BATH  — The writing seemed to be on the wall when Medomak Valley High School running back Drew Severson returned after being checked over inside the back of an ambulance after sustaining what appeared to be a game-ending ankle injury midway through the third quarter.

Severson’s fourth touchdown of the game with 1:03 remaining gave the visiting Panthers a 26-22 lead over Morse, which had done little offensively in the second half.

That is when senior quarterback Corey Larmon and junior running back Mason Savary took over, as the duo drove the Shipbuilders 55 yards, with Larmon plowing into the end zone with 6.4-seconds remaining for a thrilling 29-26 Morse victory. 

Larmon, who was 0-for-3 passing until a 15-yard completion to Savary moved Morse to the Medomak Valley (2-2) 6-yard line with 18 seconds left, had the key run of the drive, avoiding a sure sack by scrambling out of danger for 24 yards. Larmon, who took over the signal-calling after sophomore starter Josh ter Mors was injured against Lake Region, stepped up when he was needed on Friday. 

“Corey is a tough kid, and we have all the confidence in him,” said Morse coach Jason Darling. “When Josh went down, he stepped up in an afternoon of practice.

“We have resilient kids over here. The season hasn’t started out the way we wanted, but we knew that we had great kids with a lot of heart. I love these kids so much. They are a fun bunch to go to work with. They deserve this.”

Of the scramble that led to the winning score, Larmon said, “I felt pressure on my back side, and I felt the pressure. I just ducked and was able to get away and was able to get out of bounds.”

First half offense

Both offenses controlled the first half as the Shipbuilders (1-3) and Panthers took turns driving down the field and scoring. 

Morse began the contest with a 67-yard drive, with Savary scoring on a 12-yard run. Gabe Aucoin, who had a 36-yard burst on the drive, punched in the 2-point conversion for a quick 8-0 lead on Homecoming night. 

Medomak Valley answered with a 62-yard march, finished off by Severson’s 34-yard run to the end zone. The Shipbuilders stopped the conversion run short of the goal line to maintain an 8-6 lead. 

Aucoin (16 rushes, 117 yards, TD) scored to close a 57-yard Morse drive. Asa Hodgdon’s point-after kick made for a 15-6 game with 3:44 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers again struck back quickly, going 58-yards on six plays, capped by a Severson 5-yard run and conversion run, drawing Medomak to 15-14 after 12 minutes. 

Morse scored on its third straight possession as Savary hit paydirt on a 3-yard TD run, and Medomak Valley answered as Severson, who rushed for 115 yards on 12 carries in the first half, scored from the Mo-5.

Morse looked to extend its 22-20 lead late in the first half, but a fumble was recovered by Medomak Valley at its 4-yard line. 

The Panthers opened the second half with a near nine-minute drive. But a 15-yard chop-block penalty stalled things as Morse held on downs. 

Neither team did much from there, that is until the Panthers took over on their 27-yard line with 7:21 remaining. 

Severson jogged back into the huddle, and his first run netted 23 yards. He ran seven times on the drive, finally diving into the end zone for a 26-22 lead. 

“He is tough as nails,” said Darling of Severson, who finished with 189 yards on 26 carries. (Medomak Valley) is like us. When one guy goes down, they have a bunch of inexperienced kids who have to come in and do the job.”

Savary admitted that his team was down after falling behind for the first time. However, he saw a bunch of leaders come together.   

“The feeling on the field was negative, but we had to find leaders and step up. We did that,” said Savary, who led Morse with 147 rushing yards on 15 carries and a pair of touchdowns. “This is a huge win for us and a turning point.”

“I almost threw a pick, and I was down on myself. I had a short memory and I knew that I needed to get the job done,” added Larmon. 

“Our kids didn’t put their heads down when Medomak scored,” Darling said. “We just had a bunch of kids step up.”

Ty Knowlton led the Morse defense with 16 tackles, while Aucoin finished with 12. Jacob Mowry added a sack. 

Morse is slated to visit Fryeburg Academy this upcoming Saturday at 1:30 p.m. 

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