MCI’s Tucker Sharples gets taken down by Leavitt’s Damien Calder during the season opener in Turner on Friday night. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
TURNER — Leavitt got off to the fast start it wanted, scoring touchdowns on the first two drives against defending Class C state champion Maine Central Institute. And while the Huskies still had plenty of time to respond, they never did.
The Hornets stifled the Huskies’ offense and added two fourth-quarter scores to salt away a season-opening 28-0 victory at Libby Field on Friday.
“It was huge. We talked all week about starting fast and getting a lead because those are the type of guys, that’s the type of team that can grind it if they have a lead. So we didn’t want to get behind,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “We wanted to start fast. We said right out of the gate we were going to go for some early, and we got some points on the board, and I think we turned them into something that they don’t want to be.”
The Hornets (1-0) scored three plays into the game when Damion Carter took a jet sweep and dashed down the left sideline for a 40-yard touchdown run. After the Huskies’ (0-1) initial drive fizzled at the Leavitt 41-yard line, the Hornets marched 75 yards in eight plays, with Bradley Moreau capping off the drive with a 3-yard scoring run.
It was two plays before that touchdown that one of MCI’s biggest problems reared its ugly head. Penalties.
The Huskies were whistled for too many men on defense, and 13 penalty yards were added onto the end of an 18-yard pass from Leavitt’s Wyatt Hathaway to Camden Jordan.
“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times to try to stay in a game with a really good football team like this,” said MCI coach Tom Bertrand, whose team was called for eight penalties, including seven in the first half.
The Huskies started going backwards on how far their drives advanced. They crossed midfield again on their second drive, but didn’t again until late in the second quarter. In the second half, they didn’t get across the 50 until their penultimate possession, which ended on an interception immediately after they reached Leavitt territory.
“I thought the interior of the defense — the nose, the tackles, the ‘backers — they did a great job of kind of controlling C-gap to C-gap in there, and we wanted them to make them run east-west, and those guys did a great job up front,” Hathaway said.
Despite the lack of offense in the first half, Bertrand said his team still felt they were in at at halftime.
“We were going to come out and pound the ball, and we start moving the football, and shoot ourselves in the foot,” Bertrand said. “And then we get off-script a little bit, and we tried doing some different things. When we’re not dictating what’s going on, we struggle.”
An interception on a halfback pass stalled the opening drive of the second half. Passes from quarterback Ryan Friend were made difficult by the Leavitt defense, as well. Friend was 7-for-23 for 103 yards. It didn’t help that he saw a lot of Jordan, who sacked him four times in the game.
“We knew they were going to be a run offense, so we knew had to keep that in control, and once they started passing we knew it was over,” Jordan said.
The Huskies were held to 64 rushing yards for the game, while Leavitt ran for 168. Hathaway was 12-for-20 for 167 yards.
He ran in the Hornets’ third touchdown from 1 yard out (after Jordan made a diving catch short of the goal line) midway through the fourth. Freshman backup QB Hunter Hayes completed the scoring with a 34-yard run in the final minute. Stephen Gray made all four of his point-after attempts.
Leavitt’s Bradley Moreau evades MCI’s Tucker Sharples during Friday night’s football game in Turner on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Leavitt’s Damion Calder tries to escape a tackle my MCI’s Isaac Bussell druing Friday night’s football game in Turner. Leavitt’s Riley Parmenter comes in form the left to assist in the play. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Leavitt’s Dasean Calder gets pushed out of bounds during the first play of the night by MCI’s Will Russell during the season opener in Turner. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Leavitt’s Wyatt Hathaway evades MCI’s Isaac Bussell during the first football game of the season between the two teams in Turner Friday night. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Leavitt’s Camden Jordan gets taken down by MCI’s Andrew Whitaker during Friday night’s football game in Turner, as Tyler Staples, Kempton Roy, Isaac Bussell, Elijah Bagley and Dominic Wilson from MCI position themselves to assist with the play. Leavitt’s Trevor Lafrance comes in to the action on the left. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
MCI’s Kempton Roy gets taken down by Leavitt’s Tommy Casey during Friday night’s football game in Turner. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Leavitt’s Bradley Moreau gets pinched between MCI’s Kempton Roy and TJ Kuespert as he completes a tackle on Friday night in Turner. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)