FARMINGTON — How do you keep a brand new pair of white shoes sparkling clean on the football field? You don’t get touched.

Mt. Blue senior back Randy Barker provided a master class in the running game Friday night, torching Hampden Academy for 271 yards and a career-high five touchdowns as the Cougars pulled out a 44-28 Pine Tree Conference Class B win over the Broncos at Caldwell Field. With the win, Mt. Blue improved to 2-1, doubling its win output from a year ago just three games into the season, on the strength of 472 yards rushing as a team.

“Onward and upward, keep it going,” Barker said. “We’re not going to stop.”

Nothing was as simple as either Barker’s gaudy statistics or the final score would have indicated.

First Hampden quarterback Mike Raye threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kent Oliver, and then the Broncos recovered an onside kick to touch off a seven-play scoring drive that ended with Raye’s 1-yard run on fourth and goal on the opening play of the final quarter — and the Broncos had cut their deficit to just four points at 32-28.

They could get no closer.

“In some ways, we haven’t been in this position as often as we would like. What we were looking for was composure,” Mt. Blue head coach Nate Quirion said. “That’s what we had here today. A lot of this was self-inflicted and some opportunistic plays on Hampden’s end. We stayed together, we didn’t flinch, and we got the job done.”

Two plays later, Mt. Blue sophomore Tucker Nicholas went 26 yards for a touchdown which all but put the game out of reach at 38-28 with 11:26 remaining. Nicholas finished with 119 yards rushing and two scores in a supporting role out of the Cougar backfield.

Senior defensive back Noah Bell helped seal Hampden’s fate with a pass breakup on fourth down, and Barker’s fifth touchdown midway through the period provided insurance.

“We all stood together and united as one team,” Bell said. “When our backs were against the wall, we stood up as a team and we held them. It was a great job.”

Mt. Blue’s Tucker Nicholas (left) and Caleb Haines wrap up Hampden’s Brady Lobdell during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night at Caldwell Field in Farmington. Photo by Jennifer Bechard

For a Hampden team that has lost 11 straight games dating back to the start of last season, it was a classic case of not being able to get over the hump.

“Mt. Blue just brings out the best in us, they do,” Hampden head coach Shane Rogers said. “We just have great battles. I don’t know what else to say. … It’s one of those things where you’ve got to learn how to win, I guess. We didn’t come out on the winning end, but we took a step forward toward next week, I think.”

Barker recorded scoring runs of 1, 5, 11, 62 and 7 yards, with the 62-yarder coming on the second play of the third quarter. It was one of four scoring “drives” for the Cougars which chewed up 42 seconds or fewer on the game clock.

“The line was tremendous,” Quirion said. “When he gets downhill, you can see what he can do. He’s a great second, third effort guy. He loves football, and he wants it very badly.”

“Our line did great. Everybody hit their assignments,” Barker said. “It was easy.”

Easy enough that his new white high-top cleats looked just as brand new after the game as they did before.

“Brand new. First game,” said Barker, who won’t wear them during practices. “First game, just wore them for the game.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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