Tuesday, March 11, 2014
FARMINGTON — Connor Farrington, a senior offensive lineman and linebacker for the Mt. Blue High School football team, smiled the smile of a young man supremely happy.
“We were told this was going to be a close game,” Farrington said.
His teammate Nate Backus interrupted.
“But we decided not to make it one,” Backus said.
Farrington, Backus and the rest of the Cougars did what’s been near impossible for eight years. They beat Lawrence in a regular-season football game, and they did so in convincing fashion, 39-0.
The loss was just Lawrence’s second in the regular season since the start of the 2006 season, and first since losing at Bangor in October, 2008.
Mt. Blue coach Gary Parlin stressed to his team all week, this was a respect game.
“To lose one regular-season game since 2006, it’s the program in this area everyone wants to be,” Parlin said.
The Cougars (2-0) jumped on top early, when Backus returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
“We set up a double wall,” Backus said. “Some kids made some great blocks.”
Mt. Blue added to the lead with 10 points in the second quarter. Kindle Bonsall’s 1-yard touchdown run, combined with Anthony Franchetti’s extra point, made it 14-0 with 9:39 left in the first half. With 27.3 seconds to play, Franchetti booted a 24-yard field goal for a 17-0 halftime lead.
Lawrence, meanwhile, struggled to get its running game in gear. The Cougar defense smothered Ethan Powers (20 carries for 63 yards) and Beau Grenier (9 carries for 60 yards).
“Everybody was watching this game. We knew what we had to do,” Farrington said.
If Backus’ kick return wasn’t the play of the game, his 55-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter certainly was. Lawrence defender J.T. Nutting had good coverage and tipped Andrew Pratt’s pass, only to have Backus grab it and sprint to the end zone.
“I went to Coach (Parlin) and said the fade wasn’t there, but the post ball will be,” Backus said.
Lawrence’s best drive came in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs stalled at the Cougar 24.
“We hoped we could capitalize with that field position,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said. “This reinforces we still have a lot of work to do.”
Backus caught three passes for 103 yards. J.T. Williams scored on a 69-tard run to push Mt. Blue’s lead to 31-0 with 7:11 to play, and Alex Gilbert scored on a 61 yard run with 15 seconds to play.