GARDINER — As soon as it looked like the Gardiner football team was on the verge of its first win of the season, it was gone in an instant, or in this case, two instances.
The Tigers lost 28-14 in a Pine Tree Conference Class B battle with Brewer on Friday in front of a packed house at Hoch Field. Gardiner falls to 0-5 this season, while the Witches improve to 1-4.
Trailing 20-14 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Gardiner decided to go for it on 4th and 10 from their own 40-yard line. Tigers running back Brad Weston tried to find daylight on a toss play, but was stopped by a group of Brewer tacklers, giving the Witches the ball in Gardiner territory.
Six plays later, Brewer quarterback Logan Rogerson rolled to his right, cut left and found space down the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown run, his second of the game. Rogerson ran for the 2-point conversion to seal the win with the 28-14 score.
“It was a run first, pass second (option play),” Rogerson said. “I just saw the hole and ran into the corner of the end zone.”
Rogerson accounted for 143 total yards of offense (93 rushing, 50 passing) to lead the Witches offensively.
“(Rogerson) is a good quarterback,” Gardiner head coach Matt Burgess said. “We were supposed to contain him and we didn’t.”
The game showed marked improvement for a Tigers’ offense that was struggling up until Friday.
Gardiner finished with 262 yards of total offense, while Brewer had 292.
Burgess said he was happy with his run game, which accounted for 176 yards.
“We were able to run the ball pretty good tonight, that was good, it was nice,” Burgess said.
The Tigers fought back from a 14-point deficit, thanks to two touchdown runs by Weston. His first came on a 2-yard run in the second quarter, followed by a 6-yard run in the third quarter to tie the game at 14-14 heading into the fourth.
“These guys don’t lack in effort at all,” Burgess said.
Weston led the Tigers offense with 117 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Rogerson gave the lead back to Brewer with six minutes remaining in the fourth, keeping the ball on a rollout to his right and scoring on a 14-yard run.
“(The win) feels great, we wanted to get our first win and we know they didn’t have a win,” Rogerson said. “We just kept fighting until the end and came out with a win.”
Gardiner continued its practice of rotating its quarterbacks. Eli Fish was 4 of 10 passing for 42 yards, while Matt McKenna was 2 of 3 passing for 44 yards. Jake Truman was Gardiner’s leading receiver, catching three passes for 58 yards.
Dave Dyer — 621-5639