed a holding penalty on first down, which took the Trojans out of their running game and Crawford’s third-down pass into the end zone on the 21st play of the drive was picked off by Chaney.
The Shipbuilders marched from their own 20 to MDI’s 11 in nine plays, keyed by Alex Kee’s 32-yard run on the first play, and Kingsbury split the uprights from the right hash with 22.6 on the clock.
J Cavanaugh appeared to fumble on a third-down carry, but he was ruled down before the ball came loose.
Jaime Wallace intercepted a desperation pass from Crawford to cement the win.
Kee led Morse’s offense with 74 yards on 11 carries while Odane Gaynor compiled 92 on 14 carries for the Trojans.