AUGUSTA — The Bangor High School football team responded to its first taste of scoreboard adversity this season with offensive balance and defensive intensity Saturday afternoon.
And the combination enabled the unbeaten Rams to score 21 unanswered points after intermission to surge past Cony of Augusta 28-7 in a Class A encounter at Alumni Field.
"We started using more energy," said Bangor defensive lineman Tyler Shanklin. "In the first half we really didn't have the heart, but we brought it in the second half. We were more physical than they were and in better shape, so we just kept going."
Bangor's defense yielded just 80 yards of total offense in the second half, while the Rams' offense found a successful balance between pass and run, with Joe Seccareccia completing 11 of 18 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Josiah Hartley had five catches for 76 yards while Nick Sherwood and John Kelley each had three receptions, Sherwood for 94 yards and Kelley for 51.
Hartley also had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season with 119 yards on 19 carries to pace a Bangor ground game that amassed 208 yards.
"I think teams are tired of watching the 220-pound tailback run, so they're going to try to take that away first," said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. "Cony did a good job of that, but once we opened it up with the pass then we could come back to running the ball, and we did wear them down."
Bangor (3-0) also was effective in containing Cony quarterback Luke Duncklee, who entered the game as one of the top rushers and passers in the Pine Tree Conference. Duncklee scored his team's lone touchdown, but required 26 carries to net 89 rushing yards while completing 12 of 36 passes for 127 yards.
"I was proud of the way the kids contained him," said Hackett. They exposed us a little bit but we didn't change the defense, we just had to look at it and know what the angle was. There's no way to prepare for him in practice, he's one of a kind.
"They're a good football team, and to hold them to seven points is a heck of a job by our team."
Bangor trailed 7-6 at halftime, but Seccareccia used his punting leg to set up Bangor's go-ahead touchdown by pinning Cony at its 2-yard line with a 43-yard kick.
Cony (1-2) soon was forced to punt from its end zone, and Seccareccia returned it 26 yards to the 10.
On the next play, Hartley went to his right for his second touchdown of the day, and Seccareccia rushed for the two-point conversion to give Bangor a 14-7 lead with 5:06 left in the third quarter.
The Rams then held on downs after Cony drove to the Bangor 30, and Seccareccia subsequently marched the Rams 70 yards to score on a 41-yard touchdown pass to Sherwood on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Seccareccia took a third-and-9 snap and found Sherwood along the left sideline at the 30. Sherwood, a junior wideout, broke two tackles en route to the end zone, and Carl Farnham added the extra-point kick to give Bangor a 21-7 lead.
"Nick ran a beautiful route," said Seccareccia. "The ground was a little slippery today, but he got his feet underneath him, made a few jukes and got to the end zone."
Bangor added its final touchdown on a 2-yard run by Wyatt Frost with 1:23 left in the game. That climaxed a 12-play drive in which Frost carried eight times for 31 yards.
"[Cony] had some good athletes, some strong kids, but I think where we got them was in numbers," said Hartley. "We were able to go strong for all four quarters."
Cony drove 80 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 4-yard keeper by Duncklee with 2:41 left in the opening quarter.
Bangor answered with an 85-yard march that began a 37-yard pass down the right sideline from Seccareccia to Sherwood. Seccareccia then hit Kelley for 23 yards, and while two penalties soon left Bangor with second-and-33, Seccareccia scrambled for 15 yards on third down and then found Hartley in the front right corner of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 11:01 left in the half.
Bangor's defense then came up with a big play after Cony drove to a first-and-goal at the 1. Bangor's defense stopped two Duncklee runs for a minus-2 yards, then Seccareccia intercepted a third-down pass intended for tight end Corey Lapierre in the middle of the end zone.
"That was huge," said Hackett.
Bangor (3-0) 0-6-8-14-28
Cony (1-2) 7-0-0-0—-7
C-Duncklee 4 run (McKee kick)
B-Hartley 30 pass from Seccareccia (kick failed)
B-Hartley 10 run (Seccareccia rush)
B-Sherwood 41 pass from Seccareccia (Farnham kick)
B-Frost 2 run (Farnham kick)