BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School Trojans football team came out on top in its season opener on Sept. 2 in a game that saw it up by 21 points, and then barely hanging on to a one-point lead after the Dover Foxcroft Ponies made three unanswered touchdowns.
The Trojans, however, rallied in the fourth quarter, after several key defensive plays, to win by a score of 28-20.
According to MDI head Coach Mark Shields, his team going in knew Foxcroft would be a tough opponent.
“You can’t give them enough credit. They have a proud program,” he said of his opponents. “We were ahead at the half, but as I warned the players, they [Foxcroft] were not done. They came out in the third and smacked us in the face,” he continued.
“I told the kids at the half that we would have to respond when that happened, and we did,” he added. “I’m really, really proud of the way our kids played tonight.”
MDI quarterback Andrew Phelps got the Trojans moving steadily downfield after winning the coin toss. While progress was steady on the ground, MDI lost the ball due to a post-pass fumble by receiver Croix Albee. Foxcroft took over its own 16-yard line, and quarterback Nick Clawson brought Ponies to MDI’s end of the field, but they were forced to punt.
MDI’s next possession brought the Trojans all the way back downfield, ending with a touchdown on Phelp’s pitchout to Albee, who rumbled in from four yards out. MDI’s Drew Rich added the point after, pushing the score to 7-0 just inside the second quarter.
On its next possession, the MDI squad drove deep into Foxcroft territory, but a field goal attempt was blocked. The Ponies took over on downs but found themselves steadily being pushed back by a relentless MDI defense and offensive penalties.
A clutch James Carroll interception of a Clawson pass helped stall the Ponies’ momentum.
MDI scored again with just 2:35 to go in the half, this time on Albee’s run to the right. Rich’s point-after pushed the score to 14-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Foxcroft fumbled, and MDI made its third turnover recovery of the night. That set up a Phelps pitch left to running back Colby Lee, who sprinted 40 yards downfield for another MDI score. Rich’s kick was good once again, and the Trojans went into halftime up 21-0.
In the third, Foxcroft came back scoring three touchdowns on runs by Billy Brock (twice), and Michaleb Niles. While two point-after attempts were good, Foxcroft kicker Levi Steadman missed his third, leaving MDI the narrowest of margins, 21-20, with just 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
MDI’s offense revived in the game’s waning minutes, with Albee running in from three yards out for his third TD of the night. Rich’s fourth extra point pushed the score to its final count, 28-20.
With just over two minutes left to play, MDI’s Chris Farnsworth intercepted a Clawson pass and ran into the end zone for what looked like another touchdown. The Trojans’ celebration, however, was short-lived, as an MDI penalty for blocking in the back downfield nixed the points and pushed the team back to its own 44-yard line. The Ponies, however, were not able to mount sufficient momentum as the clock expired.
The victory put MDI at 1-0 for the season. It plays next at Belfast, on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m.