PARIS — Grant Hartley connected with CJ Jipson for touchdown on the final play of the game to give Edward Little a 32-28 victory over Oxford Hills/Buckfield at Gouin Athletic Complex on Friday night.
“I just tried to go to my best receiver, trying to get him the ball,” Hartley said. “I was just trying to take a deep breath, stay calm, stay poised poised, and I had a ton of confidence in CJ.”
Jipson was blanketed by defender, so Hartley’s throw had to be on the money.
And it was.
Jipson reeled the 22-yard toss in at the back of the end zone and kept his feet in bounds to give the Red Eddies a crucial Class A North win
“The kid was there. I just tried to catching the ball and I caught it and i looked down and saw the line,” Jipson said. “They had great coverage, it was just a perfect ball from Grant.”
The drive started with a little more than two minutes to play, 87 yards away from the end zone.
“The key to the win was us staying together,” EL coach Dave Sterling said.
The final possession began with an incomplete pass. Then Hartley found Jipson for gains of 10 and 20 yards.
After another in completion and a sack that lost 9 yards, Hartley and Jipson hooked up for gains of 14 and 10 more yards. Jipson finished with eight catches for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Seven of those receptions came in the second half, and four were on the game-winning drive.
As he was hit, Hartley threw a short pass to Tyler Blanchard, who spun to avoid a tackle and ran up the sidelines for 15 yards.
That put the ball at the Oxford Hills 27-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play.
A holding penalty pushed the Eddies back 10 yards, and a pass interference call on the Vikings moved the ball to the 22 with two seconds left.
Edward Little’s passing game produced two two quick TDs and an early 12-0 lead.
But Oxford Hills bounced back.
The Vikings scored three straight touchdowns to take a 21-12 lead early in the third quarter. Dawson Stevens had two of those scores on 61- and 68-yard runs. He finished with 183 yards on 18 carries.
Two long TD passes from Hartley to Jipson in the third quarter sandwiched a 1-yard TD run by Vikings quarterback Connor Truman.
Along with Stevens’ 183 yards, Ryland VanDecker ran for 111 yards, as Oxford Hills ran for 366 yards.
Edward Little finally stalled the Vikings’ running game late in the fourth quarter, forcing two punts
The win improves the Eddies to 2-1 and keep in race for a home playoff game.
“We knew we needed to get his win,” Hartley said. “We didn’t want to go two straight losses. We didn’t want to lose that momentum that we had from week one. So this was a big win in our books.”