“I felt they were stuck right to [Collin] Bates and cheating a little bit, so we gave [the ball] to Dustin.”
ORONO COACH BOB SINCLAIR
ORONO – In a game with back-to-back kickoff touchdown returns, a 100-yard rusher, and a 300-yard rushing performance, the most critical carry won’t even warrant a first glance in the box score.
Facing third down with 12 yards to go and just under 90 seconds left to play, Orono needed a first down desperately. The Red Riots were clinging to a one-point lead and desperately needed to run out the clock and keep their flagging defense, which had barely stopped the last Bucksport drive, off the field.
Riots coach Bob Sinclair called a quick pitch play to the right. Senior halfback Dustin Goudreau took the pitch cleanly and sprinted through a gap on the right corner for a 14-yard gain and a first down that would preserve a 29-28 victory over Bucksport Friday night. Not bad for a guy who had three total carries in the game for 19 yards.
Riots’ quarterback Kash Keezer took a knee three straight times to run out the last 65 seconds.
“[Dustin Goudreau is] a sparkplug and it was a goal of ours to run the ball more to the right because we’ve got a lot of confidence in the kids there,” said Sinclair. “I felt they were stuck right to [Collin] Bates and cheating a little bit, so we gave it to Dustin.”
It’s no wonder the Golden Bucks were keying on Bates. The senior halfback had run up 106 yards on 18 carries.
“They were switching fronts up on us from 4-4 to 5-3, so when they were eagling down, we ran [fullback] dive all night because we were kicking out the tackles and it worked for us,” said Bates when asked what worked best for him.
He also scored a touchdown on a 77-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
“I just started running and there was a big hole with only one guy to juke out. Then I had to outrun one kid and it was touchdown,” Bates said.
The quick strike put the Riots up 21-12, but the momentum was short-lived as Bucksport junior Nate Warren took the ensuing kickoff at the Bucks’ 19-yard line and raced 81 yards virtually untouched up the middle and then down the right sideline for a score. A two-point conversion pass made it 21-20.
The Bucks took their second lead of the game early in the fourth quarter via a four-play, 11-yard TD drive set up by Robbie Winters’ recovery of a Riots fumble – the last of four Orono would lose in the game. Quarterback Derek Fish burst up the middle for a 1-yard TD run and then found Winters for another two-point conversion pass to make it 28-21 Bucks.
This time around, it was Orono which had a quick answer as the Riots marched 38 yards in three plays after John Doughty returned the kickoff 38 yards. Keezer’s 26-yard pass to Seth Dwyer over the middle went for a touchdown and then Marcus Leek managed to barely roll into the end zone with a two-point conversion run to make it 29-28 Riots with 7:25 left in the game.
Warren wound up the game with a whopping 311 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.
“We’re very young with just eight seniors. We’re playing a lot of sophomores and juniors and making mistakes,” said Bucks coach Joel Sankey. “If we’d made one of those first two conversions, we would have won this game.”
The Bucks seemed poised to win as they drove from their own 36 to the O-18 in six plays with more than three minutes to play, but a rush for no gain and a 2-yard carry by Warren set up 4th-and-1 from the O-16, and a host of Riots met Warren on his charge up the middle to leave him a half yard short with 2:35 to play.
Orono’s defense was led by senior end Nigel Kass, who had one tackle for a loss, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
RED RIOTS 29, GOLDEN BUCKS 28
Bucksport (1-1) 6 6 8 8 – 28
Orono 7 6 8 8 – 29
O-Keezer 33 run (Dwyer kick)
B-Warren 5 run (rush failed)
B-Warren 80 run (rush failed)
O-Keezer 1 run (rush failed)
O-Bates 77 kickoff return (Bates rush)
B-Warren 81 kickoff return (Keezer pass to Winters)
B-Keezer 1 run (Keezer pass to Winters)
O-Dwyer 26 pass from Keezer (Leek rush)
First downs 11 11
Rushing att.-yards 47-344 45-200
Passing comp.-att. 2-5 4-7
Passing yards 13 86
Total yards 357 286
Punts-avg. 4-29.5 1-43
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-4
Intercepted by 0 0
Penalties-yards 5-25 3-20
Bucksport: Warren 30-311, Winters 6-15, Giosia 4-12, Alvarado 2-8, Gellerson 1-6, Fish 4-(-8); Orono: Bates 18-106, Keezer 14-38, Goudreau 3-19, Perry 5-15, Stout 4-14, Leek 1-8
Bucksport: Fish 2-5-0-13; Orono: Kezer 4-7-0-86
Bucksport: Redman 1-11, Gellerson 1-2; Orono: Dwyer 3-64, Bates 1-22
Correction: An earlier verison of this article ran in the Coastal edition.