CUMBERLAND — Last year, Kennebunk used a two-headed monster at quarterback and running back in its option offense to beat Greely 42-14. A year later, the Rangers used the same attack to down the Rams on Thursday night.

Quarterback Matt Pisini and running back Sam Peck were effective together on option plays, getting enough yards when they needed to in a 22-12 victory in a Western Class B football game at Glenn A. Hutchins Field.

“Matt and Sam are very explosive, so we’re very fortunate to have them,” said Greely head coach David Higgins. “They just make things happen a lot of times.”

Pisini ran, pitched, and threw the Rangers (4-1) to 209 yards of total offense in the first half, including 119 yards through the air and another 28 on the ground. Peck ran for 50 yards on four carries in the half.

Greely drove deep into Kennebunk (1-4) territory on its opening drive, as it moved 40 yards from its own 46 to the Rams’ 14-yard line. But the Rangers were stuffed on fourth-and-one to turn the ball over on downs.

That, however, was the last time Kennebunk was able to get a stop on a fourth-down conversion, as Greely went 3-for-3 in those situations the rest of the way.

Pisini did just that on the next Greely drive, as he kept the ball himself on fourth-and-two for a first down, then two plays later hit Andrew Verrill for a 34-yard touchdown pass for the game’s first score.

Kennebunk got another stop on Greely’s next drive, forcing Pisini to pass in long-yardage situations before punting for the first time. But the Rams turned the ball over two plays later on a bad handoff. Peck ran in from four yards out three plays later to put the Rangers up 14-0.

The Rams offense made an appearance on the ensuing drive, as Donovan Connor found Liam Studley in the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass to slice the lead to 14-6 with 40 seconds left in the half.

The Rams were due to get the ball back to start the second half, so the late score looked as if it might get the momentum going Kennebunk’s way. But Pisini and the Rangers didn’t go into halftime quietly. Pisini ran for 25 yards on a keeper before going out of bounds on Greely’s first play after the kickoff, and after a run for no gain followed by Higgins using his final timeout, Pisini hit Nick Dubois for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 16.9 seconds left.

“He made a good play, and we didn’t react well,” Kennebunk head coach Joe Rafferty said of Pisini’s deep touchdown pass. “It hurts to give up a score right before the half like that. It’s like a dagger in the heart.”

“First half I thought we played very well as a team. Especially coming back that last drive at the end of the half; that was really nice,” said Higgins.

That touchdown proved to be costly, as Kennebunk was able to shut out the Rangers offense in the second half, including forcing a pair of turnovers.

But the Rams offense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain in the third quarter, as their only first down came on a facemask penalty by Greely.

And while the Rangers didn’t score, they did eat up lots of time that kept the Kennebunk offense on the sideline. Greely’s first drive of the second half lasted five minutes, thanks in part to a 19-yard screen pass from Pisini to Peck on third-and-19 that brought up a fourth-and-short ”“ which the Rangers converted. Peck ran for another first down and fourth-and-short four plays later to continue a drive that ended in a punt.

“I don’t think we played well on first down offensively, nor did we play well on third down defensively. Outside of that, they made a few more plays than we did,” said Rafferty. “Those types of things, that’s what’s hurt us.”

An interception by Studley with the Rangers driving made way for the Rams’ second touchdown drive. The eight-play drive was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Thomas Wildes that brought Kennebunk within 22-12 and made things interesting.

Greely went three-and-out and punted with 2:34 left. The Rams drove down to the Greely 32-yard line, but a fourth-down pass from Connor to Jake Boothby came up short with 40 seconds left.

“I’m pleased that we’re improving. We’re just not over the hump, obviously yet, and we just got to keep working,” said Rafferty.

—Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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