BANGOR, Maine — Beaten and battered through the first two weeks of the football season, the injury-plagued Bangor Rams absorbed a few more body blows Friday night but used its depth and a productive ground game to defeat Edward Little of Auburn 30-14 in a Pine Tree Conference Class A football clash at Cameron Stadium.
Backup tailbacks Logan Lanham and Jake Lavoie combined for 273 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries as Bangor went the old-school route offensively to earn its first victory.
Bangor (1-2) was without starting running backs and co-captains Cody Chapman and Zeb Tuell to injury coming into the contest, while quarterback Carl Farnham — another captain — was limited to kicking duty after being injured during the Rams’ loss at Lawrence of Fairfield last week.
“We knew we were banged up but at the same time we knew we had to step up because we had to fill in for those guys, and we came out and played our butts off and won the game,” said senior wideout and defensive back Matt Cosgrove. “We had fun.”
That fun came despite the injury bug growing even worse barely four minutes into the contest when yet another captain, fullback Cain Corkum, went down with a shoulder injury.
But Bangor coach Mark Hackett merely went deeper into his bench, and Lanham and Lavoie both came up big behind the line play of center Brendan Moore, guards Cam Dickson and Brandon Vang, tackles Greg Duff and Garrett Strout and tight end Nick Ashey.
“With all the captains, especially in the backfield, being injured, we had to take it upon ourselves to step up this week and carry the team on our backs,” said Duff, who along with Cosgrove were the only Bangor captains to finish the game. “You’ve just got to stay focused and play the game.”
Lanham, a junior, got the start and rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries before being sidelined himself with leg cramps during the third quarter.
Lavoie, a sophomore who took some snaps at quarterback during practice this week to provide additional depth at that position, stepped in as the primary ballcarrier and gained 133 yards on 27 carries — including 127 yards in the second half.
Lanham rushed for 130 yards in the first half as Bangor took a 24-0 lead.
Lanham and Corkum were combining to churn out yardage on the Rams’ first possession until Corkum was injured at the end of a 7-yard gain to the EL 10-yard line.
Sophomore Matt Duff stepped in at fullback, and Bangor just kept running.
“I love Bangor High School and people talk about our size, and we do have depth,” said Hackett. “We may not do the best job coaching all the time, but there’s a lot of talent here and when you get injuries you can put another kid in. They’re all good players and they stepped up and played.”
Farnham kicked a 23-yard field goal to give the Rams a 3-0 lead with 6:27 left in the opening period, and Lanham made it 10-0 five minutes later with a 2-yard scoring run one play after he raced 38 yards down the left sideline.
Lanham scored from 12 yards out with 7:40 left in the first half to cap off a nine-play, 67-yard march, and senior quarterback Sam Stanhope hit Cosgrove with a 20-yard touchdown strike with 1:06 left before intermission.
“Stanhope rolled out to the right, and I did a comeback and was covered,” said Cosgrove. “But when Sam ran out to the corner I just flared out into the back of the end zone and he saw me and threw a great pass.”
Edward Little drove to the Bangor 25 in the final seconds of the half, but the threat ended when Bangor senior Ben Dorr intercepted a pass by Red Eddies’ quarterback Sean Ford.
EL scored its first touchdown after Ryan Rossignol recovered a Lanham fumble at the Bangor 36, as Ford scored three plays later on a 10-yard run and passed to Quin Leary for the two-point conversion to cut the Red Eddies’ deficit to 24-8.
Lanham was hurt on the subsequent kickoff, and an illegal procedure penalty against the Rams on the next play left the Rams with first-and-15 from their own 7-yard line.
Bangor then drove 93 yards in 13 plays, with Lavoie carrying 11 times for 69 yards — including the final 3 yards to extend the Rams’ lead to 30-8 with 1:52 left in the third quarter.
EL, employing a wide-open offensive formation featuring three- and four-receiver sets, drew within 30-14 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Ford to Caleb Spruill eight seconds into the fourth quarter, then got the ball back at the Bangor 14 when defensive lineman Daniel Williams picked up a Lavoie fumble and rambled 77 yards before being chased down by Stanhope.
The Red Eddies’ chance to make it a one-possession game vanished quickly, as Ford fumbled on second down and Bangor linebacker Greg Young recovered at the 10.
“We’re tougher now,” said Hackett. “We got thumped a couple of weeks and it hurt your heart to look around, but you’ve just got to pull up your pants and get going. You’ve got to keep playing.”