Foxcroft’s Academy’s offense barely touched the ball during the first half of Friday night’s Class D football encounter against rival Bucksport at Oakes Field.
It turned out the Ponies didn’t need it all that much.
Coach Danny White’s club used big plays to erase an early 7-0 deficit, then relied on its depth of playmakers to cap off an undefeated regular season with a 55-15 victory over the visiting Golden Bucks.
The Ponies (8-0) will enter the playoffs next weekend as the top seed in the eight-team Class D playoffs, while Bucksport fell to 2-5.
“It means a lot since it’s my senior year going 8-0, but now we have to take it one week at a time,” said Foxcroft senior running back and linebacker Jesse Drury, who epitomized Foxcroft’s roster versatility as he scored four touchdowns in three different ways.
His 69-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Austin Seavey on Foxcroft’s fourth play from scrimmage erased Bucksport’s early ball-control dominance and tied the game as time expired in the first quarter.
Drury returned a pass interception 40 yards for a touchdown with 3:19 left in the second quarter, barely two minutes after teammate Jaydon Richard scored the same way on a 69-yard interception return.
By the time Drury scored again on a 5-yard pass from Seavey with 7.3 seconds left before intermission, Foxcroft was in complete control with a 27-7 cushion.
Drury finished with 154 yards of total offense, 79 on seven rushes and 74 yards in catches, to go with his interception return and a 68-yard kickoff return.
“I thought our effort was a little bit low and needed to get better, but as a team we stepped it up,” said Drury, who added a 42-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
Teammate Gage Beaudry also scored a fourth-quarter touchdown on a 5-yard run.
Seavey utilized five different receivers to complete 13 of 19 passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns, including third-quarter scoring strikes of 15 yards to Cameron Chase and 17 yards to Jackson Smith as the Ponies scored 55 unanswered points until Bucksport senior Josh Miller (25 carries, 177 yards) scored on a 53-yard burst with 2:08 left in the game.
“We put in a ton of work this offseason on the practice field just getting guys reps and we’ve really built that chemistry between me and all my different guys,” Seavey said. “I trust all of them just as much as they trust me.”
Bucksport chewed up the first 7 minutes, 37 seconds of the opening quarter with a 74-yard drive that produced a 7-0 lead when sophomore quarterback Ayden Maguire completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior Ty Giberson.
Foxcroft went three-and-out before the Ponies’ defense finally was able to slow Bucksport on a big hit by senior tackle Anthony Smith that sent Gavyn Holyoke for a 5-yard loss followed by a third-down incompletion that forced the Golden Bucks to punt.
Seavey then lofted a first-down pass deep down the right sideline that Drury caught in stride and carried to the end zone to tie the game.
“I was a little confused at first on what they were trying to do with us, they brought a lot of pressure and I didn’t have a lot of time in the pocket, so I told coach we’ve got the athletes that are better than their athletes so let’s spread them out,” Seavey said.
“We went empty with Jesse all the way out wide and had him run a post on a kid who was pressing him and I’ll take his speed over any other kid’s speed in the state.”
Then came time for Foxcroft’s defense to come up with the big plays.
Bucksport embarked on another lengthy possession, but FA linebacker Chase Higgins hurried Maguire on a second-and-22 pass from the 41 that hung up in the air long enough for Richard to intercept and then race 69 yards to give the Ponies’ their first lead with 5:30 left before intermission.
Five plays later the defense struck again, this time with Devin Henderson applying the pass rush that led to Drury’s interception and touchdown return with still 3:19 remaining in the half.
Kemsley Masters popped up the ensuing kickoff, and Henderson eventually won the race to the free ball at the Bucksport 29, with that field position eventually leading to Seavey’s TD pass to Drury to cap off the first-half scoring.
“Fortunately for us we got the turnovers and took advantage of them, and that’s what you’ve got to do,” White said. “We put ourselves in a position to be able to play with the lead and they had to keep throwing.”