Sunday, December 8, 2013
FARMINGTON — On good football teams, sometimes good players have to wait their turn to play. Such is the case of Mt. Blue High School senior quarterback Andrew Pratt.
Last season, Pratt was the Cougars’ backup, and he watched as Jordan Whitney broke school passing records and helped lead the team to the Class B state championship. Any Mt. Blue fans who were worried about their team’s quarterback situation probably slept well after watching Pratt play Friday night.
Making his first varsity start, Pratt completed 16 of 21 passes for 343 yards and five touchdowns. Pratt also ran for a score, and the Cougars rolled to a 49-20 win over Hampden Academy.
“He’s waited his turn. I’ve listened to everybody tell me he’s not Jordan Whitney, and no, he won’t ever tell you he’s Jordan Whitney,” Mt. Blue head coach Gary Parlin said of Pratt. “But he brings other skills to the table. He’s a very accurate passer. We felt last year, that of something happened to Jordan, we still could win football games with Andrew Pratt.”
Pratt showed off his accurate arm on the second play of the game, when he hit Nate Backus, who was sprinting down the right sideline, in stride for a 73-yard touchdown pass.
If the Cougars had stuck to their script of plays, the second play would have been a screen pass. In watching film of Hampden’s preseason exhibition against Brewer, Parlin saw the Broncos play off the Brewer receivers. But on the first play of Friday’s game, Hampden played Mt. Blue’s receivers tight, inspiring Parlin to go off script.
“Andrew put the ball out there. I called it in my head. I said ‘Coach, you better be running a fade. This guy’s playing on me,’ ” said Backus, who caught five passes for 116 yards and added a 37-yard touchdown catch on a slant pass late in the third quarter, said.
Pratt ran 11 yards for a touchdown with 5.8 seconds left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead. A 40-yard touchdown pass to Cam Abbott and a 22-yard touchdown pass to J.T. Williams in the second quarter gave Mt. Blue a 28-0 halftime lead.
Hampden, on the other hand, had to go to sophomore Tommy Farrar at quarterback with starter Matt Martin serving a one-game suspension. Hampden coach Kevin Canty declined to say why Martin was suspended.
“Matt Martin’s our guy next week. That’s all I’m going to say about that,” Canty said.
While Farrar moved the Broncos a little, he also threw three interceptions in the first half, one each to Backus, Abbott and Pratt. After the third pick, Canty went to Derek Jeslolowski at quarterback for the rest of the half, to give Farrar a chance to calm down.
“(Farr’s)’s the future of the program. Matt’s a senior, he’s a sophomore, so we’re grooming Tommy to be the future of our program,” Canty said. “I didn’t think we traveled well as a team, and it showed. We came out flat.”
Pratt threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Backus in the third quarter, and a 63-yard strike to Abbott (five catches for 143 yards) to push the Cougar lead to 41-6. With the junior varsity squads on the field in the fourth quarter, the teams traded touchdowns.
Matt Closson put the Broncos on the board in the third quarter with an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Brian Durrell, Tyer Sennick, and Connor Farrington each had a sack for Mt. Blue.
“We were so worried about them spreading us out, we put one of our linebackers out in the slot, and they actually hurt us more up the middle. So Coach Collins (defensive coordinator Craig Collins) made the adjustment of moving our linebacker back and just moving our safety out, staying three deep versus four, and it worked great,” Parlin said.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242