BIDDEFORD — Friday night’s was the 100th regular-season game between rivals Thornton Academy and Biddeford. For the first time, it was played under the lights at Waterhouse Field. And under a full moon.

So what else would you expect, except one of the best high school football games of the season?

Biddeford defeated Thornton Academy for the first time since 2005, getting three touchdown passes from Tyler Audie and a defensive stand in the final seconds to secure a 27-22 victory.

“That was crazy,” said Biddeford fullback Nick Gagne. “It was probably one of the best games I’ve ever played. And it was awesome to be part of it.”

The victory, in front of about 4,000 fans, lifted surprising Biddeford to 7-1, most likely clinching a home-field berth in next weekend’s Western Class A quarterfinals. Thornton, which leads the all-time series 52-39-9, dropped to 6-2 and must wait to see where it will travel.

“They made a few more plays than we did,” said Trojans Coach Kevin Kezal. “And penalties killed us. You can’t give a quality team like Biddeford nearly 100 yards of free offense.”

The Trojans actually were penalized for 65 yards, but one of them wiped out an interception that would have given Thornton the ball at the Biddeford 1.

Penalties aside, this one did come down to making plays.

“You’ve got to make plays at times,” said Scott Descoteaux, the Biddeford coach celebrating his first win over Thornton. “And we made the very last one. And that was the difference.”

Biddeford, behind Audie’s overall play, the tough inside running of Gagne (118 yards) and a defense that intercepted Josh Woodward three times, led 15-8 entering what would become a wild fourth quarter.

Just three plays into the fourth, the Tigers extended the lead to 21-8, Audie throwing an 8-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Gagne in the left flat.

That’s when the Trojans struck back. Quickly.

They went 77 yards in five plays – Corbett Smith gaining 15 yards on a sweep, Woodward picking up 56 on two rushes — before Dmitri Skinsacos scored from the 3. The PAT kick was blocked, keeping it 21-14.

The Trojans then forced a punt that Smith returned 90 yards for a touchdown. He froze two Biddeford players early, then broke to the left sideline and was gone. Smith then caught the 2-point conversion pass from Woodward and it was 22-21 Thornton with 6:39 remaining.

After the teams exchanged punts, Biddeford took over on Thornton’s 37 with 3:58 remaining. On first down at the 13, Audie lofted a high pass to the left corner of the end zone that D.J. Shannon caught, then dragged both feet in-bounds for a touchdown that made it 27-22 with 2:12 left.

“I knew I was going to have to make an over-the-shoulder catch, and I knew it was going to be close, that I would have to get my feet in,” said Shannon, who missed three weeks with a broken nose. “This one means a lot, especially being my senior year. But it means a lot to the whole team.”

Thornton came back strong, Woodward hitting James Ek for 23 yards, then converting two fourth-down plays. But on fourth-and-7 from the Biddeford 20, Woodward’s final pass, to Skinsacos in the end zone, was broken up by Dan Tanguay and Biddeford held on.

“Momentum management is part of the game,” said Biddeford’s Descoteaux. “It you can’t respond (when the other team grabs momentum), you’re not going to win a lot of games.”

And this one meant a lot. Thornton won the last five games between the schools, including a playoff game in 2007.

“It’s tremendous,” said Audie, who was 12-of-18 passing for 188 yards. “We came in as an underdog but we knew we could beat them. It was just a great game.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]