The Lewiston-Altura defense was able to keep Waterville-Elysian-Morristown running back Brant Melchert bottled up for most of the night.
Melchert finally got some room to run with under four minutes left in the game, barrelling toward the goal line before L-A dragged him down at the 3-yard line.
That last stop on a play starting from the L-A 20 preserved a 27-20 win Friday in Waterville.
The WEM Buccaneers (0-1) led 14-0 at halftime.
“It was moving well for us at the beginning of the game,” said WEM coach Mike Richards. “(The L-A Cardinals) just kind of hung in there, hung in there and we just couldn’t put them away. They played a solid second half and bettered us on that.”
WEM senior quarterback Grant McBroom was solid, completing 21 of 34 passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Receiver Matt Van Houdt and tight end Cole Kokoschke each caught three passes and a touchdown and Nick LeMieux caught four balls and one score. Van Houdt led with 115 yards.
Richards noted L-A made adjustments in keeping an eye on where Kokoschke was lining up.
On offense, L-A’s lines fared well against WEM, which has some inexperience.
“They did a good job of doing some misdirection stuff. They had a good front line and they were able to run the ball pretty well in the second half, which helped them,” Richards said. “Pass blocking was great. We’re still working on the running stuff. That’ll be something that we’ll be working on the next couple weeks. Hopefully we can get that shored up. We still ran for a little over 100 yards but it’s not where we were last year.”
Penalties were an issue for WEM, particularly false starts.
WEM is on the road 7 p.m. Friday at Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons. The Knights lost 40-18 Thursday vs. Hayfield.
Lewiston-Altura 27, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 20
WEM offensive statistics — Passing: Grant McBroom 21-34, 267 yards, 3 TD … Rushing: Brant Melchert 18-59; McBroom 9-34; Nolan Wetzel 2-8; Griffin Atherton 1-4 … Receiving: Matt Van Houdt 3-115, TD; Nick LeMieux 4-51, TD; Cole Kokoschke 3-45, TD; Dylan Androli 4-36; Melchert 5-24; Theo Miska 1-7
WEM defensive statistics — Tackles: Androli 7; Wetzel 5; Melchert, Van Houdt 4; McBroom, Miska, Kokoschke 2; Zach Sticken, Riley Haefemeyer, Jacob Karsten, Atherton, LeMieux 1 … Sacks: Melchert, Kokoschke .5
L-A offensive statistics — Passing: Blake Schilling 4-7, 52 yards … Rushing: Cole Mundt 14-129, 4 TD; Collin Bonow 10-39; Schilling 5-30; Kolton Riser 6-14; Ashtyn Christie 4-14 … Receiving: Riser 1-35; Bonow 2-17
L-A defensive statistics — Tackles: Mundt 10; Schilling 8; Bonow, Carter Brummer 6; Christie 4; Riser, Caleb Mueller 3; Sam Bronk, Garrett Meisch 2; Jeremiah Hines, Conner Ramthun, Matthew Schell, Jackson Koverman, Christian Staudacher 1