OLD ORCHARD BEACH – It was a change of momentum that signaled a changing of the guard in this rivalry that returned to its Class D roots.
After giving up two touchdown runs by Traip fullback Matt Graham in just over three minutes, host Old Orchard Beach High used Tim Ellis’ block of a Traip punt to get recharged.
The Gulls scored two plays later and dominated the rest of the way for a 34-13 win Friday night.
“With us up 13-0, the old OOB of last year or the year before, they would have folded and we would have kept the pedal on the metal but we didn’t do that this year,” Traip Coach Ron Ross said. “They were able to overcome that.”
In a span of a season, Old Orchard Beach has become the veteran club with resiliency.
“They came out and punched us right in the mouth early,” OOB Coach Dean Plante said. “All the credit in the world to Ron and his staff: they had their kids ready.”
Traip started six freshmen. For the Rangers, 2013 is a changing of the guard, the tackle, the ends, etc.
Still it looked as if Traip was going to dominate when Graham busted a 63-yard run on the game’s second play from scrimmage, OOB star Joe Gildard fumbled on the Gulls’ second play, and three plays later Graham rumbled 25 yards for another score and a 13-0 lead.
In four carries, Graham had 99 rushing yards.
On Traip’s next possession, the Gulls began to come alive, throwing sophomore back Anthony Sowell for a 6-yard loss and sacking quarterback Chris Czahor for a loss of 10.
On fourth-and-12, Ellis came free and blocked Czahor’s punt, recovering it at Traip’s 22.
“We overloaded that left side, there was no one left, I went right between the outside seal and the tackle and saw a lane and put my hands up and blocked it,” Ellis said. “The momentum shifted right there. I think I got my team riled up.”
First Gildard gained 11 yards, then Hunter Boutot did the same to score for the Gulls with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
“After that punt block we held our heads high and rolled right through,” Boutot said. “We know we can’t give up. We know we can never stop. We just ran them into the ground. We have a lot more bodies than them.”
Traip dressed 19 players, eight freshmen. Old Orchard has 23 juniors and seniors on its 34-man roster.
The Gulls started to gain control on a 12-play, 51-yard scoring drive. It got started with a third-and-17 conversion with quarterback Bryan Roberts rolling left and connecting with Tyler Scott for 20 yards. Gildard finished it, taking a little swing pass from Roberts and juking his way through multiple Rangers for a 9-yard score.
The second half was all OOB, as it put up touchdowns in multiple ways and outgained Traip 162-29 (226-179 for the game). The Gulls’ defense adjusted to Graham’s preferred run off right guard Nick Ovington. He finished with 137 yards on 19 carries.
Roberts (4 of 8, 66 yards) threw his second touchdown of the game, a 20-yarder into the left corner to Scott. Gildard (10 carries, 54 yards) showed his cutback ability and acceleration on a 33-yard sprint. Roberts finished the scoring on a 32-yard QB sneak through an exhausted Traip defense.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: