Ponies top Washington Academy 41-0 to advance to regional final

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — On the very first play of a Class D North semifinal on Friday, Nov. 2, fifth-seeded Washington Academy of East Machias brought the opening kickoff back 75 yards to the 8-yard line of No. 1 Foxcroft Academy. The Raiders would get no closer to the endzone for the rest of the game as the Ponies scored six touchdowns on the soggy ground to win 41-0 and improve to 9-0.

The shutout was the second of the season for Foxcroft, the team beat Washington three weeks prior in the team’s regular season home finale by the exact same score. The Ponies will host the Class D North championship this weekend as the team awaits the winner of Bucksport High School-Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln with this other semifinal moved back from Friday evening to Monday, Nov. 5. Foxcroft won at No. 2 Bucksport 21-20 on Sept. 21 and defeated third-seeded Mattanawcook 28-20 at Oakes Field on Sept. 14.

Foxcroft Washington football

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
NOT LETTING THE QUARTERBACK SLIP OUT OF THE TACKLE — Foxcroft Academy junior Sam Clawson holds on to bring down Washington Academy junior quarterback Finn Furth for no gain to set up a fourth-and-13 and punt during the start of the second quarter of a Class D North semifinal on Nov. 2 in Dover-Foxcroft. The No. 1 Ponies won 41-0 and will host the regional championship this weekend. Looking on at Clawson’s tackle are seniors Caleb Ladd, left, and Eli Bickford.

After Washington (the team ends 2018 at 5-5 after having reached the semifinal round for the first time in program history) had a first-and-goal following the opening kickoff, the Pony defense prevented the opposition from advancing beyond the 8-yard line with a stop on fourth down. The offense then took over and used nine plays to march down to the Raider-5.

On second-and-goal, senior Jeremy Richard came across in motion from right to left as senior quarterback Matthew Spooner took the shotgun snap. Spooner handed off to Richard and he went into the endzone untouched to put Foxcroft on the scoreboard.

Foxcroft Washington football

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
QUICK PASS TO THE RIGHT — Senior Jeremy Richard makes the reception from classmate Matthew Spooner. Richard would score on a pair of short touchdown runs to help Foxcroft improve to 9-0 with a 41-0 Class D North semifinal victory vs. Washington Academy on Friday evening.

Washington would go for it again on fourth down during the team’s next possession, but Foxcroft stopped the Raiders a yard shy on a fourth-and-2 to take over at the Raider-24.

Five plays moved the ball to the 9-yard line, where senior Michaleb Niles got the ball on second-and-goal. Niles ran up the middle for the touchdown and a PAT by sophomore Luke Stedman made the score 14-0.

Niles’ night was just getting started as he ran the football 18 times for a game-high 120 yards and three touchdowns. He would also score from 16 yards out in the third quarter and on a five-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Richard recorded his second touchdown of the contest during the third quarter on a fourth-and-goal at the Washington-10. Richard ran left and snuck inside the pylon to help put Foxcroft ahead 28-0 at that point. His five carries resulted in 43 yards and two carries, and Richard also led the Ponies in receiving with three catches for 63 yards to go over the 100-yard mark in total offense.

Late in the fourth quarter Washington punted the ball from around the team’s 20-yard line. The football took a bounce before senior Hyatt Smith picked it up at the Foxcroft-33. Smith ran to his right and turned upfield as he followed the sideline. He juked to get around the last would-be tackler to return the punt 67 yards for the sixth and final Foxcroft touchdown. Stedman kicked the PAT — he was 5-of-6 on the evening — for point No. 41.

Foxcroft Washington football

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
TOO MUCH FOR THE DEFENSE — Pony senior Michaleb Niles gets away from Washington Academy junior Tyler Danahy as part of his game-high 120 yards on the ground. Niles found the endzone three times.

Class D North
No. 1 Foxcroft 41,
No. 5 Washington 0
WA 0 0 0 0 | 0
FA 14 0 14 13 | 41
First: F — Richard 5 yds
(Stedman kick)
F — Niles 9 yds
(Stedman kick)
Third: F — Niles 16 yds
(Stedman kick)
F — Richard 10 yds
(Stedman kick)
Fourth: F — Niles 5 yds
(kick wide)
F — Smith 67-yd punt return
(Stedman kick)
Passing: W — Furth
3-of-7 30 yds
F — Spooner 5-of-11
99 yds Int
Receiving: W — Talbot
3, 30 yds
F — Richard 3, 63 yds;
Martin 2, 36 yds
Rushing: W —
Talbot 10, 16 yds;
Furth 11, 13 yds;
Danahy 7, 13 yds
F — Niles 18,
120 yds 3 TD;
Richard 5, 43 yds 2 TD;
Martin 3, 19 yds;
Wandikbo 4, 7 yds
Spooner 2, 1 yd
Records: W — 5-5,
F — 9-0

Foxcroft Washington football

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
LEAD BLOCKERS — Sophomore Logan Martin carries the football with seniors Jeremy Richard (3) and Michaleb Niles fending off the Washington Academy defenders.

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