THE YEAR IN PICTURES: Ellsworth/Sumner football team makes historic playoff appearance

first_imgELLSWORTH — The 2017 season marked the first time that the recently revived Ellsworth/Sumner football team was eligible to participate in the Class D North playoffs. Thanks to a late-season surge, the Eagles didn’t let that opportunity go to waste.Ellsworth/Sumner won the final three games of the season in October to clinch the playoffs for the first time in history. The appearance marked the football program’s high-water mark since the varsity team returned after a hiatus of nearly six decades in 2012The Eagles had played well all season but found themselves on the losing end of several tight games. The team was 1-4 through the first five weeks but had the lead at halftime in the majority of those games.Ellsworth/Sumner players Charlie Hughes (left) and Ethan DesJardin tackle Houlton’s Ethan Carter during the first half of a high school football game Sept. 22 in Ellsworth. The victory was the first of the year for the Eagles, who later won their final three games to earn their first playoff bid. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL“The Hermon game was the only game where we weren’t really in it, but other than that, we competed with everybody,” head coach Duane Crawford said. “We knew that if we kept the spirits up and continued doing what we did, things were going to pan out.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textOn Oct. 7, the turnaround began when the Eagles beat Stearns in Millinocket for the second year in a row. The 49-7 score marked the biggest margin of victory in team history.In Week 7, Ellsworth/Sumner beat Orono 41-3 to avenge a loss the previous season in blowout fashion. The team continued its scoring rampage into Week 8 and secured the No. 5 seed in the Class D North playoffs with a 48-12 home win over Washington Academy.Although Ellsworth/Sumner fell to Dexter 34-20 in the first round, the defeat didn’t put a damper on what had been a historic campaign. After 56 seasons without a team and five without eligibility because of the Maine Principals’ Association’s rules regarding cooperative partnerships, the Eagles finally had a playoff berth to their name.“You spend years trying to build things up through feeder programs, teaching the game and getting kids involved, and that process can only happen when you have a lot of hard work from a lot of people,” Crawford said.Ellsworth/Sumner has a golden opportunity to build on its success next year. The Eagles had only five seniors on their 2017 roster, and with Little Ten All-Conference selections Connor Crawford and Javon Williams leading the way and a sizable freshman class incoming, the team will have high hopes once again.“We’re excited about the group we have coming back,” Duane Crawford said. “We’ve felt for a while that we’ve turned the corner, and now we can go even further.” MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Bio Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020center_img Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected] Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Postslast_img

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