SKOWHEGAN — As far as Friday night’s football games go, it won’t be as memorable or as meaningful as the playoff upsets in other parts of the state.

Instead, Skowhegan and Bangor just played a splendidly entertaining game. Zeb Tuell’s 1 yard run with 1 minutes, 18 seconds left lifted Bangor to a 30-27 victory.

“It was a great game by two teams that were too proud to give up, even though neither one of us had a chance to make the playoffs,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said.

By winning its last three games, Bangor finishes 5-4. Skowhegan ends its season 4-5.

“It’s great programs, and they’re playing for nothing other than the love of the game,” Bangor coach Mark Hackett said. “That’s why football is played.”

In the first half, there was little hint of the incoming fireworks. Bangor led 8-0 at the half as Cody Chapman (24 carries, 72 yards) scored on a 6-yard run and then a two-point conversion early in the second quarter. Skowhegan got the ball at the Bangor 17 in the final minute after a short punt, but lost the ball on a fumble.

Skowhegan forged ahead in the third quarter when Ben Salley took a short pass from Adam Clukey and juked his way to a 32-yard touchdown reception on fourth down, and Ben Clark scooped up a fumble and zipped 22 yards for another score, putting the Indians up 14-8 at the start of the fourth quarter.

After churning ahead for three quarters with the running of Chapman and Tuell, the Rams did a 180 with their strategy and moved the ball with passes from Carl Farnham to Matt Cosgrove. The two seniors hooked up seven times for 107 yards — all in the fourth quarter. Their first three passes set up a 3-yard run by Chapman to put Bangor up 15-14.

“It was something that we prepared for during the week,” Friedman said. “We put them in a position that they had to go to it, and we didn’t execute well enough defensively to stop it.”

Skowhegan got its hard-fought lead back in two plays, as Salley went 68 yards for a score. Two and a half minutes later, Tyler Savage (15 carries, 106 yards) was hemmed in twice but got free for a 38-yard touchdown jaunt, and the Indians led 27-15 with 5:06 to go.

Once again, Farnham hit Cosgrove, this time for 39 yards on the first play after the kickoff. On fourth and 8 from the Skowhegan 9, Cosgrove toe-tapped inbounds with a touchdown catch to get Bangor within 27-22.

The last big break came two plays later, when the Rams recovered a Skowhegan fumble at the Indians 24. Chapman got a first down by inches on 4th-and-one from the 2, and then Tuell went over on the next play.

Skowhegan took over on its own 25 with 1:11 left, and was in a position to bookend its season with winning touchdown drives in the final seconds. It wasn’t to be, as the Indians gained only one yard on four plays before giving the ball up on downs.

Several of the Skowhegan seniors were in tears after the game, but Friedman said he appreciated what that group did this fall.

“I’m so proud of these guys, of these seniors,” Friedman said. “The toughest thing for a senior is having a regime change that year. These guys took to the new coaching staff with open arms, and did everything they could to learn a new offense and a new defense. It was great leadership for our young kids.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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