PITTSFIELD — On a night when offenses controlled the game, a defensive stand was the difference.
Bucksport stopped Maine Central Institute’s last chance drive at the Golden Bucks’ 37-yard line in the final minute of the game, earning Bucksport a 42-35 win in a battle of two teams that entered the Little Ten Conference game undefeated.
“When we play as a team, there’s not many teams in the state that can play with us,” Bucksport running back Jack Cyr, who scored three touchdowns and ran for a game-high 203 yards, said.
Bucksport (7-0) led by as much as 21 points, 35-14, in the second quarter, before MCI (6-1) mounted a comeback. Austin Tolman’s 27-yard touchdown catch from Greg Vigue with 8:16 left in the game cut Bucksport’s lead to 42-35.
The teams combined to score 28 points in the first two and a half minutes of the game. Cyr returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. After MCI’s Jonathan Santiago returned the ensuing kick 50 yards to the Bucksport 49, Vigue connected with Tolman (eight catches for 82 yards) on a 49-yard touchdown pass, and the game was tied at 7-7 just 32 seconds in.
Josh Gray ran 61 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 Bucksport lead with 10:29 left in the first. The Huskies answered 56 seconds later. Santiago returned the kick 70 yards to Bucksport’s 19, and four plays later, Alex Bertrand scored on a 1-yard run for a 14-14 game.
Gray returned a punt 40 yards late in the first to give the Bucks the lead for good, and Bucksport looked in control when Cyr scored on touchdown runs of 63 and 96 yards in the second quarter to push the lead to 35-14.
MCI cut it to 35-21 at the half, when Vigue (256 yards passing) hit Mitchell Hallee with a 6-yard touchdown pass with 35.1 seconds left in the second quarter.
Santiago (105 yards rushing) scored on an 89 yard run to make it 35-28 Bucksport, with 10:12 left in the third quarter. The Bucks answered when Gray caught a quick slant from Matt Stewart and went 73 yards for a score, making it 42-28 with 8:50 left in the third.