DIXFIELD — Of all the physical attributes that make Dirigo one of the teams to beat in Western Class C football, perhaps the most crucial one is memory loss.

Not the type that will led to more questioning and testing before a player is allowed back into the game. The good kind.

Dirigo has demonstrated a unique ability to ignore what’s on the scoreboard and forget bad quarters.

The Cougars’ new-look offense seems oblivious to the pressure that would customarily haunt players advancing into a successful program. Even as quarterback Brett Whittemore and halfback Spencer Trenoweth walk in the sizable footsteps of Nic Crutchfield, Ben Holmes, Bryan Blackman and others, they exhibit the confidence of two guys who have forgotten all that history.

Best of all, Dirigo behaves as if it’s utterly unaware that it has paid four consecutive visits to the state playoffs, including an undefeated Class C championship season in 2009. There is no living on past laurels here.

“We worked way harder this offseason than we ever have,” Trenoweth said. “We’ve been running hill sprints. Practices have been way harder than usual. We’re still good to go in the fourth quarter.”

It shows. Dirigo is making memories every Friday night this season, having trailed in its first three games and rallied to win them all against Lisbon, Winslow and Poland.

All three were weighed along with the Cougars as playoff contenders at the start of what has developed as the most balanced, competitive Campbell Conference campaign in recent memory.

“We’ve got to play all four quarters,” Whittemore said. “All our games so far, we’ve had a quarter where we slowed down a bit. If we played all four quarters, all our scores would have looked a lot different.”

Dirigo trailed Lisbon 14-8 at halftime before shutting out the Greyhounds in the second half of a 28-14 victory.

Whittemore and Trenoweth accounted for nearly 400 total yards at Winslow, where Whittemore’s two fourth-quarter touchdown passes produced a 32-21 win and avenged a crushing overtime defeat in 2011.

“We came out with a vengeance up at Winslow,” Trenoweth said.

Trenoweth caught another fourth-quarter TD in last week’s 22-14 win at Poland.

He’s Exhibit A for the Cougars’ explosiveness and versatility after starting as a receiver his sophomore and junior years.

“In AYF (Area Youth Football) I was a running back, but I wasn’t very good at it,” Trenoweth said. “I didn’t even play football all through middle school. I never expected to be a halfback, but I’ve worked really hard at it and the line has been amazing.”

Whittemore waited his turn behind Fitzpatrick Trophy finalist Crutchfield and Holmes, one of the most decorated three-sport athletes in Dirigo history.

Dirigo has more depth at running back this season than did any of those preceding teams, a trait that helps provide Whittemore his opportunity to shine through the air.

“We’ve got several backs who can come in there, so we’re always fresh,” Whittemore said. “It keeps us going out there and opens up the pass. And our line is great at blocking on the pass and on the run.”

The Cougars’ backfield tandem are among 10 seniors who saw significant time on the field last season, when Dirigo fell to Traip in the regional quarterfinals.

Having to face undefeated Maranacook and Traip in back-to-back games after Friday’s home test against Telstar will help maintain the Cougars’ attention to detail.

“There’s no letdown at all. We kind of figure it’s senior year. This is it. We seriously need to get it together,” Trenoweth said. “I know we have a chance to get to Fitzpatrick (Stadium in Portland, for the state final) this year.”

That is a moment these blissfully forgetful Cougars would be guaranteed to remember.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.