Oxford Hills’ linebacker Parker LaFrance dives for a pass and just tipped it enough to prevent Lewiston’s Lucas Nichols from making a catch during the first half of Friday night’s football game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
LEWISTON — From the first coin flip at the new Don Roux Field, Oxford Hills made its intentions known Friday night: spoil Lewiston’s grand opening.
The Vikings won the coin toss, elected to receive, and, on the first play from scrimmage, Colton Carson connected with Cam Slicer on a 57-yard bomb.
Five plays later, Carson scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night, and the first of Oxford Hills’ three touchdowns in the first quarter that opened up a 34-0 victory over Lewiston.
Carson, a senior quarterback, rushed for 81 yards and two scores, completed 9 of 16 passes for 177 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and returned an interception 67 yards for another score to lead the Vikings.
“We wanted to set the tone early,” Carson said. “We knew we have deep threats that we could go to any time, and we knew that with the coverage they were in, we could hit them early and really send a message.”
Carson’s favorite deep threat was Slicer, who made all four of his catches on the night in the first quarter, tallying 106 yards, including the tone-setting catch down the seam on the game’s first play.
“We put that play in for (Lewiston’s) defense and the players were, like, ‘Let’s do it first play,'” Oxford Hills coach Mark Soehren said. “I said, ‘If that’s what you guys want to do,’ and they executed it.”
Emmerson Brown rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown and also recovered a fumble for a Vikings defense that forced four turnovers and limited Lewiston’s starting offense to 57 total yards.
Parker LaFrance and Michael Bonang also had interceptions for Oxford Hills as the defensive line featuring Brown, Austin Doughty, JJ Worster and Travis May spent much of the night in the Blue Devils backfield harassing senior QB Tanner Cortes.
“Our defensive line did such a great job,” Soehren said. “We wanted to get a little pressure on Cortes. Emmerson is a quick, strong kid and did a nice job.”
“All week we’ve been practicing for this, (practicing) pass rushing, and I think we played great,” Brown said. “We did exactly what we did in practice, and it just turned out exactly how we wanted it.”
Oxford Hills met the buzz surrounding pregame ceremonies dedicating Lewiston’s new Franklin Pasture Complex with touchdowns on its first three possessions.
“(Oxford Hills) executed really, really well. Anything they wanted to do, they did real well,” Lewiston coach Bruce Nicholas said.
Carson followed the left side of the line from 3 yards out for the first score. LaFrance gave the offense the ball right back three plays into Lewiston’s opening drive. Heavy pressure forced Cortes to roll left and throw across his body. The ball was deflected into LaFrance’s waiting arms at Lewiston’s 19.
The Vikings caught a break as they recovered a fumble on Carson’s first down run at the Blue Devil 2. Brown pounded it in from there to make it 14-0.
LaFrance forced Lewiston to punt on its ensuing series with a nice pass breakup on third down. Carson hooked up with Slicer for 31 yards to start the Vikings’ ensuing possession, then capped the drive with his second 3-yard touchdown run for a 20-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
Lewiston’s offense finally picked up its first two first downs of the game at the start of the second quarter. The Blue Devils reached the Vikings’ 31 but a bobbled snap allowed LaFrance to chase to Cortes for an 11-yard loss that essentially killed the drive.
A nice stop of Brown by Lewiston’s Tom Brochu on third-and-2 forced the Vikings to punt, which only travelled 9 yards. The Devils started at the Viking 35, but another bad connection on the snap led to a Cortes fumble, which Brown recovered.
“We’ve got to find ourselves. I think we lost it early,” Nicholas said. “We hurt ourselves.”
The Vikings marched to Lewiston’s 3 as the first half was coming to a close, but ran out of time before they could punch it in. They did finish their first drive of the second half, though, as Carson connected with Alex Turner on a crossing route in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard TD and a 27-0 lead.
All that was left was Carson’s most impressive run of the night, which came after he jumped an out route and picked off Cortes’ pass. Carson scampered down the right sideline, barrelled through a couple of tacklers along the way and finished off a 67-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring.
“I was staying back in the first half, but we ended up switching it and I knew once I saw the first (receiver) go the second guy was going to go right after,” Carson said. “It was just instinct, and it ended up working out perfect.”
For Lewiston, Lucas Nicholas had an interception and Deon Hunt had a fumble recovery.
Oxford Hills’ Cam Slicer catches a long pass down the sidelines during the first half of Friday night’s football game against Lewiston in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Lewiston’s Domonick Colon (#44) and Lucas Nichols (#80) nearly recovered a fumble on the goal line but Oxford Hills recovered it and scored on the drive during the first half of Friday’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Oxford Hills quarterback Colton Carson drops back to pass during the first half of Friday’s game against Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Lewiston football coach Bruce Nicholas watches Oxford Hills march down the field during the first half of Friday night’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Oxford Hills’ Cam Slicer takes a handoff at the beginning of a long run during Friday night’s game against Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)