GARDINER — A sure six points bounced off Chase Begin’s face mask late in the first half Friday night, which looked to be another frustrating night for the Gardiner Tigers.

All Gardiner’s senior wide receiver wanted was for sophomore quarterback Eli Kropp to look his way again.

Kropp went back to him two plays later, and Begin made the most of his second chance, scoring the only touchdown in an 8-0 win over Morse that snapped the Tigers’ 11-game losing streak Friday night at Hoch Field.

It was Gardiner’s first win since a 26-14 victory over Brewer in the 2012 Pine Tree Conference Class B playoffs.

Begin had a step on his defender on Kropp’s first throw, but the ball slipped through his hands, off his face mask and fell incomplete in the end zone.

A penalty on the next play pushed the Tigers back to the Morse 42, then a 12-yard run by Wyatt Blair got them to the 30. Facing fourth and 12, Kropp dropped back and found Begin open once again, on the same route, for the touchdown with 1:22 remaining in the half. Tyler Caron ran in the two-point conversion.

“I got really mad (missing the first throw),” Begin said. “But on the second one, I just blocked it out and watched it into my hands. It was the exact same play. It just went perfect.”

Gardiner’s defense was nearly perfect, too, particularly in the second half. The Tigers limited the Shipbuilders to just 23 total yards and one first down in the final 24 minutes.

“We wanted to work hard, as hard as we could,” said senior linebacker Jake Truman. “It’s the year of redemption. We’ve got to come back.”

The defense’s biggest stand came to start the second half. The Tigers’ kick return unit couldn’t handle a bouncing kickoff near Morse’s sideline, and Dillion Havener pounced on the ball to start the Shipbuilders at Gardiner’s 26.

Runs by Raz Baltazar and Havener set up a fourth and one, but the Tigers (1-2), led by sophomore Kaleb Caron, dropped Baltazar for a two-yard loss to turn the ball over on downs.

A 22-yard punt return by Damon Osmond gave Morse (1-2) good field position — at Gardiner’s 38 — on its next possession. The Tigers tightened-up again, forcing an incompletion on fourth and 11 to scuttle the Shipbuilders once more.

Morse started its penultimate drive in Tiger territory, the 46, with under six minutes left, but a 2-yard run, two pass incompletions and an 8-yard run by Osmond on fourth and nine came up short.

“Our defense really stepped up this game, but our defense has been looking better all year,” Begin said. “We’ve gotten big stops every game. Our defense works well, it’s just getting rid of the little mistakes, which I think we did this game.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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