While it has not been the best season on paper — in terms of wins and losses, anyway — the Belfast football team has shown considerable grit and heart throughout the fall campaign.

And those traits were on display on Friday night, Oct. 12 in a pivotal high school road game against Old Town, as the Coyotes erased a sizable deficit to take a late fourth-quarter lead.

The Lions charged down the field and got a late touchdown pass from Dylan Abbott to Jack Hansen and took the advantage for good with less than a minute to play in a thrilling 32-27 victory.

The win kept Belfast firmly cemented in the midst of the Class C North playoff picture. The Lions’ final game of the regular season will be on Friday, Oct. 19 at home against Mount Desert Island.

"No doubting our kids' character,” said Belfast coach Gregg Bouchard. "They played with all their heart and they’ve been playing with their heart all season long through the good and the bad and I’m proud of them for not giving up.”

The score on Friday was knotted 6-6 at the end of the first quarter, while Belfast led 20-6 at halftime.

The Lions tallied points in all three phases as Hansen scored four times — thrice off touchdown passes from Abbott and the fourth off a 90-yard kick return for a score early in the second quarter.

Donald Resh also scooped up a fumble and scored on a 15-yard recovery for Belfast.

The visitors held a 26-6 lead into the third stanza, but the hosts went on the offensive — courtesy of a boatload of trick plays and an onside kick — as Old Town took a late 27-26 lead after two-point conversion rush off a fake extra-point attempt.

However, Belfast remained calm, cool and collect and put together a drive that featured several short completions to Chris Kelley and Tanner Veilleux, along with rushes by Abbott.

Then, Abbott found Hansen on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 50 seconds to play to give the Lions the lead for good. Abbott finished with 225 yards passing for Belfast.

Leading the Lion defense were (interception, fumble recovery), Bryan White (5 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles, quarterback sack), Kelley (4 solos, 6 assists), Cordell Larrabee (5 solos, assist), Patrick Curtis (2 solos, 6 assists), Resh (3 solos, 6 assists, 2 sacks, fumble recovery for TD).

In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class C North, Belfast (2-5, 37.5000 points) is sixth, while Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (6-1, 157.8125 points) is first in the 11-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.