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Cougars edged in football opener, 21-20
DIXFIELD -- The Dirigo football team has to be prepared for anything and that curve started immediately in the season opener.
The Cougars needed to come from behind and led throughout the second half. However, Freeport scored late in the fourth quarter for a 21-20 triumph Friday night.
It was the first ever countable game played under the lights before a small crowd at Harlow Park.
Dirigo had taken control in the second quarter, with 123 yards of total offense, scoring three TDs to take a 20-14 lead.
Quarterback Ben Holmes threw an 18-yard TD pass to Spencer Trenoweth, fullback Jake Dowling scored on a short burst behind the offensive line and Bryan Blackman had an 11-yard run for a score.
Holmes completed both of his passes in the quarter for 32 yards, including a Nelson Pepin 14-yard reception to keep a drive going. Blackman took over the rushing load, gaining 61 yards on nine carries and had a two-point conversion rush. The Cougars failed to convert one conversion and one extra point, which would prove costly.
The Cougars had a 25-12 win against Freeport last year. This time, Dirigo misfired and mustered 20 yards of offense in the fourth quarter and Holmes (2 of 8 for 32 yards) threw two interceptions, the latter with less than two minutes left in the game. The Cougars' lack of discipline led to two big penalties -- holding and a late hit. Freeport capitalized and scored on a 22-yard pass to tie the score at 20. The extra point split the uprights with a little more than two minutes left in the game, Freeport led 21-20.
Freeport had scored in the first quarter. Dirigo had reached the red zone, but the drive ended prematurely when a runnerfumbled the ball on the Falcon five. Dirigo had struggled, with a 39-yard punt return brought back for a block in the back and ran four plays for two yards in the entire first quarter.
Blackman led the Cougars with 78 yards rushing, followed by Jake Dowland, four carries for six yards,
Justin Jasper, 10 lugs for 24 yards, Caleb Hall for a year, and Holmes, three runs for 15 yards.
Freeport completed a pass down the sideline for a TD to lead 14-0 early in the second quarter. The third quarter resulted in turnovers for Freeport and lack of offense for Dirigo.