Fryeburg’s Dawson Jones tackles Lisbon’s Robbie Dick after the Greyhound intercepted a pass intended for Jones. (Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal)

LISBON — Fryeburg Academy’s defense found itself pushed back to the shadow of its own end zone for much of Saturday’s season opener at Lisbon.

If it wasn’t a strategic move, perhaps it was out of convenience because it gave the Raiders more time to add bricks and mortar to the goal line.

Bryce Micklon rushed for 98 yards and both Fryeburg touchdowns on a dozen carries and the Raider defense buckled down when it counted to defeat Lisbon, 14-6, at a cool and windy Thompson Field.

“We lost a lot of great players last year but the new guys are really stepping it up,” Fryeburg senior QB/DB Calvin Southwick said. “We’ve got veterans that are also stepping it up. We’ve got guys playing their roles. Execution is key.”

Lisbon’s hopes suffered a serious blow little more than four minutes into the game when starting senior quarterback Seth Leeman was injured making a tackle on defense. He did not return to the game due to a head injury.

Sophomore Nick Ferrence stepped in at quarterback and performed well, completing 3-of-5 passes on Lisbon’s lone scoring drive, including a 10-yard strike to Riley Quatrano on fourth down and nine.

“He made some great throws on that drive,” Lisbon coach Chris Kates said. “I think for a 15-year-old, he did everything you could expect him to do.”

“Obviously, (Lisbon) losing their quarterback affects them. But, yeah, our defense was great today,” Fryeburg coach David Turner said. “Offensively, we were making too many mistakes early on and they were able to bail us out and keep us in it.”

Led by Colin Houle, Daytona McIver, Nick Blair (sack) and Hunter Mason, Lisbon’s defense foiled Fryeburg’s offensive

It took several Lisbon Greynounds to bring down Fryeburg’s Calvin Shouthwick every time he touched the ball Saturday afternoon. (Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal)

expectations in the first half by limiting the Raiders to 81 total yards. Mason had a fumble recovery and a blocked punt in the first quarter that tilted field position in the Greyhounds’ favor for the first quarter-and-a-half. Five of Lisbon’s first seven possession started in Raider territory.

Blair’s third-down sack forced Fryeburg to punt out of its end zone and the Greyhounds started their scoring drive at the Raider 36.

Ferrence’s 15-yard completion to Robbie Dick on third down and his fourth-down connection to a leaping Quatrano extended the drive before Blair took it in from the 1-yard-line. Lisbon tried for two, but Quatrano was out of bounds when he caught Ferrence’s pass after it deflected off of a fellow Greyhound to keep it 6-0 with 6:04 remaining in the half.

Fryeburg marched to Lisbon’s 24 on its ensuing drive but Justin Le’s sack and Dick’s interception in front of the goal line with time winding down on the following play kept the Raiders off the board for the half.

The Raiders burned over seven minutes on a dozen plays on their first scoring drive. Southwick converted a pair of third downs with his legs on the 74-yard march, but the key play was his 14-yard completion to Eli Mahan on fourth-and-six from Lisbon’s 27.

“We ran all hitch (patterns) and I was looking at the matchups,” Southwick said. “When you’ve got a massive 6-foot-5 tight end like that, you’ve just got to find an opening. Take what they give you.”

“Our quarterback position has been sort of unsettled,” Turner said. “(Southwick) was originally our ‘three’ back, but then suddenly he had to become our quarterback. So this is all new to him. He’s getting better every single week and he’s becoming more confident. He’s a tough kid. The great thing about him is in crunch time he seems to make plays, and he did there. That was big to keep that drive going.”

Four plays later, Micklon ran it in from the 2 and Eddie Thurston converted the kick to give Fryeburg a 7-6 lead with 12 seconds left in the third.

“I think they wore us down a little bit up front,” Kates said. “Some of the stops that we were making earlier in the game, we just didn’t quite have it in us at the end there. We’ve got some stuff to clean up, but we’ll be all right.”

A short kick allowed the Greyhounds to start their next possession at Fryeburg’s 48 and, with the help of a too-many-men penalty on the Raiders and Ferrence’s 24-yard completion to Dick, they appeared poised to answer with first-and-goal at the Raider 6.

But a three-yard loss on first down, an incompletion on second down and sack for a nine-yard loss by Charlie Stokes on third down left the Greyhounds in a fourth-and-goal hole at the 18. Ferrence’s pass fell incomplete and the Greyhounds never got any closer.

Micklon tore away from a pair of Lisbon defenders trying to strip the ball on a 44-yard touchdown run that made it 14-6 with 1:52 remaining. Interceptions by Isaak McKenney and Job Fox clinched the win for the Raiders, who were happy to avenge a 36-14 loss to Lisbon in last year’s season opener. That turned out to be their only loss en route to the Class C South title.

“We came down here with that on our back,” Southwick said. “For me, I just wanted to take that one back.”

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