Bulldogs outrun the Ponies as Madison/Carrabec wins 2017 opener at Foxcroft Academy

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — The backfield trio for the Madison Area High School/Carrabec High School cooperative football team ran for over 150 yards apiece and accounted for all seven touchdowns as the visiting Bulldogs won a mutual 2017 opener 49-28 at Foxcroft Academy on the evening of Sept. 1.

The two programs are both in new divisions after playing in Class C North the last few seasons. Foxcroft and Madison are in Class D North and South respectively, and the contest was the first for both under the new crossover schedule and Heal Points standings system implemented for this year.

Early in the fourth quarter the Pony defense stopped the Bulldogs a yard short on a fourth-and-2 at the Foxcroft 47-yard line. Two plays later the offense had the ball at the Madison-35 as senior quarterback Nick Clawson threw the ball deep over the middle of the field.

Junior Hyatt Smith leapt and came down with the football near the back end of the endzone and he was able to get both feet down in play and maintain possession for the touchdown at the 7:34-mark. The ensuing PAT by senior Levi Stedman made the score 42-28 in favor the Bulldogs, but the Ponies were within two possessions for only the second time since trailing 35-7 in the second quarter.

Clawson and Smith would end up connecting on seven receptions, for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

On the ensuing possession Madison would get into Pony territory, but facing a fourth-and-11 at the 33-yard line the team opted to punt after a Foxcroft timeout stopped the clock with 4:01 to go.

The kick by Bulldog senior Zach Belanger — the team would punt just three times on Friday evening — landed in the middle of the endzone for the touchback.

After an incompletion, Foxcroft gained 11 yards as Clawson hit Smith for the completion. On the next first down Clawson threw again but the football was tipped and Belanger ended up with his second interception of the contest at the Madison-48 with 3:33 to go.

Two plays later the team put the game away on a 40-yard touchdown run from senior Sean Whalen. Whalen ran for four touchdowns, on 19 carries for 165 yards, and he crossed the goalline another time by bringing a Pony punt back 75 yards. He also kicked five PATS to pick up 35 of his team’s 49 points.

Madison junior Eric Wescott ran for 162 yards in 15 attempts, with one touchdown, and the team’s senior quarterback Evan Bess gained 159 yards on 14 carries with the other touchdown as the trio accounted for 100 percent of their team’s offense.

The first drive of the game culuminated in a 17-yard touchdown for Whalen, but Foxcroft countered with a touchdown of its own. After nine plays to go 45 yards to the Madison-11, the team had a second-and-goal.

Clawson took the shotgun snap and rather than pass, he tucked the ball and scrambled to his right down the sideline. The signal-caller dove and hit the pylon to get inside the endzone for the first Foxcroft touchdown of 2017. Stedman’s ensuing PAT (which started a perfect 4-for-4 night for him) tied the game at 7-7, after which Madison would put up 28 points behind three of Whalen’s touchdowns to lead 35-7 halfway through the second quarter.

Foxcroft will open Class D North play at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8 by hosting Dexter Regional High School/Piscataquis Community High School — the two fellow Penquis region institutions are an inaugural varsity cooperative. The game will be the first between the Route 7 rival Ponies and Tigers on the gridiron since 2012, the last year before Maine high school football expanded from three to four classes.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
EYE ON THE ENDZONE — Senior quarterback Nick Clawson slips a would-be tackler on the way to scoring an 11-yard touchdown during the first quarter of Foxcroft Academy’s 2017 opener vs. Madison/Carrabec on Sept. 1. The visiting Bulldogs would win 49-28 in the crossover matchup between Class D North and South schools that both had been playing in Class C North the last few seasons. Watching their teammate pick up the first Pony touchdown of 2017 are seniors Cameron Marsh (21) and Johnny Labree (55).

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
GETTING GOOD RECEPTION — Pony junior Jeremy Richard makes the catch on a screen pass from senior Nick Clawson during the last play of the first quarter on Friday night against Madison/Carrabec.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
KICKING OFF A NEW SEASON — Senior Levi Stedman handles the opening kickoff of the 2017 opener on Sept. 1 for Foxcroft Academy with senior Cody Labbe to his right and Madison junior Brad Peters on the Bulldog return team.

Madison 49,
Foxcroft 28
MAD 14 21 7 7 | 49
FOX 7 7 7 7 | 28
First qtr: M — Whalen 17 yds
(Whalen kick)
F — Clawson 11 yds
(Stedman kick)
M — Whalen 4 yds
(Whalen kick)
Second qtr: M — Whalen 21 yds
(kick wide left)
M — Wescott 33 yds (Bess rush)
F — Smith 17 yds from Clawson
(Stedman kick)
Third qtr: F — Clawson 1 yd
(Stedman kick)
M — Bess 35 yds (Whalen kick)
Fourth qtr: F — Smith 35 yds
from Clawson (Stedman kick)
M — Whalen 40 yds (Whalen kick)
Passing: F — Clawson 11-of-27
157 yds two TD.
M — Bess 1-of-7 12 yds
Receiving: F — Smith 7,
112 yds two TD; Richard 2,
29 yds; Marsh 2, 18 yds;
Niles 1, 11 yds;
Dankert 1, 5 yds
M — Whalen 1, 12 yds
Rushing: F– Clawson 16,
95 yds two TD; Marsh 2,
18 yds; Niles 6, 17 yds;
Smith 2, 8 yds
M — Whalen 16, 165 yds
four TD; Wescott 15,
162 yds TD; Bess 14,
159 yds TD
Records: F 0-1;
M 1-0.

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