DIXFIELD — Dirigo kept its nose to the grindstone in a Western Class D quarterfinal Friday night at Harlow Park, methodically putting together a 34-12 win over Boothbay to advance to the regional semifinals.
The Cougars still expect more, though they continue to improve.
Senior Tyler Frost rushed for 128 yards and scored two touchdowns on the first two possessions for No. 2 Dirigo, which proved to be well-balanced in the win over No.7 Boothbay.
The Cougars (7-1) scored on four of their five possessions in the first half and quarterback Riley Robinson (4-of-6, 82 yards) threw a 22-yard catch and run to Joe Casey for a 26-0 lead at halftime.
The Cougars will host either Oak Hill or Maranacook next Friday. Dirigo has defeated both teams this fall, and lost to Oak Hill in the regional final a year ago.
“We wanted to come out and dominate and I think we did that,” Dirigo coach Jim Hersom said.
The Cougars topped the Seahawks handily in a preseason scrimmage.
“We threw the ball and ran it, and except for a few penalties — false starts and motion that need to be cleaned up — we controlled the play.”
On the opening series, Dirigo jump-started its ground and pound by ramming it home as Frost (116 yards in first half), wearing cast on an injured wrist, scored a 3-yard TD. The drive covered 61-yards, in eight plays.
On the ensuing series, the Cougars’ defense held firm to force a punt, but was penalized for roughing the kicker and gave Boothbay an automatic first down. The Cougars eventually took over on downs, and on their third play from scrimmage, Frost followed tackle Matt Irish and cut outside for a 19-yard TD. Frost kicked both PATs for a 14-0 lead.
“This was the first playoff game and we wanted to make a statement,” Frost said. “They shifted their linebackers outside, so we ran the up the middle and they shifted again. It was a guessing game.”
Boothbay, which concludes its season at 2-6, couldn’t generate any positive yards. The swarming Dirigo defense only allowed 16 yards rushing in the first half, including a goal-line stand. Ends Clay Swett and Vincent Hebert were pinching in and linebackers Frost, Joe Casey and Bryce Whitemore each had nearly 10 tackles.
Joe Casey (32 yards rushing) intercepted Boothbay quarterback Duncan Drapeau and five plays later, Kaine Hutchins ran for a nine-yard TD.
“We were able to do what we wanted,” Hutchins said. “In a game like this, we proved that with our offensive line that we can pound the ball. It all a mental thing.”
Boothbay received its best field position on long kickoff returns by Antonio Maulolo. The two-time state wrestling champion reached Cougar territory.
In the third quarter, Dirigo used freshmen runners Cooper Chiasson and Luc Lueders to set-up a first-and-goals. Chiasson (interception) scored on 3-yard TD. On a botched PAT attempt, Frost threw a shovel pass to Joe Casey for the two-point conversion.
“We played well,” Hersom said. “When we assembled in August, our offensive line was our weak link, but they have really come through and tonight’s game was a strong indication.”
The Seahawks scored on Dirigo’s second team, on TD runs of 1 and 30 yards by Julian Aponte (60 yards, six carries).