Bucksport football team beats Hermon to pass biggest test yet

first_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Bio Latest Posts Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected] HERMON — All season long, the Bucksport football team has heard the chatter.The Golden Bucks have been called overrated; they’ve been told they’ve preyed on a week schedule; they’ve even been told they’d be exposed against a strong opponent. During practices and games, Bucksport players have even repeated these adages to themselves as a reminder of what they’re out to prove.There’s plenty of work still to be done if Bucksport wants to achieve its goal of winning a state championship for the first time in 15 years. Yet after the Golden Bucks’ latest performance, a shutout victory that spoiled a Class C power’s Homecoming festivities, doubts about their pedigree can be safely put to rest.Bucksport delivered a bold message to its critics with a 28-0 victory over Hermon in Friday night’s crossover showdown at Hermon High School. The win saw the Golden Bucks assert their physical prowess on both sides of the ball from start to finish to pass their sternest test to date with flying colors.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder text“Our kids were hearing things, and I think that gave them a little extra motivation,” Bucksport head coach Joel Sankey said. “This was a great football team we played, and we were ready to come out and play tough.”After both teams went three-and-out to start the game, the Golden Bucks (5-0) used a series of 5- and 6-yard runs between the tackles to move the ball deep into Hermon territory. Bucksport’s success running the ball continued in the red zone as Josh Miller scored the opening touchdown from 2 yards out to give the visitors a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.Bucksport’s Dawson Eaton (left) and David Gross close in on Hermon quarterback Wyatt Gogan during the first half of a high school football game Oct. 4 at Hermon High School. The Bucksport defense has not allowed a point in its past three games. RICK MCHALE PHOTOHermon (3-2) gave Bucksport the ball in plus territory after a failed fake punt on 4th-and-18, and the Golden Bucks responded with more success on the ground to earn another red-zone trip. Brady Findlay then connected with Ty Giberson for 16 yards on a bubble screen to set up another 2-yard score from Miller as the visitors pulled ahead 14-0 with 8 minutes, 16 seconds left in the first half.Although the Hawks finally moved the chains for the first time midway through the second quarter, Bucksport ultimately forced another punt to take over with 3:44 left in the half. Findlay then used the short passing game to move the ball down the field, and the Golden Bucks stretched the lead to 21-0 with 23 seconds left in the half when Jaxon Gross scored on a 1-yard run.“For me, it was just about stepping up and doing my job,” Findlay said. “Our wide receivers are great, and our blockers are great. That makes it a lot easier.”Bucksport followed a Hermon three-and-out to start the second half with a stalled drive of its own, but the Golden Bucks retained possession after recovering a muff on the ensuing punt return. Miller put the nail in the coffin on the very next snap, breaking multiple tackles and carrying a defender into the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown run that resulted in the final points of the night.“I put my head down and told myself to keep pushing forward,” Miller said. “I have to give all the credit to our line because they opened up the field for me. I couldn’t have done it without them.”Indeed, Bucksport’s ability to move the ball was largely a product of its offensive line. Even though the offense produced fewer big plays than in previous games this season, the Golden Bucks’ success in the trenches led to long scoring drives that wore down the Hermon front seven and took significant time off the clock.More impressive, though, was the Golden Bucks’ showing on defense. Hermon, which entered Friday night having scored a combined 125 points in its past three games, amassed just 48 yards of total offense against a Bucksport unit that has now pitched 14 consecutive quarters of shutout football.“We’ve been playing physical football, which is the key to our defense,” Miller said. “It all starts with the work we’ve done in the weight room to get stronger. We want to show that every time we come out on the field.”After the two teams went through the handshake line, the Bucksport players let out a stream of celebratory yells in Pottle Field’s southwest end zone. Gavin Billings and Dawson Eaton bumped chests, and David Gross shouted out a message to the rest of the state: “Keep sleeping on us.”Bucksport’s Cam Soper catches a pass from Brady Findlay during the first half of a high school football game against Hermon on Oct. 4 at Hermon High School. Bucksport’s success in the passing game late in the first half set up the team’s third touchdown of the game. RICK MCHALE PHOTOAs Bucksport’s coaches lauded their players’ efforts in the post-game huddle, one assistant noted that the scoreboard had been shut off the instant the game clock hit zero. Playing the Golden Bucks has been an experience opponents have wanted to forget almost immediately, and not even this contest, which came against one of the top teams from a higher classification, could prove to be an exception.The tests will keep coming for Bucksport, which will host Class D South contender Oak Hill (3-2; one win via forfeit) at 7 p.m. next Friday, Oct. 11. Yet at 5-0, the Golden Bucks are halfway to their dream of a Gold Ball, and after turning one of the toughest games on their schedule into a rout, they’re more than ready for the road ahead of them.“Our kids wanted to prove something and show what they’re made of,” Sankey said. “They definitely did.”Eagles, Trojans fall in defensive battlesThe Ellsworth/Sumner and Mount Desert Island football teams fell to 1-4 on the season Friday with losses in their respective road games.In Readfield, Ellsworth/Sumner put forth a valiant effort in an eight-man clash with first-place Maranacook (5-0). The Eagles fell behind 14-0 in the first half but kept the game competitive the rest of the way in a 22-12 loss.Senior Connor Crawford had 180 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on offense and five solo tackles, five assisted tackles and an interception on defense. Noah Hughes racked up an impressive nine solo tackles, four assisted tackles and a sack to add to the Eagles’ strong defensive showing.MDI took on Waterville and lost 15-14 to fall to its fourth straight defeat. The Trojans led for much of the game but fell behind on a late Waterville touchdown and couldn’t reclaim the lead.Hunter Gray led MDI with 144 rushing yards. Quarterback Baylor Landsman entered the game in the fourth quarter and passed for 52 yards in his return from an injury suffered Sept. 20 against Old Town.Both teams will be back in action at 7 p.m. next Friday. Ellsworth/Sumner will host Traip Academy (3-2), and MDI will take on John Bapst (3-2) at Husson University.center_img Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020last_img read more

TRACK : Front-runner: Record-breaker Eaton has sights set on national title in 60-meter hurdles

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Jarret Eaton already held the fastest 60-meter hurdles time in the nation. He already held the record for the fastest time at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track at Penn State.But as he ran in the finals of the Penn State Invitational Jan. 28, he did it again.In just 7.49 seconds, the blur of orange wearing a distinctive white headband owned the 60 meters and broke his records. He set a new personal best. He set a new facility record. He set a new fastest time in the nation.Eaton has the track and field world buzzing. Yet the buzz around the Syracuse campus isn’t as loud.‘It doesn’t bother me,’ Eaton said. ‘It shouldn’t be just me if I get publicity. It should be the team as a whole. Sometimes it overshadows the other success on the team.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEaton is a contender to do something unheard of for the Orange track and field program: become a national champion.In Eaton’s first meet of the season at the Cornell Upstate Challenge in Ithaca, the hurdler set a school record in the 60-meter hurdles and set the bar for his competitors by posting the best time in the nation. He topped that the next weekend with his record time in State College, Pa. The 7.49-second time at the Penn State Invitational is the fastest collegiate time since 1997 and just .02 seconds behind the all-time collegiate record held by former Wisconsin hurdler Reggie Torian. Though Syracuse head coach Chris Fox has brought the SU cross country program to prominence in recent years, the track and field team has been far from elite, making Eaton’s success a pleasant surprise.Eaton has a chance to be a Syracuse legend. But had a few things been slightly different, he would not be in this position.Eaton was a track and field state champion and a football star at Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, Pa. He wanted to continue both sports, but found during the recruiting process that coaches at Division-I programs weren’t sold.So he found himself at West Chester (Pa.) University, a Division-II school where he could play both football and run for the track and field team.‘I loved football just as much as I love track,’ Eaton said. ‘My high school coach was able to get me to go to West Chester, and I was able to start and play football, and then I ended up essentially walking onto the track team because my football coach let me.’Eaton starred immediately at West Chester. It wasn’t long before he and his coaches realized he had Division-I talent as a hurdler.He decided to put his football career behind and transferred to Syracuse after his freshman year.‘If I wanted to play football I wouldn’t have left West Chester,’ said Eaton, now a graduate student. ‘… My mindset was on track, and I was going to do track. It was a bit of a betrayal if I would have done Syracuse football after leaving West Chester.’In his first-ever meet at Syracuse, at the SU Welcome in 2009, he ran an NCAA championship qualifying time in the 55-meter hurdles. Two weeks later, at the Penn State National Open in State College, he ran an NCAA championship qualifying time in the 60-meter hurdles.That race soon became his staple.Eaton traveled to College Station, Texas, for the NCAA Indoor Championship in March 2009. But his time of 7.92 seconds in the preliminaries wasn’t good enough for him to qualify and advance further.As a junior, Eaton continued to leave his mark. At the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City in February 2010, Eaton once again qualified for the NCAA championship. He also set a school record with a 7.68-second time in the 60-meter hurdles.But a month later at the NCAA Indoor Championship in Fayetteville, Ark., Eaton ran nearly two full tenths of a second slower and finished just 16th.‘All that shows is just that, in the grand scheme of things, times you run early in the season don’t mean anything, and I think Jarret knows that,’ SU assistant coach Dave Hegland said. ‘I think it’s great for him to run real fast early. Obviously, it’s great for us. It’s nice he set a school record, but unless you can go to the national championships and do it on that day, no one’s going to remember those times.’After the disappointment in Fayetteville, Eaton redshirted last season as a senior. He had some minor injuries and felt that having another year would allow him to make major strides. But it also meant he would be running his final season during an Olympic qualifying year.So far, it has paid off.‘A year of growth, a year of maturity, a year of hard work, that all pays off for athletes,’ Fox said. ‘Look at Scoop Jardine, it’s the same kind of thing for him. He’s a fifth-year guy. A fifth year makes a big difference.‘He got to work on his technique, he got to work on his strength, he hit the weight room hard and he’s a bigger, better, stronger athlete.’In his first meet, Eaton came out with a vengeance. He broke his own school record with a 7.61 in the 60-meter hurdles. He broke it again with the 7.49 at Penn State, the time that still sits as the best in the nation.Of course, that won’t mean anything if he can’t turn that into a first-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships this March in Nampa, Idaho.‘It would be huge for us,’ Fox said. ‘It’s a rare opportunity. He’s one of the guys that can do it at nationals if everything goes right — knock on wood to stay healthy. It would be as big as anything to happen in 10 years for this program.’With the fastest time in 15 years in the 60-meter hurdles, Eaton’s goal of a national championship certainly an objective within reach.And if he can do that, it would do wonders for the program. Nothing rivals in importance and value to producing a national champion.‘It’s the start of something here,’ Eaton said. ‘My coach is a great hurdle coach, and coach Fox is a great cross country coach, and track and field as a whole is on the rise. It’s not the same program as it was 10 years ago. We have great coaching, we have great talent here as a team. … We’re on the up and up.’[email protected] Published on February 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2center_img Commentslast_img read more