GARDINER — The Skowhegan football team was in desperate need of a good break following three straight losses to open the season. That turn in fortune came almost immediately Friday night.

Skowhegan turned a short-field into a quick score, piling up 21 first-quarter points en route to a 37-0 win over Gardiner in a Class B game at Hoch Field. Junior quarterback Camden Green threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns, while tailback Mason Fitzgerald amassed 225 all-purpose yards with one touchdown run and one touchdown catch.

Both teams are now 1-3 at the midpoint of the season.

“It felt great,” said Fitzgerald, a junior, who ran for a ground total of 139 yards. “It took a lot of willpower. A lot of keeping each other up and keeping our heads up, knowing we’d have our time to shine. We just had to put the work in.”

Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby said his team finally found something to build from in the second half of the year.

“We needed this win to sort of right our ship and get us on a high note here for the second half,” Libby said. “Super-impressed with our defense. Really impressed with our kids tonight.”

Things couldn’t have started any better for the visitors.

The first of two Adam Savage interceptions came just three plays in, setting Skowhegan up deep in Gardiner territory for its first possession. After two short Fitzgerald gains on the ground, he followed with a beautiful run off-tackle to the right before turning the corner — and turning on the jets — and burning to the end zone with a 39-yard touchdown that made it 7-0 less than two minutes in.

“We were kind of waiting to see numbers like that from him,” Libby said. “He’s just a phenomenal athlete, a gym rat-type kid. He needed a breakout night.”

“It changed the whole momentum of the game,” Savage, a freshman, said of his interception. “It definitely fueled us.”

A Tiger three-and-out on its next possession turned into one of the biggest plays of the night for Skowhegan.

On a fourth and long from the Gardiner 31, Green threw over the middle to a wide open Zeb Tibbetts for a 14-0 lead.

“They came out, smacked us right in the mouth with a big play,” Gardiner coach Joe White said. “We didn’t know what hit us, and we played like that for the rest of the time. They executed well, played well, they were hungry. And we came out lackadaisical.”

Green’s 54-yard scoring strike to Fitzgerald late in the period seemed to have Skowhegan well on its way to a blowout. But Gardiner’s defense steadied itself, and the offense turned a two-minute drill late in the half into a drive deep into Skowhegan territory.

That drive ended, however, with Savage’s leaping interception in the back corner of the end zone. It was the fourth Gardiner turnover of the night.

“Our defense kept it going. We held out, had some big stops, and we made it work,” Fitzgerald said. “Our defense saved us the game.

“Defense wins championships, it’s true.”

Skowhegan added a safety, a Green TD pass to Cam Louder and a 20-yard scoring run from Joe Linkletter in the second half to put things away.

“We just need to be more physical,” White said. “They moved us around, and they thumped hard. We just sat and took it. We have to be able to hit back, and we better figure that out pretty quickly.”

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