Monday, May 20, 2013
KITTERY - There was nothing easy about this one. Each inch was earned. Each yard gained met with pain.
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In a brutal, punishing game, Dirigo High used a late defensive play by linebacker Tyler Frost to turn back Traip Academy 12-6 before a huge crowd at Memorial Field.
Frost, who had to switch jerseys after his was shredded in the first half, stole the ball from Christian Monteambeau of Traip with about 1:30 remaining at the Dirigo 15 to seal it.
"Just an instinct thing," said Frost. "I saw the ball and figured, 'Why not go for it?' It was just there where I could get a grip on it."
Both teams have 5-1 records in the highly competitive Western Class C.
Traip brought in 10 portable sets of lights to play its Homecoming game at night. Normally the Rangers play home games on Saturday afternoons.
"This is a huge win for us," said Dirigo Coach Dave Crutchfield. "Traip's been talked up as being the big hard-hitting team in our league. We came in to see what they really had."
Neither team backed down. It was scoreless at the half as penalties hindered both offenses. Dirigo had five for 38 yards in the first half, Traip seven for 59.
The Cougars seemed to take control in the third quarter, moving in for the first score, a 3-yard pass from Brett Whittmore to Thomas Barnett. The snap was bobbled on the PAT kick and it was 6-0.
Traip couldn't get anything going until Corey Aldecoa broke loose on the first play of the fourth quarter.
With the Rangers facing a third-and-5 from their 14, Aldecoa (181 rushing yards on 25 carries) ran left, bounced off three tacklers and sprinted 86 yards for the tying touchdown. The PAT kick was blocked.
It stayed that way until Traip buckled. After an interception gave the Cougars the ball on Traip's 25, Dan Eddy of Traip forced a fumble on a sweep by Spencer Trenoweth. The ball rolled through the hands of two Traip defenders before Dirigo's Barnett recovered it at the 31. As the scrum was unraveling, a Traip player pushed a Dirigo player, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
Three plays later, Whittmore threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Trenoweth with 2:54 left. The conversion rush failed.
Traip wasn't done. Cam Cavanaugh returned the kickoff 38 yards and Dirigo was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, putting the ball on the Cougars' 22. Aldecoa ran twice for 11 yards, but on his second run he lost his helmet and had to leave when he was injured.
"I was thinking overtime before that," said Crutchfield.
On first down from just outside the 10, Traip was penalized five yards for illegal procedure. Then Frost made his game-saving play and the Cougars ran out the clock.
"It was extremely tough," said Frost. "They were nailing us. It was a fight to the end."
And a result, while disappointing, that Traip Coach Ron Ross said his team needed.
"Good win for them, great loss for us," said Ross. "We needed it. We needed to get punched in the mouth. We needed someone to come along and show us that we are in a league that is tougher than any other league in the state.
"And if you want to play football, you've got to play without mistakes and you've got to play under control. They came out and they put it to us today. And I'm glad it happened. These kids know what they've got to do next week and beyond."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: