PITTSFIELD — On a cold Friday night in Pittsfield, the Maine Central Institute put a new spin on a football tradition. Throughout the second half, the Huskies ran their hurry up offense, but rather than spread the ball all over the field they pounded it up the middle, old school.

“We’re going to come out and we’re going to grind this one out,” running back Eric Hathaway said. “We were hungry. We wanted this feeling that everybody has right now.”

Rotating Hathaway, Jonathan Santiago and Alex Bertrand, the Huskies grinded out drives in the second half, and what had been a tie game at the half became one-sided and a 35-20 win over defending Little Ten Conference champion Bucksport.

“We just decided we needed to get back to the fundamentals of pounding the ball,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said.

With the score tied 14-14 at the break, MCI went to its up-tempo ground game on the first series of the second half. The Huskies marched 65 yards in 14 plays, culminating in Bertrand’s 2-yard touchdown run that gave MCI a 21-14 and the lead for good with 8:35 left in the third quarter.

After Braden McKenna intercepted Bucksport quarterback Matt Stewart at the MCI 33, the Huskies went 58 yards in 15 plays. The drive was extended when Jimmy Hal recovered a punt fumble at the Bucksport 20, and ended when Mitchell Hallee caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Greg Vigue 46 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Another MCI pick, this one by Austin Tolman at the MCI 42, set up the Huskies’ final score. Hathaway capped a seven-play, 46-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring run and a 35-14 lead.

The Huskies ran for 206 yards, with Hathaway (76 yards), Santiago (71 yards) and Bertrand (51 yards) splitting the bulk of the carries. Five players scored a touchdown for MCI.

“We know we have a lot of weapons, and we’re going to expose every single one of them. We’re going to keep rolling,” Hathaway said.

Santiago got the scoring started with a 5-yard run early in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. The Bucks needed just one play, a 63-yard Jack Cyr run, to tie the game. Willie Moss scored on a 17-yard run with 3:08 left in the first to give MCI a 14-7 lead.

Cyr (102 yards on 13 carries) scored on a 1-yard run with 11:28 to play in the second quarter to tie the game at 14-all. From there, the MCI defense buckled down until Stewart connected with Asher Bowden on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 47.8 seconds to play.

“They were beating us off tackle, and we just made some adjustments. We just buckled down. We made some plays,” coach Bertrand said.

MCI recovered the ensuring onside kick, and took a knee to end the game.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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