Dexter/PCHS pulls away in third quarter to win first game of 2017

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DEXTER — A pair of third quarter touchdowns helped the Dexter Regional High School/Piscataquis Community High School cooperative football team (the squad was playing its first varsity game under the arrangement) pull away from Hancock County cooperative Ellsworth High School/Sumner Memorial High School of East Sullivan and earn a 28-13 victory in a mutual season opener on the afternoon of Sept. 2.

After each team found the endzone in the second quarter to tie play at 7-7, Dexter received the kickoff to start the third quarter and junior Dillion Allen’s return put the football just inside Ellsworth territory at the 49-yard line. The Tigers then used seven plays to move to the Eagle-24 where the offense faced a fourth-and-11.

Senior Jacob Bickford and sophomore Logan Perkins each took snaps for their team, and both would in the backfield at the same time to help keep the defense guessing. On fourth down it was Bickford’s turn to run the play and he spied classmate tight end Kyle Watson down the right side of the field. Watson stretched to grab the pass and he hauled in the pigskin for an 18-yard reception and first down at the 6-yard line.

Sophomores Gage Stone and Cameron Paige then carried the football to put Dexter at the Ellsworth-1 before an offsides call moved the Tigers a half yard closer for a third-and-goal. Paige then took the handoff and plunged over the goalline through the center of the line for the touchdown to put Dexter ahead 13-7 — the PAT was blocked.

Ellsworth’s return was stopped at the team’s own 36 and on the first down a pass by sophomore Connor Crawford was picked off by Paige and returned to inside the redzone at the Eagle-19. After two plays the Tigers had advanced three yards.

Bickford took the shotgun snap and he ran left on an option. The quarterback made the decision to run the football himself and he did not stop until reaching the endzone for the 16-yard touchdown. The Tigers made up for the blocked kick but scoring two points after the Bickford score with Bickford connecting with freshman Parker Ponte on the completion.

The visitors would get back within a possession via a touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Eagle pass for two failed to keep the team down by eight at 21-13.

Despite having nearly 12 minutes to work with, Ellsworth went for the on-sides kick and made the recovery at the team’s own 49-yard line.

From there the Eagles moved into Dexter territory and faced a fourth-and-15 at the Dexter-23 after Paige batted down a pass. On fourth down Ellsworth junior quarterback Javon Williams tucked the football and tried to scramble for the first down. He was able to pick up 10 yards before being knocked out of bounds. A flag was thrown for holding on the offense, but Dexter declined the penalty to take over on downs at the team’s 13.

Ellsworth then forced a three-and-out to get the ball back after the punt was downed at the Dexter 42-yard line. A fumbled moved the offense back 10 yards, a loss of a yard kept Ellsworth going the other way and then an incompletion set up a fourth-and-21. The desperation pass also fell to the grass as the Tigers took over at the opponent’s 47 with less than five minutes to go.

Dexter kept the ball on the ground to eat up time and the plays generated positive yardage as the offense drove to the 9-yard line in four plays. On a second-and-goal at the 9 Paige took the handoff and he ran up the middle for the clinching touchdown, which was followed by a Stone PAT for the final point of the 28-13 victory.

Paige picked up 46 rushing yards on 11 carries — all coming in the second half and trailing only Allen’s team-high 51 yards on the ground — with a pair of touchdowns.

Dexter will play its first road game of the season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8 when the team travels up Route 7 to face Foxcroft Academy (0-1). Foxcroft is playing in Class D North after having been up a division the last four years. The meeting will be the first between the neighboring rivals at the varsity level since 2012, the last season of three classes when both were a part of Class C East/the Little Ten Conference.\

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
RUNNING TO A WEEK ONE VICTORY — Dexter sophomore Logan Perkins breaks the tackle attempt of Ellsworth sophomore Connor Crawford around a block by junior Dillion Allen during the team’s 2017 opening 28-13 opening victory on Sept. 2. Behind the play is Tiger junior David Kirshkain (56) and seniors Kyle Watson (88) and Jonathan Allen (78). The contest was first at the varsity level for the cooperative squad between Dexter and neighboring Piscataquis Community High School of Guilford.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSION BY SOME FINGERTIPS — Senior tight end Kyle Watson hauls in a pass for a first down on a fourth-and-11 early in the second half of Saturday’s game between Dexter and Ellsworth. The 18-yard reception put the football at the Ellsworth-6 to set up a touchdown run to break a 7-7 tie.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
GOALLINE OFFENSE — Senior quarterback Jacob Bickford gets ready to take the snap from senior center Matt Simpson, shortly before sophomore Cameron Paige’s 1-yard touchdown run on Sept. 2 as the Tigers hosted Ellsworth. In the backfield is junior Dillion Allen and set at left guard is sophomore Haedyn Guenther.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
CHASING DOWN THE QUARTERBACK — Dexter sophomore Haedyn Guenther pursues a scrambling Ellsworth sophomore Connor Crawford. The Tigers will play next at Foxcroft Academy on Friday, Sept. 8 in the first varsity meeting between the two neighboring programs in five years.

Dexter/PCHS 28,
Ellsworth/Sumner 13
ELL 0 7 0 6 | 13
DEX 0 7 14 7 | 28
Second qtr: D — Stone 10 yds
(Stone kick)
E — Williams 5 yds from
Crawford (Carter kick)
Third qtr: D — Paige 1 yd
(kick blocked)
D — Bickford 16 yds
(Paige from Bickford)
Fourth qtr: E — Brown 7 yds
from Williams (pass failed)
D– Paige 9 yds (Stone kick)
Passing: D — Bickford 6-of-9
37 yds Int; Perkins 0-for-0.
E — Williams 4-of-9 73 yds
TD; Crawford 3-of-7
36 yds 2 Int.
Receiving: D — Perkins 3,
9 yds; Watson 2, 32 yds;
Allen 1, -4 yds
E — Williams 3, 36 yds TD;
Carter 2, 54 yds TD;
Brown 1, 13 yds;
Crawford 1, 6 yds
Rushing: D — Allen 8,
51 yds; Paige 11, 46 yds
TD; Perkins 9, 36 yds;
Stone 5, 36 yds TD;
Bickford 6, 24 yds TD
E — Crawford 15,
104 yds; Williams 6,
24 yds; Hughes 8, 6 yds;
Brown 2, -4 yds
Records: D 1-0;
E 0-1

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