Senior running back Cameron Hughes showed why he was a first team all-conference selection a year ago.
Hughes gained 148 yards on nine carries over the first 11:23 of the third period to spark four touchdown drives that enabled the Class B Brewer High School Witches to cruise to a 35-6 victory over Class A Bangor in the 110th meeting between the two rivals at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.
It was Brewer’s 27th win in the series. Bangor has 75 wins and there have been eight ties.
Hughes was virtually unstoppable.
His combination of speed, intelligent cuts and powerful leg drive were impressive as he broke tackle after tackle.
His offensive line also dominated the line of scrimmage against a youthful Bangor team that returned just one fulltime starter off last year’s 7-3 team and has 35 freshmen and sophomores.
He finished with 183 yards on 21 carries.
Hughes credited the offensive line with playing a major role in his success.
“They came out inspired in the second half,” Hughes said. “They made it easy for me.”
Quarterback Ryder Goodwin ran for 51 yards on six carries and completed five of seven passes for 74 yards. Ethan Nadeau caught three passes for 58 yards.
Brewer took an 8-0 lead into halftime but came out and scored on its first four possessions of the third period, with the third one coming after a fumble recovery off a Bangor kickoff return.
Hughes scored on a 9-yard run to make it 14-0, senior Goodwin ran in from 5 yards out to extend it to 21-0 and Hughes capped the spurt with touchdown runs of 28 and 1-yard.
Brewer coach Scott Flagg said Bangor played hard and “threw everything at us” with their movement on defense, so they went on a quick count in the second half that limited Bangor’s movement and enabled his line to dominate the line of scrimmage.
Brewer also had a noticeable size advantage over the Rams.
Bangor coach Dave Morris said he thought his team played hard in every phase of the game.
“But field position hurt us in the second half. And we didn’t tackle very well,” Morris said.
He said it is tough to stop a team with the offensive weapons Brewer has if you give them a short field.
“And Hughes is a great back. We didn’t wrap him up,” he said.
A fumbled Bangor exchange on the game’s first play from scrimmage was recovered by Brewer’s Titus Philbrick and the Witches cashed in for the only points in the first half.
Brewer took over at the Bangor 34 yard line but, after an 11-yard run by Hughes, the Rams’ defense threw Brewer for consecutive losses that left the Witches in a third-and-22 predicament.
But Goodwin hooked up with Hughes for an 11-yard completion to put them into a fourth-and-11 situation and he then floated a 16-yard pass to Nadeau over the middle to extend the drive.
Nadeau snared the pass at knee level.
Hughes finished off the drive with a 4-yard run with 8:43 left in the quarter.
Pivotal play: Brewer had the ball deep in Bangor territory on the first drive of the third period but three successive penalties put them in a second-and-goal situation at the Bangor 24 yard line.
Hughes rattled off a 15-yard scamper and then scored on a 9-yard run to give the Witches a 14-0 lead.
The Witches never looked back.
Big takeaways: The Witches have a gem in Hughes, and Goodwin is also a formidable weapon. The Brewer offensive line is also impressive.
Bangor will just have to stay patient and improve every week.
They have good young players like quarterback Jack Schuck but they will be overmatched against good teams as they gain experience.
Schuck threw a 13-yard TD pass to Connor Boone with 8.6 seconds left in the game.
Looking ahead: Bangor goes to Lewiston next Friday and Brewer travels to Skowhegan.