SKOWHEGAN — Members of the Bangor High School football team are wearing the number “48” on their helmets this fall — not out of respect to a fallen teammate, but as a reminder never to let up during the 48 minutes that make up each game.
The Rams played their season opener Friday night like they didn’t need such a reminder, rolling to a 49-0 victory over Skowhegan at Reginald Clark Memorial Field.
“We wanted to get off to a good start, and I think we did that,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “There wasn’t a lot of trickery, it was the bash part of the ‘Bash and Dash’ that we like to do and we need to be able to do that to get to where we want, especially in our league. I was very proud with the way they performed.”
The defending Eastern Maine Class A champions showed off a complete football package against a youthful Skowhegan team.
Senior Josiah Hartley, making his first start at tailback after being moved from wide receiver in an effort to get the ball into his hands more often, made that move pay off with 125 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries to pace a Bangor offense that generated 312 total yards, 297 on the ground while not committing a turnover.
“I felt like I was running downhill because the line did a great job tonight,” said Hartley. “If it wasn’t for the holes they were making up front, I wouldn’t have been able to run like I did.”
Quarterback Joe Seccareccia and tailback Wyatt Frost each added 55 rushing yards for the Rams, while Zeb Tuell rushed for 49 more yards.
Bangor’s defense, meanwhile, largely controlled Skowhegan’s combination double wing and Power-I offenses, limiting the Indians to 136 rushing yards and just seven first downs — two after intermission.
“Our defense did very well tonight,” said Bangor junior Nic Cota, the lone linebacker in the Rams’ defensive set. “The line did a great job on the push, the strong safety did a great job of containing on the outside, the free safety did a heck of a job and as the linebacker I just went tackle to tackle.
“It was a great first step, everyone did a heck of a job. But we can’t stop here, we’ve got to keep going and keep getting better.”
Bangor’s defense forced three Skowhegan turnovers, interceptions by Cota and Tuell and a fumble recovery by Seccareccia in which he stripped the ball from the Indians’ Tyler Savage and raced 55 yards for a touchdown.
“He’d already got a first down but I noticed he was kind of loose with the ball, so I took it out of his hands and took off down the sideline,” said Seccareccia. “No one knew what was going on, but I felt good. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had and one of the best plays I’ve ever had.”
Bangor also did the little things well, getting a 7-for-7 performance on extra points from sophomore Carl Farnham and committing just one penalty on the night.
“They’re a good football team, well-coached with good players,” said Skowhegan coach Mike Marston, whose team was led by a 91-yard rushing performance from junior Adam Dusty. “But I thought we did some things well. We’re fairly green and it showed at times, but I think we can be a good football team.”
Bangor stopped Skowhegan on downs at the Indians’ 41-yard line to open the game, then just needed four plays before Hartley scored from the 1 with 7:13 left in the opening quarter.
Cota then intercepted a pass by Skowhegan quarterback Ethan Johnson at the Indians’ 37 and returned it to the Bangor 48. Two plays later Hartley got to the outside and raced down the left sideline 43 yards for a score to give Bangor a 14-0 lead with 3:15 left in the first period.
Hartley scored from 8 yards out to cap off a nine-play, 63-yard drive that extended the margin to 21-0 midway through the second quarter, and Seccareccia scored his defensive touchdown on Skowhegan’s next possession to give Bangor a 28-0 halftime lead.
Seccareccia added a 2-yard scoring run in the third quarter before both teams turned to their benches.
Rams’ backup quarterback Dylan Morris scored on a 4-yard keeper in the final minute of the third period, and Justin Scripture found Matt Cosgrove along the left sideline in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass to round out the scoring with 8:08 left in the game.