The first half proved costly for Pentucket, which had already lost top offensive lineman and linebacker Chris Croteau to a shoulder injury when leading rusher and top defensive back D.J. Engelke also went down with a shoulder injury he had battled throughout the season. He did not return.
The Buccaneers then opened the second half with an epic, 18-play drive that ate up the entire third quarter and lasted into the fourth that went to the Sachem 11-yard line.
But on fourth-and-1, running back Olan Abner was stopped in his tracks for a 1-yard loss by defensive back Liam Corkery.
Pentucket was then held to a three-and-out, and once again Bedford drove into the red zone, advancing to the Sachems’ 14-yard-line.
But the Green and White held again, when back Mike Hayes was stopped a yard short of the first down marker by a host of Sachem tacklers for a second straight turnover on downs, this time with just over two minutes left in regulation.
“We can usually beat teams up,” said Belcher, a former Los Angeles Rams draft pick. “The momentum was ours in the second half and a lot of teams will fold there. But they obviously didn’t. If we could have executed a fourth down, the game would have been different. But they wouldn’t let us.”
The Sachems managed a drive to close the half, with Porter running seven out of eight plays to the Bedford 46-yard line before two passes fell short to send the game into overtime.
Bedford had the ball first in the extra frame. On first down, the Sachems’ Luke Strangman stopped Mike McDonald on a short gain, then after an incomplete pass Josh Wesolowski, Ryan Kuchar and Sean Clohisy combined to stop Abner for a loss.