Given the quality of the opponent and the importance of the game, one can make a case that Belfast played its finest half of football in several years Friday night in building a 26-7 cushion over the Gardiner Tigers.

In the end, the Lions would need that first-half advantage as the previously unbeaten Tigers clawed back and gave the hosts a scare. However, Belfast held on for a 34-28 victory, a key Pine Tree Conference Class B win that pushed the Lions to 3-3 on the season.

Gardiner was unbeaten and ranked first in Eastern Class B, but falls to 5-1 and dropped to second (123.3000 Crabtree Points) behind top-ranked, defending state Class B champion Leavitt of Turner (4-0, 144.1860 points). Belfast is sixth and has compiled 98.7804 points.

The Lions used tremendous all-around play in the first half to shock the Tigers. At halftime, the Belfast coaches preached to their players that the hosts could not be satisfied with one strong half of football, but needed to play a complete game and not rest on their laurels.

Belfast did its best but the Tigers still stormed back and made a competitive game of it in the second half, outscoring the Lions 21-8 during that span. But, in the end, BAHS earned the tough, exciting victory.

“It was a great win for everyone, the program, the kids, coaching staff and
community,” said Lion head coach Chris Bartlett. “The guys have been working really hard this year and it was nice to see them rewarded for it.”

On Friday night, Dylan Webster carried the ball 18 times for 147 yards, while scoring three touchdowns for Belfast. The Lions outscored the Tigers 20-0 in the second quarter to take control.

Quarterback Brad Reed added 108 yards on 21 carries, while passing for 96 yards, with one touchdown on the ground and another through the air.

Alonzo Connor carried 33 times for 186 yards for the Tigers, while Dalton Aldridge rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown.

Additional information from the game will appear later with this story.

Village NetMedia Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.