LINCOLN – All season long, the Mattanawcook Academy Lynx have relied on their offensive balance to frustrate opponents and keep them off balance.
That offensive versatility came in handy Friday night on a crisp, cold, fall Friday night on the frost-covered Alumni Field turf as the Lynx of Lincoln used the passing game to take a first-half lead and then iced a 21-13 victory with their running attack.
“That’s been the key for us this year. If they take away the run game, we do it with the pass, and if they shut down our passing game, we run,” said senior wide receiver John Carney, who played an instrumental role in Friday’s game.
Carney caught a touchdown pass and passed for another one as he accounted for 102 total yards and led the 5-2 Lynx to a win that all but cemented them into a No. 2 seeding in the upcoming LTC Class C playoffs.
This week’s LTC marquee matchup more than lived up to the billing as the Lynx outlasted the defending Eastern Maine Class C champs.
Bucksport was poised to score twice in the first half, but came up empty both times due to missed catches, mistakes, crippling penalties … or all of the above.
“We’re very young, but we’re learning,” said coach Joel Sankey, whose Golden Bucks drop to 4-3. “We dropped two touchdown passes early and made had some real stupid penalties. Against a good team like this, you can’t make mistakes like that.”
MA broke the scoreless tie early in the second quarter when Carney capped a four-play scoring drive by hauling in a 57-yard touchdown strike from Dustin Hanscom with 9:35 left in the first half. Carney got himself behind his defender near the right (home) sideline as his junior quarterback was being flushed out of the pocket to the right side. Hanscom rocketed it downfield and just over the Bucksport safety, who tried to tip it away. Carney ripped the ball away and then ran 25 yards into the end zone.
Bucksport tied the score with 5:21 left in the third quarter after getting its running game on track. Chris Woodman, who gained 16 of Bucksport’s 30 first-half rushing yards, came out with runs of 44, 2, and 5 yards – the last for a touchdown to cap an eight-play, 67-yard TD drive.
The Lynx snarled back as they marched 63 yards in 10 plays and retook the lead on the next possession, thanks to a halfback option reverse pass by Carney, who hit Brad Greenlaw for a 15-yard TD strike with 33 seconds left in the third.
Bucksport scored again with 6:07 left in the game after sophomore end John Harvey intercepted Hanscom at the B-19 and returned it 24 yards. The Bucks went 57 yards in five plays, the last of which was Dow Cain’s 28-yard TD pass to Gunner Siverly down the left sideline.
With Bucksport’s placekicker lost for two weeks due to a violation of team rules and backup kicker Josh Johnson in a cast with a broken hand, Sankey had second thoughts about kicking to tie it up, called timeout, and opted to go for two points. Tom Lasko and Tyler Libbey brought Harvey down for a loss on the ensuing rushing attempt and MA still had a 14-13 lead.
The gamble appeared to the game-breaker, but the Lynx showed they weren’t leaving anything to chance and then mounted the drive of the game as they marched 65 yards in 17 plays that took more than 51/2 minutes off the clock and produced a game-clinching 2-yard TD run by MacKenzie Haines with 26 seconds left.
“That was all the line. Coach told them it was up to them and they got the job done for Tyler,” said Hanscom, who passed for 213 yards.
The line of center Cole Averill, tackles Ryan Leighton and Patrick Johnston, and guards Tyler Libbey and Matt Morin sprung Tyler Gardner for 42 of his game-high 80 yards on the drive. It was a stark contrast to the first half, when the Lynx were held to minus-3 rushing yards.
LYNX 21, GOLDEN BUCKS 13
Bucksport (4-3) 0 0 7 6 ? 13
Mattanawcook (5-2) 0 7 7 7 ? 21
MA ? Carney 57 pass from Hanscom (Lasko kick)
B ? Woodman 5 run (Johnson kick)
MA ? Greenlaw 15 pass from Carney (Lasko kick)
B ? Siverly 28 pass from Cain (rush failed)
MA ? Haines 2 run (Lasko kick)
First downs 8 18
Rushing att.-yards 29-121 34-85
Passing comp.-att. 9-18 15-32
Passing yards 123 228
Total yards 244 313
Punts-avg. 5-28.1 3-31.0
Fumbles-lost 4-1 2-1
Intercepted by 2 0
Penalties-yards 9-72 6-45
Bucksport: Woodman 14-83, P. Harvey 5-29, J. Harvey 1-8, Boober 1-5, Siverly 4-0, Cain 4-(-4); Mattanawcook: Gardner 20-80, Kyes 5-12, Haines 3-11, Carney 2-(-4), Hanscom 4-(-14)
Bucksport: Cain 9-18-0-123; Mattanawcook: Hanscom 14-31-2-213, Carney 1-1-0-15
Bucksport: J. Harvey 5-64, Siverly 2-32, Carmichael 1-20, P. Harvey 1-7; Mattanawcook: Carney 5-91, Kyes 3-54, Lasko 3-39, Greenlaw 2-19, Haines 1-16, Gardner 1-9
A? 750 (est.)