BREWER, Maine — After scoring the game’s final 32 points to pull away to a 45-14 victory over Brewer in their regular-season finale Friday night, Logan Steward and the rest of the Hampden Academy football team left Doyle Field nowhere near content with their performance as they looked forward to postseason play just a week away.
“I’d love to say we’re ready, but every team’s always got things to work on,” said Steward, a senior running back who rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to pace the Broncos’ offense. “This week we saw some things we definitely need to work on, and we’ll be working on them next week.”
The win was the seventh straight for Hampden, which is now 7-1 and will host a yet-to-be determined opponent in next weekend’s Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinals. Brewer (5-3) also is headed for postseason play but likely faces a road test in its first-round matchup.
Brewer took a 14-13 lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by Brody Valley with 5:55 left in the second quarter, but Hampden scored twice more before intermission — on a 16-yard pass from Matt Martin to Nick Rodgerson with 3:07 left and a 9-yard run by Martin with just 9 seconds remaining — to take a 29-14 halftime lead.
The Broncos’ final score of the half was set up by a fumble recovery by Jeremy Kelsey at the Brewer 33 with 2:57 left.
Hampden, which was out of timeouts, forged its way to the 7 before Steward was stopped inbounds for a 2-yard loss on third-and-goal.
But a Brewer player was injured during the play, prompting a clock stoppage with 28 seconds left. The Witches then were forced to use a timeout, giving the Broncos time to set up a play in which Martin faked a handoff to Ben Cambridge and then powered his way up the middle and into the endzone to give Hampden a major boost entering the break.
“I think that definitely gave us momentum,” said Hampden senior Matt Haws. “We were trying to pass and we weren’t getting anything done, but we got the clock stopped and we were able to run it in.”
The Broncos subsequently drove 61 yards in nine plays after taking the second-half kickoff to extend its advantage to 35-14 a 4-yard scoring run by Steward with 7:16 left in the third period.
A 27-yard field goal by Roy Donnelly and a 17-yard touchdown run by Reed Pozzy rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter.
“I think Brewer came out and got after us early, I wasn’t real thrilled with the way we started,” said Hampden coach Harry McCluskey. “But we came back and our defense stood up in the second half, that was the big thing.”
Hampden, the state’s highest-scoring Class B team at 42 points per outing entering the contest, amassed 366 total yards, with six different ball carriers combining for 322 yards behind the line play of seniors Logan Lafayette, Josh DeLima and Jackson Cust and juniors Joseph Doyon and Cameron Prescott.
The Broncos were forced to punt just once.
“We’ve got a great line and a bunch of kids who can run the ball,” said Haws. “Logan can run.”
Steward ran for 105 yards on 12 carries in the first half alone, including a game-tying 46-yard touchdown run with 2:24 left in the opening period to answer a 10-yard scoring run by Dillon Smith that had given Brewer a 7-0 lead.
Nick Jesiolowski scored on a 27-yard run on Hampden’s next possession to give the Broncos a 13-6 lead, but Brewer countered with a nine-play, 64-yard yard march that ended on Valley’s touchdown run and the go-ahead extra-point kick by Evan Lacey.
“I think we came out a little flat tonight,” said Steward. “It was their Senior Night and the seniors on the other team were definitely pumped up for the game, but then we got our offense kicking and the defense shut them down pretty much the whole second half. We definitely stepped it up.”
Brewer finished with just 149 yards of total offense — 53 in the second half — and was hurt by six turnovers, including two Kelsey fumble recoveries and pass interceptions by Brian Fickett and Matt Haws.
“There’s no doubt that it was a game even into the second half, but turnovers hurt them,” said McCluskey.
Valley finished with 65 rushing yards on 11 carries for the Witches.