When Lisbon handed Foxcroft Academy its only loss of the season in the third week of the regular season, Caden Crocker played single-digit snaps.
On Saturday in the Class D state title game, the rematch was set with Crocker fully healthy, and he was the difference.
Lisbon High School controlled the middle of the game, but four early touchdowns from Foxcroft were enough to put away the Greyhounds 41-22 at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.
Foxcroft has now won back-to-back Class D football championships.
“For our school it’s history,” Foxcroft coach Dan White said. “It’s never been done. For high school sports winning a state championship is remarkable and winning two in a row, we feel blessed and fortunate.”
Crocker, a slot back, tallied 150 yards of offense and three touchdowns to finish out his senior season with the Ponies.
The loss weighed heavily on Crocker and the team, but they had a new confidence heading into the rematch knowing Crocker was ready to go.
“For me, especially, I didn’t play. So, just coming out we knew we were the better team.” Crocker said. “It fired us up and now we are playing them here and that’s all we wanted. It makes it that much sweeter.”
When Foxcroft needed a first down or a big play, Crocker was who it turned to.
“He’s everything that you want,” White said of Crocker. “I don’t know if that sums it up but he’s everything you want as a player, a leader and as a kid. He’s the epitome of what you’re looking for in high school football.”
Foxcroft recovered Lisbon’s onside kick to start the game and flew right down the field for the game’s first score.
On the eighth play of the drive, Wyatt Rayfield ran in a three-yard touchdown, with the first of four first-half successful point-after attempts from Kemsley Masters to put the Ponies ahead 7-0.
Lisbon was then forced to punt, giving Foxcroft the ball at the Greyhounds’ 32-yard line after a big return from Crocker.
Seven plays later and Rayfield scored again, this time from four yards out to give Foxcroft a 14-0 advantage with just 11 seconds left on the first-quarter clock.
The Greyhounds struggled again on offense, and three plays into their next drive fumbled the ball in their own territory to the Ponies.
A reverse pass from Crocker to Lucas Sands that went for 46 yards and a touchdown was called back for a double pass, but on the ensuing play Crocker ran to the right side, cut into the middle of the field while making a couple Lisbon defenders whiff tackles, and took the ball 51 yards to score.
The touchdown gave Foxcroft a 21-0 lead with 10:58 left to play in the first half.
Lisbon punted again after not gaining a yard, and Foxcroft then punched in its fourth touchdown of the half, this one a 28-yard touchdown run from Masters to put the team ahead 28-0.
Lisbon finally got the ball moving, going 80 yards on 14 plays and finishing with a three-yard touchdown run from Josh Carter. The two-point conversion from Carter was successful, and Lisbon trailed 28-8 heading into the half.
Carter finished the game with 102 rushing yards.
Before their final drive the Greyhounds had just 32 yards of offense.
Lisbon traveled down the field successfully on the first drive of the second half with Colby Levasseur punching in a six-yard touchdown run that brought Lisbon to 28-14 with 5:37 left in the third quarter.
Levassauer amassed 159 yards on the ground for the Greyhounds.
The Greyhounds tried their second onside kick of the game and this time successfully grabbed possession. Nine plays later and Levasseur scored from eight yards out to get Lisbon within 28-22 with two minutes left in the third.
“I think just once you string together a little bit of success and a couple plays in a row the kids get confidence from that,” Lisbon coach Chris Kates said. “We had them where we wanted them, we just made too many mistakes.”
Lisbon ran 39 of 40 plays from the end of the first half to the touchdown with two minutes left, dominating possession.
The Greyhounds ran the ball 65 times for 299 yards.
“Just getting a little momentum, especially because we were going to get the ball coming out of the half,” Kates added. “We came out hot in the second half, just didn’t have enough at the end there.”
Foxcroft was forced into a punt but pinned Lisbon at the Greyhounds’ own one-yard line. The next play Lisbon lost its third fumble of the game, and Crocker took the next play in for a one-yard touchdown that put the Ponies ahead 34-22 with 59 seconds left in the quarter.
Lisbon had a long, 12-play drive that ended when Foxcroft stopped it on fourth down.
Crocker then received a shovel pass and went up the right sideline for 59 yards to set up a 4-yard shovel pass reception to put the Ponies up 41-22.
Rayfield was 7-9 throwing for 92 yards and added 24 yards on the ground. He was responsible for three scores.
“I thought they did a great job fighting through the adversity but unfortunately didn’t have enough at the end,” Kates said.