SKOWHEGAN — Quarterback Adam Clukey, a first-year starter, threw for a career-high 297 yards for Skowhegan on Friday night. Just as importantly, the Indians’ running game worked when they desperately needed it.

Clukey and his receivers helped Skowhegan build a lead against Lewiston, and when the Blue Devils switched the momentum, Tyler Savage protected that lead on the ground. Skowhegan scored the clinching touchdown with less than three minutes to play, and held on for a 24-13 Pine Tree Conference Class A football victory.

Clukey completed 13 of 22 passes on the night. He threw touchdown passes of 59 yards to Owen Mercier and 17 yards to DJ Allen. In the first half alone, Clukey threw for 213 yards, as Lewiston often left his receivers uncovered.

“We saw it on film,” Clukey said. “We repped it all week. We knew it was going to be there. Especially during the game, we saw openings.”

Clukey hit Ben Salley with a 46-yard pass on the last play of the first quarter to set up Salley’s 3-yard touchdown run. Clukey then hit Mercier with a fly pattern down the right sideline to make it 12-0, and hit Mercier for 37 yards on the same pattern to set up another score, a 1-yard run by Savage.

Leading 18-0 and looking like they were going to win about 50-0, the Indians (2-2) were rocked by the final minute of the first half. A bad snap led to a 4-yard punt by Clukey, and Lewiston (1-3) took over on the Skowhegan 48 with 24 seconds left. Eddie Emerson hit Steven Patrie for 43 yards, and then Patrie made a leaping catch on a fade pattern with one second left in the half, pulling the Blue Devils within 18-7.

“I feel like we let up,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said. “We got complacent, and they came up with a big play, punched it in, and it changed the whole momentum of the game.”

Skowhegan drove to the Lewiston 2 to open the second half, but lost the ball on downs. After an exchange of possessions, Lewiston had a first and 10 on its own 11, and gave the ball to running back Quintarian Brown, who had been stacked up and swarmed throughout the first half. This time, Brown broke through the line, cut left and danced free for an 89-yard touchdown run. Brown, who finished with 161 yards on 16 carries, had cut the lead to 18-13.

Lewiston never got close to the end zone again, and Skowhegan took over on its 28 with 9:51 left in the fourth quarter after a diving interception by Brett Gilbert. To that point, Savage had gained 16 yards on 13 carries. Friedman kept calling his number, and Savage churned out 46 yards on nine attempts on the time-consuming drive.

“Obviously, we wanted to run the clock,” Friedman said. “We just had a talk with our offensive line, and said, ‘You guys gotta step up and give him some holes.’ You could see the look in Tyler’s eyes. He wanted the ball, so we gave it to him.”

Still, the Indians had a fourth-and-eight from the Lewiston 17 with 2:51 to go. Clukey dropped back and was drilled as he threw, but Allen made a diving catch over the middle for the score.

“Oh yeah, I got crushed,” Clukey said. “We had a few plays. We didn’t know really what we wanted to do. We went to the air, and I saw DJ. I knew there was no safety over the top. I saw him, and I hit him. I got crushed, but still delivered it. He made a heckuva catch on it. Awesome job.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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