ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth/Sumner football team faced off against the junior varsity of one of Maine’s premier Class C football programs on Monday night and ended up on the short end of a 14-6 score.
“It was a defensive battle all the way,” said Ellsworth/Sumner coach Duane Crawford of the loss to the Foxcroft Academy Ponies.
Foxcroft took the first lead, scoring after a fumble recovery at the Ellsworth/Sumner 30-yard line.
That 6-0 lead stood up for the rest of the first half.
Ellsworth finally knotted the score late in the third period after backing the Ponies up to their own one-yard line.
With just seconds remaining in the quarter, Jake Poors recovered a Foxcroft fumble inside the one-yard line, and on the next possession, Matt Clark took the ball into the end zone for a 6-6 tie.
The Ponies finally scored the game-winner midway through the fourth period with a 30-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion.
“Offensively, both programs were outmatched by their respective defenses,” said Crawford.
“The Foxcroft team was very good and our offensive line had difficulty with their blocking assignments. At times we had opportunities, but penalties and miscues impeded drives.”
Crawford observed that Ellsworth/Sumner hadn’t really been challenged since its season opener against Washington Academy.
“I think going in the team thought it was going to be business as usual,” he said. “That, combined with a week of practice that was not as up tempo as it could have been, put us in a situation where we found ourselves in a dogfight and in the end we ran out of time.
“This was definitely a character-builder for us,” he added, “and, as with all our games, we came away with some things we can learn from. We find ourselves in a conundrum because some of the same players that played so well on defense struggled on offense.
“Offense is more of an art and with that you have a lot of intricacies that need to mesh to make it work. Defense is the science and so we can go in, and providing you don’t blow up the lab, you can apply your athleticism and usually come out in a pretty good spot. Needless to say we will be spending the next week in art class figuring out how to play as one unit on the offensive side of the ball.”