WINDHAM – Liam Sullivan took the handoff and rumbled off tackle.
Here it was, early in the third quarter, and the Windham senior already had run for 152 yards and three touchdowns. One more score, it seemed certain, and the fight would go out of visiting Bangor.
“That running back was tough,” said Bangor junior defensive end Jordan Ayer. “He didn’t like to go down.”
Sullivan’s struggle for extra yardage provided the opening Ayer needed. He reached in, stripped the football and carried it 37 yards in the opposite direction before colliding with a teammate just before the end zone.
That turnover shifted momentum to Bangor and the Rams went on to score three unanswered touchdowns for a 27-21 Class A East football victory Friday night.
“It almost looked like whichever team ended up with the ball last was going to win the game,” said Bangor Coach Mark Hackett. “Emotion, excitement, that’s high school football.”
Both teams are 3-2.
Logan Lanham ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns and Dane Johnson for 108 yards and two more scores for Bangor, which trailed 21-13 entering the fourth quarter.
The Rams took the lead for good on a 44-yard run by Johnson, who had broken a 57-yarder for a score on the game’s second play from scrimmage. Not one of Bangor’s three second-half scoring drives started from beyond midfield.
The first required only three yards, following Ayer’s forced fumble and return.
The second lasted 32 yards following a low Windham snap that skittered between the legs of punter Josh Dugas. Lanham ran the final five yards for the touchdown, and a two-point conversion pass attempt failed, leaving Windham with a slim 21-19 lead in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.
Windham’s next drive stalled with help from two penalties, and a high snap led to a short Dugas punt.
Bangor took over at the Eagles 48 and needed only two plays, the second a toss sweep to Johnson who cut upfield, broke a tackle and scored what proved to be the winning touchdown with 8:36 remaining.
This time, Bangor quarterback Xavier Lewis connected with tight end Nick Ashey for the successful two-point conversion and a 27-21 lead.
The Eagles responded with a long drive highlighted by a 34-yard pass to Zach Davis by sophomore quarterback Tyler Johnson, his fifth completion in five attempts. But Windham bogged down inside the 10, and Lewis tipped away a pass in the end zone intended for Davis on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
The Eagles got the ball back one more time, but Johnson’s fourth-down heave from near midfield fell incomplete and Bangor was able to run out the clock.
“Football is a humbling sport,” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins. “A lot of the mistakes that happened (Friday night), they happened because we were kind of coasting. The game is 48 minutes for a reason, and you’ve got to play 48 minutes.”
Sullivan finished with 179 yards on 26 carries for Windham. He scored on runs of six, 79 and two yards. Dugas was a perfect 3-for-3 on PAT kicks. Johnson was 7-of-10 passing for 74 yards.
“We had some kids who really played well,” Perkins said.
“We battled through a lot of penalties, a lot of adversity,” said Lewis, who saw his own pass tipped and intercepted in the end zone to cut short Bangor’s final drive of the first half, one of two early ventures into the red zone that proved fruitless. “I never had that feeling once that we were going to lose. We created our own energy on the road and came out with the win.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: