SKOWHEGAN — The Skowhegan football team showed it can air out a defense, when Adam Clukey threw five touchdowns in a rout of Mt. Ararat in the regular-season opener last week.
In a steady rain Friday night, the Indians proved they can run it a little bit, too.
Kaleb Brown rushed for a game-high 196 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries as Skowhegan outlasted Messalonskee 14-6 in a Pine Tree Conference Class B game at water-logged Clark Field.
“We came out and wanted to play hard and we did,” Brown said. “We did what we wanted to do.”
It wasn’t easy.
The Indians (2-0) trailed 6-0 after the first quarter in a game that field position ultimately decided before they broke through on their first possession of the second quarter.
Senior quarterback Clukey completed three of his eight passes on the drive, which started at the Messalonskee 39-yard line. Clukey completed a pair of key third-down passes, one to Isaiah Vigue for 18 yards and another to Ben Salley for 11 more, to push the Indians inside the 5 about four minutes into the quarter.
Clukey capped the eventual game-winning drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Owen Mercier on a well-executed slant. Clukey completed 8 of his 14 passes for 69 yards.
“The slants were there and we got them,” Clukey said. “We had to take advantage of what the defense gave us.”
Brown kicked the extra point and the Indians went up 7-6. They never trailed again, thanks to the hard running of Brown, terrific blocking up front and a defense that held Messalonskee to just 58 yards of offense in the second half.
“We had a great game plan,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said.
Skowhegan gained some separation when Brown rushed for a 37-yard touchdown with 1:13 left in the third.
The run capped a four-play drive that started at the Skowhegan 44-yard line. Brown carried the ball all four times.
“I had some great blocking up front,” he said. “I just followed the holes.”
Brown again converted the kick and the Indians extended their lead to 14-6.
“It was a well-fought game but they made that big play at the end,” Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said. “The game could have gone either way. It was well-played considering the conditions.”
The Eagles had their chances in the fourth quarter.
They drove to the Skowhegan 5-yard line with under six minutes left in the quarter, but Jake Dexter threw an incomplete pass on fourth down after linebacker DJ Allen flushed him out of the pocket.
About two minutes later, Messalonskee again forced a punt and took over at the Skowhegan 32. The Eagles reached the Skowhegan 21, but again came up short on a fourth down pass.
“Our defense played a fantastic game,” Friedman said. “They did their job.”
Messalonskee grabbed a 6-0 lead when Dexter hit Devin Warren for a 29-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 6 with 3:02 left in the quarter.
Dexter completed 3 of 6 passes for 54 yards. He also threw an interception. Corey McKenzie rushed for a team-high 74 yards on 13 carries for the Eagles as well.
“We’ll get there eventually,” Bishop said. “I don’t know when but we will. It was a tough night to play in, but our kids are tough. We didn’t give up.”