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Cougars come up inches short in overtime thriller
WINSLOW -- It was uncharted territory for Dirigo when it buckled up Saturday afternoon for its Campbell Conference football game.
It was a matter of inches that derailed the Cougars on two fronts as Winslow scored on a forward fumble and then Dylan Hapworth added the extra point for a 28-27 overtime thriller at sunny Poulin Field. It was the first-ever contest between the two programs and there was plenty peaks and valleys.
“It’s really tough to sum up. The coaches just told us to ram it down their throats in the second half,” said Dirigo tri-captain Bryan Blackman. Dirigo had suffered a 18-12 overtime loss to Oak Hill in the prior week.
Blackman ran behind a host of blockers for a six-yard score in the first possession of OT. The point after attempt by Caleb Turner was high and true and the referee on the far side started to raise his arms, but the referee under the left goal post motioned the ball had gone wide left.
Dirigo (3-3) still had a chance, leading 27-21, as Spencer Trenoweth tackled the Winslow runner after a one-yard gain. Two plays later, Jake Dowland stuffed the runner after a short gain, but the ball bounced forward and Dirigo’s Ben Holmes got a hand on it. Before Holmes could secure the ball, Eric Crawley dove in to grab directly on the goal line and after a short delay the referees signaled TD. Hapworth proceeded to kick his fourth PAT.
“We missed it by that much both times,” said Dirigo coach Dave Crutchfield, while holding his fingers inches apart. “We came out in the second half and controlled them, especially in the third quarter. The team just needs to play strong for an entire game.”
In the third quarter, Holmes (4-11 for 117 yards, TD) converted a fourth and Dowland (30 yards, 10 rushes) followed a Cliff Boyton block for a four-yard TD. With 7:29 left in regulation, Blackman (77 yards, 13 rushes) scored on a 46-yard option. Turner’s kick caromed off the Black Raiders hands to tie the score 21-all.
Winslow (5-1) pounded the ball on the ground (205 yards in first half), Joseph Hopkins scored on runs of 51 and three yards.
The Cougars Justin Jasper and Dowling each had interceptions.
Dirigo had fumbled on its initial possession of the game and Camp returned it 35 yards for a TD. On the ensuing possession, Holmes threw over the top to tight end Nelson Pepin for a 68-yard TD.
“We just need to come out with more fire,” said Dirigo tackle Zach White, who recovered a fumble on the Cougar 37-yard line to end regulation. “We just need to come out with more fire in the first half. We’ve always been a second half team.”