Mount Desert Island High School receiver Graham Good reaches out to make a finger-tip catch of a pass from quarterback Andrew Phelps in the Trojans' 46-8 victory over the Ellsworth Eagles in a preseason scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 26. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

Trojans victorious in early scrimmage

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island Trojans came out on top in a preseason football scrimmage against the Ellsworth Eagles on Friday, Aug., 29.

To a casual observer, the final score of 46-8 might seem extraordinarily lopsided. But in the end, such matchups are all about trying new things, seeing what works – and what doesn’t. And that’s seldom a recipe for keeping a lid on scoring.

When the Trojans and Eagles took to the field, several rules aimed at keeping the potential for injury low were in play. There were no kickoffs or run backs. Each team started, following a scoring play, on its own 20-yard line. Punts were all “dead ball,” meaning the receiving team started where they were fielded. No rushing the kicker was allowed.

While the game clock operated normally in the first three quarters, in the fourth, it kept running, whether or not the play was a run, a completed pass or an incomplete pass.

Considering the heat and humidity on Friday, some of the players, no doubt, were glad to have the game wrap up a bit earlier than normal.

MDI scored first, just under six minutes into the game, when quarterback Andrew Phelps handed off to Colby Lee, who took the ball 64 yards downfield for the touchdown. Lee took the pitch from Phelps and got two more points, running right into the end zone untouched.

Penalties on both sides of the ball characterized the next five minutes of game time, with flags being thrown by officials for encroachment, pass interference, delay of game and even a facemask call.

MDI’s Croix Albee scored next, taking the ball into the end zone on a three-yard run with 5:25 left in the first quarter, pushing the score to 14-0. The Eagles’ defense held fast on the points-after attempt, stifling MDI’s attempt to slam the ball on the ground.

In the second quarter, Eagle’s quarterback Connor Crawford, son of Coach Duane Crawford, mixed up his selection of running and pass plays. Most series ended, however, with punts.

With 10:25 left to play in the half, Lee broke things open again for MDI with a 35-yard run for six points. The Trojans added two more on a quick pass from Phelps to Albee.

Four minutes later, a four-yard pass from Phelps to Albee added six more. Phelps ran it in for the points-after, pushing the score to 30-0.

Despite impressive ground gains by Jakob Gregory and Chance Closson, MDI didn’t notch any additional points in the quarter. A sack of Crawford by MDI’s Drake Janes ended the first half.

Crawford stayed in for the third quarter, while MDI dipped farther down its roster, starting with backup quarterback Gus Reeves.

In the third, Crawford got the Eagle offense moving, repeatedly calling number 36 to get the ball, sending Declan White crashing through the Trojan line. With 3:28 left in the third, a series of runs by White helped set up Crawford’s hand-off to Javon Williams, who swept right into the end zone for the Eagle’s only score. Crawford himself bulldozed through the MDI defense for two points-after, pushing the score to 30-8.

Among other third quarter highlights were a 50-yard completion to Abram Malloy and a 23-yard run by Reeves to set up another MDI score with 11:43 to play. MDI’s Elijah Joyce powered through the Eagles’ defense for two points-after.

During the fourth, Charlie Hughes came in to play quarterback for Ellsworth. James Carroll also took some snaps for MDI. A touchdown by MDI’s Ezra Johnson, who earlier notched a three-yard gain, was called back due to an MDI holding penalty.

MDI’s Joyce picked up six more with a 19-yard carry for a touchdown with just over a minute left to play. Jakob Gray added the points-after, making the final score 46-8.

Phelps was 3-7 in the air for a total of 52 yards. Reeves was 1-3 and 50 yards. Also gaining ground for MDI on Friday was Colby Butler.

For Ellsworth, Crawford went 5-11 passing for a total of 44 yards. Also gaining ground for the Eagles were Jacob Shorey and Jacob Mortson.

After the game, MDI head Coach Mark Shields said his team had played hard. “We had the look I expected,” Shields said. “Last week, we worked on energy, this week, we worked on execution. This is just a tune-up,” he added.

MDI opens its regular season this Friday, Sept. 2, at home at 7 p.m. against Dover Foxcroft.

Shields said Foxcroft is a strong team and will be a tough opponent. “I’m looking forward to a really good week of practice,” he said.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.
Earl Brechlin

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