FARMINGTON — In a game between such evenly matched teams, of course it took nearly all 48 minutes to decide a winner.
Saturday night’s Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinal game between No. 5 Skowhegan and No. 4 Mt. Blue wasn’t decided until Skowhegan’s Nathan Morris intercepted an Andrew Pratt pass at the goal line with 9.2 seconds left, giving the Indians a 36-29 win.
Skowhegan, now 5-4, will play at No. 1 Brunswick next week. Mt. Blue ends the season at 5-4.
It was the second staright game between these rivals. Mt. Blue won at Skowhegan last week, 42-40.
“There were no secrets tonight,” Skowhegan quarterback Adam Clukey said. “Just see who the better team is.”
The Indians took the lead for good when Kaleb Brown scored on a 2-yard run on fourth and goal with 4:36 to play. Ben Salley caught the 2-point pass from Adam Clukey, and Skowhegan had a seven point lead.
The Indians defense held the Cougars four and out on the ensuing drive, but Mt. Blue recovered a Skowhegan fumble at its own 29 with 1:22 to go. The Cougars marched to the Indians’ 25 before Morris’ pick sealed the game.
Skowhegan’s game-winning scoring drive was kept alive by a fake punt on which Clukey hit DJ Allen for a 22-yard gain to the Mt. Blue 41. Allen (four catches for 82 yards) dove to make the catch.
“On that fake punt, DJ Allen saved me,” Clukey said. “That was the best play I’ve seen all year.”
The teams traded the lead four times in the second half. With 8:09 to play, Mt. Blue took a 29-28 lead when Pratt hit Nate Backus for a 27-yard touchdown pass on fourth down.
Skowhegan led 22-16 at the half after Brown scored on a 1-yard run with 24.8 seconds left in the second quarter. Brown had three touchdowns, and ran for 84 yards.
Pratt scored three touchdowns for Mt. Blue, the first on a 49-yard first quarter run that tied the game at 8-8. Pratt’s 3-yard touchdown run with 1:34 left in the third gave the Cougars a 23-22 lead.
The game was the last for Mt. Blue head coach Gary Parlin, who announced his retirement earlier this season.
“I’m just so lucky. I’ve got a great family,” Parlin, who led the Cougars to the Class B state title last season, said. “Mt. Blue kids, they’re great to coach. It’s hard to leave this, but it’s time to leave.”