NEWPORT — It was only a matter of time until the Skowhegan Area High School football team’s spread offense took flight.

After struggling to get going for the better part of the first half, the Indians scored a pair of touchdowns a little more than one minute apart late in the second quarter on their way to a 32-20 win over Nokomis on a blustery Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback Garrett McSweeney paced Skowhegan (3-0 Pine Tree Conference B) past the Warriors (0-3 PTC B), completing 19-of-37 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. The Indians had eight different players catch passes with Sam Baker, Spencer Salley and Kameron Doucette combining for 11 receptions and 167 yards. In addition to a 6-yard receiving touchdown, Salley also added an 82-yard touchdown run.

“We definitely came out a little slow but we’re not a team to give up. We stuck together,” McSweeney said. “‘Backers were blitzing so they opened up the middle for us. We changed our plays up in the booth, they sent them down to us, we executed them and we went from there.”

Following a short punt by Nokomis with the score tied 6-6 late in the first half, McSweeney recovered a low snap and hit Dexter Lancaster — who also had a pair of interceptions — on a deep crossing pattern over the middle for a 38-yard touchdown with 1:45 remaining until halftime.

Skowhegan got the ball back just two plays later on an interception by Baker at the Nokomis 46-yard line and the Indians did not wait long to strike again. McSweeney connected with Doucette on a 42-yard pass to get down to the 4-yard line and one play later the Indians’ quarterback hit Baker for another score with 43.4 seconds remaining in the half.

Skowhegan wasted little time in picking up where it left off in the second half, as the Indians scored on their opening possession when McSweeney hit Jon Bell for an 11-yard score to cap off an eight-play, 61-yard drive.

The Indians got the ball back just 90 seconds later after stopping Nokomis on fourth-and-5 at its own 40-yard-line and quickly moved down the field. McSweeney completed 3-of-5 passes on the drive, including a 6-yard touchdown strike to Salley to give Skowhegan a commanding 32-6 lead with 5:59 left in the third quarter.

“We had a couple of good drives there to help us stretch out a lead, which we needed,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said. “(Nokomis’) defensive line and linebackers did a heck of job. They made us work all day and I didn’t feel comfortable all day.”

Nokomis got a 10-yard touchdown run from Cody Rice and a 4-yard scoring pass from quarterback Andrew Haining to Tyler Provencher in the fourth quarter to cut into the deficit, but never really had a chance at erasing it completely.

“At the end of the day I’m obviously pretty happy with most of the game,” Nokomis coach Matt O’Connell said. “We had some breakdowns there right before the half that set us back a little bit.

“…I thought the kids did a good job of fighting back and trying to dig out of it.”

The final score may have tilted in Skowhegan’s favor, yet Nokomis showed plenty of fight — particularly early on — for a young, building team.

The Indians took a 6-0 lead with 4:10 to play in the opening quarter when Salley found daylight along the right sideline and rushed his way to an 82-yard touchdown.

The Warriors responded on the ensuing possession, though, as a 44-yard screen pass from Haining to Cody Rice helped set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge from fullback Alex Chipman to tie the game at 6-6. Chipman finished with 13 carries for 56 yards, while Rice had 11 rushes for 28 yards and also caught five passes for 81 yards. Haining, a freshman, finished the game 16-of-29 for 172 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

“Overall obviously happy, but I still think we can play better and that’s what we’ll shoot for,” O’Connell said. “…We’ve just go to stay patient, keep playing hard and good things will happen, I hope.”

While Nokomis looks to build towards the future, Skowhegan will turn its attention to Friday night. The Indians will welcome fellow unbeaten Brewer (3-0) to Clark Field for homecoming at 7 p.m.

“These guys they know how to prepare for big games,” Friedman said. “We’re going to be home, it’s homecoming, Brewer kept us out of the playoffs last year so that’s all the motivation we’ll need, I hope.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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