HAMPDEN, Maine — Elijah Joyce struck both early and late in the game Friday night as Mount Desert Island’s rushing attack ground down Hampden Academy 22-0 in a crossover high school football battle at the Weatherbee Complex.

Joyce, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior running back, rushed for 314 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries in helping Mark Arnold earn his first victory as MDI’s head football coach.

Joyce scored twice in the first quarter for the Class C Trojans, and after Hampden stiffened defensively during the middle two periods he put the game away by rushing for all 74 yards during a six-play, fourth-quarter drive, including a 36-yard scoring run with 8:25 left in the contest.

Joyce, who had rushed for 128 yards in MDI’s season-opening loss at Oceanside of Rockland, then added the two-point conversion rush for the game’s final points.

MDI finished the night with 392 total yards, 378 via the rush. Ethan Harkins added 40 yards on six carries.

While the Trojans flourished on the ground, Class B Hampden struggled to move the ball. The Broncos managed only 12 rushing yards and 68 total yards.

Junior quarterback Will Hodgdon completed 10 of 20 passes for 56 yards with two interceptions for coach Shane Rogers’ club.

Hampden falls to 0-2 despite allowing an average of just 19 points per game in its losses to MDI and Westbrook.

MDI scored on its first two possessions of the game to build a 14-0 halftime lead.

Joyce was the big early offensive weapon for the Trojans, rushing for 99 yards and two touchdowns on seven first-quarter carries.

MDI required only four plays to march 69 yards with its first possession. Joyce found success running behind right tackle Gilbert Isaacs, right guard Adam Burdzel and center Samuel Hoff for a 30-yard gain inside Hampden territory and then a 25-yard romp to the end zone on the next play to give MDI the lead just 3:11 into the contest.

Two illegal procedure penalties pushed the Trojans back on their extra-point try before a pass for two points failed and MDI settled for a 6-0 advantage.

The MDI defense forced a second straight three-and-out by the Hampden offense, leading to an eight-play, 58-yard drive capped off by Joyce’s 8-yard scoring run with 3:01 left in the opening quarter.

A 11-yard pass from junior quarterback Baylor Landsman to Hunter Gray on third-and-4 from the Hampden 20 kept the drive alive, and Joyce contributed 40 rushing yards on four carries.

Hampden’s defense was much more effective against Joyce and the MDI ground game in the second quarter, limiting him to a more manageable 62 yards on 12 carries and preventing the Trojans from building a bigger lead.

MDI did threaten late in the period, driving from its 26 to the Hampden 6 before Joyce fumbled and the Broncos’ Kent Oliver recovered in the end zone for a touchback with 7.8 seconds left before intermission.

MDI took the second-half kickoff and went on a 15-play march that consumed the first 8 minutes, 22 seconds of the third quarter before Hampden’s defense forced a fourth-down pass incompletion from the Broncos’ 18-yard line.

Hampden then caught a break as MDI muffed a punt and the Broncos’ Michael O’Roak recovered at the Trojans’ 43 with 1:07 left in the third quarter.

Hodgdon passed to Kory Winch for a 14-yard gain inside the MDI 30, but the threat ended when Trojans’ sophomore Sam Mitchell came up big in one-on-one defensive coverage and knocked away a fourth-and-6 pass by Hodgdon that was intended for Mikey Ray inside the 15-yard-line.

MDI then went back to the offensive basics — handing the ball to Joyce — and the Trojans consumed the next 3:35 of the clock running behind Gilbert Isaacs, Burdzel, Hoff, left guard Archer Hill and left tackle Porter Isaacs on his way to the game-clinching insurance touchdown.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...