Trojans best Lions in high-scoring gridiron affairClark compiles 124 yards, Collier tosses for 110 yards, two scores
Belfast — The Belfast football team has had no trouble scoring points this season, compiling an average of 31 in its last three games.
Unfortunately for the Lions, on the heels of their 35-21 high school gridiron loss to Mount Desert Island on Friday night, Sept. 27 at Dennis “Bear” Bryant Field, those numbers have translated to only one win.
The Lions (1-3) committed a few costly turnovers, which the Trojans (3-1) capitalized on, despite the Belfast offense executing well in spurts throughout the game.
"This was a tough game," said Belfast coach Chris Bartlett. "MDI is a good football team and are extremely hard to prepare for. The offense requires your guys to be extremely disciplined and is the only offense of it's type that we face where your keys are so important to watch. Add in the fact that they return all of their skill kids [from last season] and it makes for a tough game."
Greg Clark rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Zach Collier was 6-of-13 for 110 yards and two scores for the home-standing Lions.
The duo of Jonathan Phelps and Teagan Candage accounted for all five MDI touchdowns on the ground, with Phelps scoring three and Candage two.
The Trojans marched down the field on their first possession, only to have it fall short when Candage fumbled the ball back to the Lions inside the 10-yard line with 6:50 remaining.
Belfast started on its own six-yard line and gained one first down before punting back to the Trojans, who took over inside the 40-yard line.
MDI eventually punched in the game's first score when Phelps crossed the goal line on a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard-line with 11:16 left in the second quarter. The Trojans' extra-point kick attempt was blocked, which put the visitors ahead 6-0.
The Lions seemingly roared back to start the next drive on a long kick return by Clark, but the play was wiped out due to a block-in-the-back penalty, which negated a 60-yard play.
MDI made it 14-0 on a 40-yard touchdown run by Candage and a two-point conversion by Phelps, but the Lions responded late in the first half on a long drive, started when Collier made a nice 25-yard completion over the middle to tight end Rick Wyman.
Later in the drive, Collier connected with Clark for the touchdown on a ball that was tipped in the air by a Trojan defender, which Clark located and hauled in for the first Belfast score with 41.7 second left in the half.
Following Ashley Littlefield's extra point — one of three on the evening for the Belfast kicker — the Lions trailed 14-7 at halftime. Littlefield also plays for the Lion girls soccer team.
Belfast started the second half with the football, but Collier threw an interception up the right sideline to give MDI the ball back.
Phelps later rushed for a pair of third-quarter touchdowns — a 5-yard touchdown with 6:18 left and a 12-yard score with 2:06 left — to put MDI up 28-7.
The Lions got another score on the board when Clark picked up a couple blocks and ran for a 35-yard touchdown — set up by a nice kick return from teammate Tyler Tran — with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
Candage later added a second TD for MDI, while Collier added a 41-yard touchdown pass to Tran in the fourth quarter, rounding out the scoring.
Bartlett said a group of his student-athletes were feeling under the weather due to a flu bug going through BAHS and one starter missed the game, while not taking anything away from the Trojans as "they are well-coached and they are a legit team and they outplayed us in all aspects of the game."
"We need to regroup, refocus and get healthy," he said. "As long as we continue to commit to getting better everyday we will be fine."
In the Maine Principals' Association Crabtree Point Standings for Eastern Class C, Belfast (1-3, 71.6667 points) is eighth, while Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft (3-0, 151.6129 points) is first in the 10-team region. Dover-Foxcroft's 50-0 win over Camden Hills has not been reported to the Crabtree Standings.
The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs. Camden Hills and Nokomis of Newport, both of which petitioned down to Eastern Class C this season, are ineligible for postseason play.
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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