HERMON, Maine — The Old Town Coyotes used size along the line of scrimmage, speed and strength in the backfield and a chip on their collective shoulder to roll to a 43-0 Class C North football victory over previously unbeaten Hermon at Pottle Field on Friday night.
Senior halfback T.J. Crawford led the way with 233 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 12 first-half carries as coach Lance Cowan’s club built a 36-0 intermission lead en route to its second win in three games.
Fullback Ethan Stoddard added 93 yards and a touchdown on nine rushes as Old Town spoiled Hermon’s homecoming by amassing all 389 of its total yards on the ground and averaging 12.2 yards per carry along the way.
The Coyotes’ running backs found plenty of running room behind their offensive line of seniors Randy Webber and Josh Chinn, junior Jacob St. Louis and sophomores Eric Lyford and Jarred Spencer — a front that averaging 244 pounds per man was much bigger than Hermon’s counterparts on defense.
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Old Town’s offensive effort was in stark contrast to a week earlier, when the Coyotes fell to Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston 36-14 after trailing 36-0.
“Last week we felt we didn’t come out the way we wanted to, and tonight all it started with the energy up front and the physical play we that we lacked last week,” said Cowan. “That was our focus all week, to play physical.
“We’ve got to get after it up front, fly around and play physical and that’s what we did tonight.”
Crawford, who began the night with more than 300 rushing yards in two games, scored on runs of 14, 41 and 32 yards in the first quarter alone as Old Town scored 30 unanswered points, then added a 65-yard sprint for the lone touchdown of the second period.
“I think I broke three tackles the whole night, maybe,” said Crawford. “The line played fabulous. They did their jobs, they did their assignments and they executed like they practiced all week.”
Stoddard added a 56-yard scoring run in the first quarter for the Coyotes.
Old Town’s offense was complemented by aggressive defense that limited Hermon’s spread offense to 178 total yards, just 32 coming on the ground.
Hermon senior quarterback Connor Magliozzi completed 12 of 30 passes for 142 yards with two interceptions, one each by Ryan Hoogterp and freshman Travis Spell.
“The last two weeks we got beat pretty badly in the pass game so we worked on pass coverage all week,” said Cowan. “We knew our outside linebackers had to cover some pretty good receivers. We were pretty confident with our defensive backs, but it was really that linebacker play we were concerned about and they responded tonight.”
Hermon’s best scoring threat came midway through the second half when the 2-1 Hawks drove from their 25 to the Old Town 1 aided by passes of 44, 12 and 19 yards from Magliozzi to Jordan Bishop.
But when Magliozzi tried to reach the ball over the goal line on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on the first play of the fourth quarter, the ball was knocked loose and Spell returned the fumble recovery 100 yards for the game’s final touchdown.
“Our loss to Oceanside brought a bad taste, a bitterness to the whole team,” said Crawford. “We were really down about it, and at Saturday practice we said, ‘Let’s go, this is a new week and a new team.’
‘Then we had a great week of practice and really capitalized.”