OAKLAND — For the Skowhegan Area High School football team, this one was a jump-start after two tough losses in a row. For Messalonskee, this one is going to sting a bit.

Trailing by 15 points late in the third quarter, Skowhegan capitalized on Messalonskee mistakes, rallying to take a 33-29 Pine Tree Conference Class B win. Both teams are now 4-2.

“We came together as a team in the second half,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said. “That’s what we’ve been looking for.”

While the Indians came together, the Eagles came apart.

Messalonskee turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter. Twice, turnovers ended drives inside Skowhegan’s 10-yard line. Twice, turnovers led to a Skowhegan scoring drive.

“You’re not going to beat the Little Sisters of the poor if you turn it over four times in the fourth quarter,” Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said. “There’s the game. We gave it to them.”

Trailing 29-20, Skowhegan recovered an Eagle fumble at its own 23 with 5:06 to play. After a pair of incompletions, Garrett McSweeney threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Jon Bell, and the Indians cut the deficit to 29-26.

Messalonskee fumbled on the first play of the ensuing drive and Skowhegan had the ball at the Eagle 45. The game-winning drive took six plays, ending when McSweeney scored on a 6-yard run with 2:24 to play.

“We had to fight though adversity,” McSweeney said. “We really pushed the tempo (on the final drive).”

In a win last season over Messalonskee, the Indians had success with McSweeney running the ball. In this game, the quarterback carried it 13 times for 48 yards, along with 362 yards passing and three touchdowns.

“We knew last year we ran on them. They put one backer in the box,” McSweeney said. “The line did a great job getting me room to run.”

Added Friedman: “We want to run (McSweeney) more than we do, but haven’t found the right situation. He’s a big, strong kid.”

The Eagles had one final chance, but Russell Bradley’s interception at the Skowhegan 20 ended Messalonskee’s final drive with 15 seconds left.

For much of the game, Messalonskee controlled the tempo with its running attack. Fullback Austin Pelletier ran for 213 yards and scored on runs of 13, 85, 1, and 42 yards. Pelletier’s final touchdown run have the Eagles a 29-14 lead with 10:14 to play in the third quarter.

Cam Barnes had nine catches for 108 yards for Skowhegan, while Bell added four catches for 148 yards.


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