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Cougars rally for 20-18 win
POLAND -- Dirigo was nearly taken on a mid-Knight ride in a Class C Campbell Conference football game Friday night.
With 8.3 seconds left, Ben Holmes passed to wide open Nelson Pepin in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown as the Cougars survived a scare as they rallied for a 20-18 win against Poland to spoil their homecoming.
It was the first-ever meeting between the teams, with Poland having dropped down from Class B.
Dirigo (3-1) found itself in dire straits after Poland had scored to lead 18-14. The Cougars received a gift when Bryan Blackman returned the kickoff to Knight 40. A pass interference call kept the drive going. The Cougars called timeout and called a fade, but Pepin saw an opening in the coverage and altered the pass route.
In the fourth quarter, Holmes (5-of-11 for 71 yards; 112 yards, 10 rushes) ran a 48-yard option play down inside the Knights 20. But a fumble and an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Cougars aided Poland and Tyler Sturtevant (200 yards) ran it in with 1:30 left.
Dirigo tri-captain Jake Dowland commented that the Defense gave up yardage in chunks but, but he felt they punished the (Poland) runners with big hits and wore them down.
Poland defense was keying on Blackman so Holmes started running the option and keeping the ball. The senior had a 13-yard TD and also ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-12 lead in the third quarter.
“The schedule now gets tougher now,” said Holmes, as they host Oak Hill this Friday. “The team needs to execute better on offense, end the stupid penalties and tackle better. We hadn’t been working on the option but it was just something the coaches had noticed because they were keying on Bryan.”
Dirigo got a break back as the refs blew an inadvertent whistle as the Poland runner was on his way down the further sideline for a TD. The referees credited an eight-yard run.
In the first quarter, Sturtevant ran off tackle for a 38-yard TD run.
Zack White recovered a fumble and Blackman ran in a 32-yard TD, but the extra point try was blocked for a 6-6 tie. The Dirigo defense stopped Poland on downs in the red zone.
Poland QB Tony Whalen ran in a one-yard TD. Holmes appeared to have scored, but refs said he didn't cross the plain. The Knights led 12-6 at the half.
Dowland and White stood out on defense. Heath Hersom had a game-ending interception.