AUBURN – The Oxford Hills Vikings knew they weren’t an 0-10 team, and they were determined not to waste any time in the 2007 season proving it.

Junior tailback D.J. Drew scored on two long runs, one on a screen pass, as Oxford Hills snapped a 10-game losing streak on opening night in the Pine Tree Conference with a 14-7 win over Edward Little.

“It feels unbelievable,” said Oxford Hills coach Bob Austin, whose team went 0-8 last year. “We had 19 seniors last year and they played their hearts out, but once the season was over, we started talking about the Oxford Hills program not being an 0-8 program. There’s a lot of tradition here. There’s a lot of veteran coaches here that played for Oxford Hills when they were playoff teams. We just knew that we weren’t an 0-10 team.”

“It was a great defensive effort, and D.J. made two key plays to save us,” he added.

Drew (16 rushes, 89 yards) broke up a scoreless tie late in the second quarter with a 58-yard TD run in which he broke three tackles near midfield and raced down the right sideline for six. The play wouldn’t have been possible if, on the previous play, Jake Hall hadn’t scooped up a bobbled snap on a Vikings punt attempt and scampered for the drive-extending first down.

The score remained 7-0 until the first play of the fourth quarter. Drew took a screen pass to the left of QB Justin Frechette (5-for-9, 117 yards), bounced off left tackle Jordan Bundy, then turned it upfield and broke away down the middle of the field for a 79-yard score.

“I ran into a blocker and saw open field and I just cut it up as fast as I could,” Drew said.

EL recovered a fumble by Drew on the first play off the game at the Vikings’ 37 but couldn’t cash in on the field position, as Ian Monzo sacked EL starting QB Steve Knowlton on fourth down to end that threat.

The Eddies drove into the red zone on two other first-half possessions, but stalled at the 12 yard line on the first and had a pass by Cody Goddard to Shane Ciriello ruled out of bounds in the corner of the end zone on a fourth-down attempt to end the second.

“Unfortunately, we played like we’re a year away,” EL coach Darren Hartley said. “I lost my poise in the first half when we got in the red zone. We knocked on the door. I was very, very happy and then we didn’t finish.”

Knowlton (0-for-3) and Goddard (8-for-27, 94 yards) swapped series under center for the Eddies, although Goddard got the call on their final two possessions. The penultimate drive ended with a touchdown, as the Eddies overcame four false start penalties on a 16-play drive thanks to a key pass interference call on the Vikings on 4th and 16. Grady Burns capped the drive with a two-yard TD plunge to pull EL within seven with 5:50 to go.

The Eddies’ defense stopped the Vikings at midfield and the offense took over at its own 20 with 2:18 left. Goddard drove them down to the Oxford Hills 40, but Ciriello dropped his 4th-and-10 pass at the 10-yard line with 30 seconds left to dash EL’s hopes.

Kyle Bussiere led Edward Little with 84 yards on 15 carries. Dylon Therrien added 64 yards on 12 rushes.

Monzo and Chris Ney led the defensive effort for Oxford Hills by putting consistent pressure on EL’s quarterback, particularly in the first half.

“We had some great defensive calls and the kids just played their hearts out,” Austin said. “They weren’t going to lose.”


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