DIXFIELD — The Dirigo football team made adjustments in the second half and used a dominating defense and a power offense Friday night in a Class D football game against Traip at Harlow Park.
Quarterback Luke Lueders threw a touchdown pass and rushed for one as the Cougars came together in a 26-6 triumph.
Lueders returned the second-half kickoff into Traip territory and then directed a drive that ended with a 12-yard strike to Hunter White for a touchdown. Lueders (7-of-13 for 99 yards, TD) rolled right and found White just inside the right pylon. Alex Gorham rushed the conversion in for a 14-6 lead.
The 2-hour, 25-minute game was prolonged by a combined 19 penalties for more than 155 yards.
“One of the coaches suggested during halftime that we needed to run some plays and get better positioning,” Dirigo coach Jim Hersom said. “I think in the second half we were able to wear them down by running behind our offensive line.”
That line includes Dalton Berry, Jack Lavonga, Bryce Whittemore, Quinten Penley and center John Wainwright.
Dirigo (3-2) received a break when Lueders interceted Traip quarterback Angelo Succi, who threw while he was falling. But the Cougars failed to capitalize. Traip’s Shelton Thomas recovered a fumble in mid-air and returned it into Dirigo territory.
Traip (1-4) was unable to gain positive yardage with Succi (4-of-14 for 68 yards) and Evan Porter (51 yards, 10 carries). The Rangers were held without a first down in the second half until the fourth quarter.
The Dirigo defense held Traip to 142 yards rushing in the game. This included two three-and-outs. Whittemore had a team-leading 11 tackles; Cooper Chiasson had eight tackles and a sack, Gorham finished with eight tackles. Sam Morse and Cam Turner both had sacks for the Cougars.
Gorham added a 2-yard TD run, on fourth down, and Lueders had a 1-yard TD in fourth quarter.
Dirigo scored on its initial possession when Chiasson (131 yards, 24 carries) followed the right side of the line for a 1-yard TD. Last week, Chiasson rushed for 156 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in a convincing 46-13 a win against Maranacook.
‘We knew our offensive line could beat Traip. Our running was on tonight, up the middle,” Gorham said. “We’ve been doing a lot of work, like staying a half-hour or more after practice.”
Gorham rushed for 62 yards, White caught 3 passes for 65 yards and Turner caught 3 for 34 yards.
“In the first half, we made some mistakes,” Lueders said. “We straightened things out at halftime. Our goal is to continue momentum, from last week.”