THE BATH MIDDLE SCHOOL football team took on Brunswick Saturday in league semifinal action. Clockwise from the top left, Bath defenders Taylor Shaw (31) and Tristan Andrew try to slow down Brunswick runner Hunter Garrett (14); Bath’s Dillion Havener (21) looks to elude a Brunswick tackler; and Brunswick’s Jackson Gordon (11) just misses snaring this swing pass as Brunswick and Bath linemen look on. Bath won 24-2 and went on to face Auburn Monday night.

THE BATH MIDDLE SCHOOL football team took on Brunswick Saturday in league semifinal action. Clockwise from the top left, Bath defenders Taylor Shaw (31) and Tristan Andrew try to slow down Brunswick runner Hunter Garrett (14); Bath’s Dillion Havener (21) looks to elude a Brunswick tackler; and Brunswick’s Jackson Gordon (11) just misses snaring this swing pass as Brunswick and Bath linemen look on. Bath won 24-2 and went on to face Auburn Monday night.

BRUNSWICK

 

 

Last season, the Bath Middle School football team went through the regular season and playoffs undefeated, advancing to the Midcoast Middle School Football League Championship against rival Brunswick.

The Destroyers lost the title game, coming up short in their bid to capture their first league title.

 

 

On Monday, undefeated Bath had another shot, but trailed Auburn 12-8 heading to the fourth quarter at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Field. But, this time around the Destroyers refused to be denied, scoring 20 points in the final eight minutes for a 28-12 victory and the first league championship for Ron Nygaard’s squad.

The Destroyers didn’t trail all season, but the Falcons took the lead twice in this game, forcing Bath to play from behind.

“This is the first time we have been down all season long, and twice this game, but from August 18th from when we started, these kids were determined to win this thing, and no matter who we played, we knew it would take four quarters,” said Nygaard, whose squad finished at 10-0.

Falcons lead

On the first play from scrimmage, Bath coughed up the ball, with Auburn’s CJ Jipson recovering to give the

Jipson hooked up with tight end Ben Harris for an 18-yard gain, and running back Tyler Blanchard scored two plays later for a 6-0 Auburn lead.

“I knew Auburn was going to come, they’re tough and fast, and though we came in undefeated, we knew that we had to play football,” said Nygaard.

Bath had a touchdown waved off midway through the second quarter on an illegal formation penalty and turned the ball over on downs at the A-8.

The Falcons struggled to hold onto the ball on their ensuing series, fumbling three consecutive times. On the third miscue, Bath’s Taylor Shaw recovered at the A-7. Two plays later, the Destroyers found the endzone on a Connor Upham-to-Dillion Havener 9-yard pass to tie the game. Havener fought his way into the endzone for the 2- point conversion, giving Bath an 8-6 lead at the half.

Auburn, held to just 34 yards of offense in the first half, found some rhythm on its first drive of the second half, marching 52 yards on five plays for a 12-8 lead. Jipson completed two passes on the go-ahead drive — a 32- yard strike to Caelan Pelletier and a 20-yard hookup with Blanchard — to move the ball to the B-3. Jipson scored on a 3-yard run.

The game slipped into the fourth quarter on the chilly night, with Bath beginning a drive on the A-48. Upham (5- for-8, 49 yards) threw to Damon Osmond for a 21-yard gain to the A-28, and Havener found a gap for a 17-yard run and a first down at the A-4. Upham’s 4-yard TD run gave Bath a 14-12 lead with 4:22 remaining.

“We made some mistakes, but they hang in there and fight to the end. I am proud of these kids,” said Nygaard, who watched Raz Baltazar recover an Auburn fumble on the ensuing kickoff.

Auburn stayed alive when Mason Brushwein intercepted an Upham fourth-down pass, but Graden Peterson sacked Jipson on Auburn’s next play from scrimmage, forcing a fumble, with Seth Moore recovering at the A-1. Upham scored his second touchdown moments later and ran in the 2-point conversion for a 22-12 lead.

Behind Jipson (8-for-15, 123 yards, two interceptions), Auburn answered with a quick drive to the B-2. But, Tyler York stepped in front of a Jipson pass and sprinted 99 yards for a game-clinching touchdown with 35-seconds remaining.

Havener led the Bath offense with 78 yards rushing on 16 carries, while Osmond hauled in three Upham passes for 36 yards. On defense, Wayne McMann had a teamhigh six tackles, with Osmond adding an interception as the Destroyers forced five Auburn turnovers.

Bath held a 151-150 total yardage advantage and a 9-7 edge in first downs.

Semifinals

At the Topsham Fairgrounds on Friday, Auburn advanced to the title game with an 8-0 victory over Mt. Ararat, while Bath got by Brunswick 24-2 Saturday to move on.

In the Bath win, Upham, Havener and Osmond each scored a touchdown, while the Bath offensive line of Diego Estrada, McMann, Tait Nygaard, Baltazar and Kody McKenzie opened up holes as Moore rushed for over 100 yards.


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