In a game that could decide whose playoff hopes stay alive between a pair of 1-3 football squads, Mount Desert Island had more than home field on its side as it took on Belfast Saturday afternoon in a pivotal Pine Tree Conference Class B game on the Trojans’ rain-soaked field.

Not only did the Trojans have the homecoming crowd on their side, they had senior signal-caller Donny Hanson, who turned in his strongest performance of the year when his team needed it most.

Hanson had offensive, defensive and special team’s touchdowns to help lead the islanders (2-3) to a 30-20 victory over the visiting Lions (1-4).

Mount Desert Island jumped to an early 13-0 lead before Belfast found the end zone to cut its deficit to 13-6 after the first quarter. The Lions rallied to take a 14-13 lead at the half, but the Trojans took a 28-20 advantage after three quarters and added a two-point safety in the fourth stanza to account for the final score.

Despite coming up short, the Lions actually outgained the Trojans in total yardage (400-372), something that was not lost on MDI coach Mark Shields, who was happy, regardless, to come away with the win.

“Obviously, we were very pleased with the win to keep ourselves in playoff contention,” Shields said. “The kids played with a lot of heart and emotion with it being their homecoming game. It was a very even game, with us making a few more plays then Belfast. [They] played us hard and could have easily won the game.”

It was a tough loss for the Lions and coach Chris Bartlett, who felt his team settled down after falling behind early in the first half. The second half, however, was a different story.

“We didn’t do a very good job tackling in the second half,” Bartlett said. “Their running backs did really well at driving their legs and breaking tackles. It was a tale of two halves. The first half I thought we did a nice job team tackling and the second half we didn’t. We are extremely young and made some young mistakes that cost us.”

Donny Hanson shone on both sides of the ball for the host Trojans, as he converted on a pair of 62-yard touchdowns — one on offense and one on defense — in the first quarter to give the hosts a 13-0 lead.

Hanson stepped in front of a pass thrown by Belfast quarterback Zach Collier and took it all the way to the end zone an interception return, and then took a quarterback keeper through the Lion defense and found the end zone for the game’s second score.

Belfast’s Jake Campbell got into the end zone before the end of the quarter on a five-yard rush to cut the visitors’ deficit to 13-6. The Lions then took a brief 14-13 lead after Carl Dodge rushed in from 11 yards and then caught a two-point conversion pass from Collier to end the first half with the visitors leading by one point.

MDI’s Elias Burne countered in the third quarter with an eight-yard touchdown run and Campbell responded for the Lions, scoring from 52 yards on the ground, to make the score 21-20 in favor of the hosts.

However, on the ensuing kickoff Hanson, the player of the game, received the ball, eluded a few Lion tacklers and sprinted for a 70-yard touchdown to put MDI ahead 28-20.

Trojan Lucas Murphy added a safety late in the game to put the hosts in front by 10 points.

Along with Hanson’s three touchdowns, he rushed for 68 yards on seven carries and was 3-of-5 passing for 21 yards. Sean Harding caught all three passes from Hanson for 21 yards. Burne also amassed more than 100 yards on the ground, racking up 112 yards on 22 carries and one score.

On defense for MDI, Hanson made 10 tackles and three assisted tackles, while Ezra Hallett (8 tackles, 4 assists, interception), Murphy (6 tackles, 2 assists) and Harding (3 tackles, 2 assists, quarterback sack) also came up big on defense for MDI.

Statistical information for Belfast was unavailable, but will be added later to this story.

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