PARIS — Oxford Hills looks to its defense to set the tone for its entire team. After Friday night's shutout of Mt. Ararat, it's easy to understand why.
The Vikings limited the Eagles to eight yards of total offense and two first downs and maintained complete control throughout a 28-0 victory at Gouin Athletic Complex.
Dexter Turner led the suffocating defense with two sacks and also scored a pair of touchdowns. Nick Bowie and Wolfe Raasumaa also had rushing touchdowns for the Vikings (1-1).
"My message after the game was: 'When you play like that defensively, we can be in any game,'" said Oxford Hills coach Mark Soehren, whose team faces unbeaten Lawrence next week. "It doesn't mean we're going to win every game, but we can be in games and we can compete."
"We just played sound defense," Turner said. "We contained them well. We need to work on a few things, but we're ready for Lawrence."
Turner announced the defense's presence early with Friday night a strip sack of Mt. Ararat QB Jake Liedman on the Eagles' first possession. Bill Leahy scooped up the fumble and carried it down to the Mt. Ararat 8.
"I just came around the outside and I got his hand and Billy picked it up," Turner said.
Turner scored from a yard out three plays later and QB Ryan Godin added the two-point conversion for a quick 8-0 lead.
Mt. Ararat's offense never crossed midfield. The Eagles did take over possession twice in Viking territory, once on a turnover on downs and once after an Alex Laurelez interception and return to the Viking 45, but never got past the Viking 40. They managed just one first down in the first half. Their only first down in the second half came as a result of a penalty by Oxford Hills.
Eighteen of the Eagles' 32 rushing attempts went for zero or negative yardage.
"We're physical," Godin said. "The defense sets the tone, no doubt."
"They've got some good linebackers," Mt. Ararat coach Frank True said. "They've got a returning all-conference player there (Jordan Croteau). They've got great size and speed. It was tough for us to match up tonight.."
Croteau, Turner and the defense provided the offense with great field position, the Eagles' 48, to set up the Vikings' second score, a 6-yard run by Raasumaa, on the first play of the second quarter. Bowie added the two-point run for a 16-0 lead.
Turner cashed in on the Vikings' first possession of the second half with the longest run of the game, a 58-yard sojourn, for a 22-0 lead.
"Coach called a good play because the tackle was lined up on the outside of the guard and I just ran right up the middle through a big hole," Turner said.
Mt. Ararat collided on a handoff and coughed the ball up again. Josiah Cushman pounced on it at the Eagles 9 and Bowie scored two plays later from six yards out to complete the scoring with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
The Vikings picked up 227 yards on offense, with all but one yard on the ground.
"What we wanted to see was consistent drives," Soehren said. "Our theme for the offense was 'finish.' We need to finish these drives. We need to sustain them."
Godin directed the triple option and led the Vikings with 68 yards on 14 carries. Turner finished with 67 yards on four rushes. Bowie had 41 yards and Malik Geiger 28 to balance out the attack.
"It's a tough offense, but all of us are picking it up quick," said Godin, who led the Vikings with 68 yards rushing on 14 carries. "There are reads here and there we just have little mistakes that we have to fix. But other than that, we're getting there."