GARDINER — With just two returning starters forcing a host of inexperienced players into key positions, the Gardiner football team knew there was potential for some long nights this fall.
Friday was one of them.
Matt Martin completed 12 of 21 passes for 327 yards and five touchdowns to lead Hampden Academy past Gardiner 54-0 in a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night at Hoch Field.
Dan Marquis caught six passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Spencer had three catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns for Hampden (3-1), which led 20-0 after the first quarter and 45-0 at the half.
“We knew they could throw it and they did,” Gardiner coach Matt Burgess said. “We never gave up. We’ll keep fighting.”
Martin also rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown on nine carries to help the Broncos keep pace with the frontrunners in PTC B.
“We’re clicking,” Hampden coach Kevin Canty said. “We wanted to spread them out a little bit.”
And the Broncos did, with Martin picking apart an inexperienced secondary from the get-go Friday.
Hampden piled up 466 yards of total offense and punted just once. Gardiner (0-4), meanwhile, had 98 yards of offense and gained just three first downs — all in the second half.
“We did what we had to do,” Martin said. “We came here looking for the win and we got it.”
The Broncos wasted little time putting this one away.
They won the coin toss, elected to receive the opening kick and then went up a touchdown just 2 minutes, 26 seconds into the game when Martin found Marquis for a 51-yard touchdown pass over the middle.
Hampden forced Gardiner to punt on its first possession, and then Martin connected with Spencer for a 60-yard touchdown pass just 4:25 into the game.
Max Moore kicked both extra points and the Broncos were up 14-0.
“We had one-on-one coverage and we took advantage,” Martin said. “This is my second year so the game has slowed down a bit for me. I can read defenses better. I’m more confident.”
The game was delayed about 10 minutes with 2:30 left in the first quarter when one of the four light poles went dark at Hoch.
However, not even the break in action could slow the Broncos’ momentum.
When play resumed, the Broncos again went to work as Martin threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Spencer in the final minute of the quarter. The score capped an eight-play, 68-yard drive to put Hampden up 20-0.
“I just had plenty of time to throw the ball,” Martin said. “The receivers ran good routes and the line did its job. It was fun.”
Hampden tacked on four more touchdowns in the second quarter — two coming on touchdown passes from Martin to Marquis.
“We’ll get back to work,” Burgess said. “We’ll get better.”
Brad Weston rushed for 61 yards on 17 carries to lead the Tigers.
Bill Stewart — 621-5640