WATERVILLE — Leavitt’s defense is probably a step ahead of its offense as the calendar page flips from September into October.

Not that the guys primarily responsible for putting points on the scoreboard should feel the least bit sheepish or sensitive about that. The Hornets’ resistance is miles in front of everyone else it has encountered so far this season in Eastern Class B football.

One of the top-tier teams in the Pine Tree Conference, Waterville managed a grand total of 99 yards and had matching totals of turnovers and first downs (five) Saturday in Leavitt’s 16-0 silencing at Drummond Field.

“The score didn’t show much offensively, but defensively it was a great win,” said Leavitt senior Brian Bedard, who had one of Leavitt’s three interceptions to end the Purple Panthers’ lone significant drive of the drizzly day.

Clay Rowland turned in a defensive/special teams hat trick. The junior picked off a pass, recovered a squib kick and pounced on a fumbled punt return deep in Waterville territory.

Nate Coombs also notched an interception for Leavitt (5-0). Subtract the second quarter, and the Hornets held the Purple Panthers to three net yards. The Hornets lassoed Waterville standout Racean Wood to nine yards on 10 carries.

“Defense wins any day,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway. “If you can play defense, you’re going to win a lot of games.”

Leavitt has won 38 straight in Eastern B competition. That streak is on the line Friday night in Turner against fellow unbeaten Mt. Blue, whom the Hornets narrowly handled in a pair of 2011 classics.

Don’t think for a second that the Hornets’ offense expects to take a back seat to the high-powered Cougars, either.

Bedard banged out 22 carries for 166 yards and both Leavitt touchdowns. He needed only two plays after Rowland’s recovery of the mishandled punt to score from 3 yards out with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter. Tyler Chicoine rushed for the two-point conversion.

Later, Bedard took a handoff on third-and-10 from his own 20, followed Devin McMahan on the left side and led the sprint down the home sideline for a backbreaking TD in the final minute of the half.

“I was lined up at tail, expecting a little five-yard run and maybe move the chains,” Bedard said. “McMahan pushed a guy out and then it was off to the races with their safety. He almost got me at the end.”

Bedard set up that home run with a takeaway eerily similar to the sequence that punctuated Monday’s Green Bay-Seattle game and hastened the end of the NFL officials’ lockout.

Facing second-and-long from the Leavitt 24, Waterville quarterback Aidan FitzGerald threw a jump ball to the back left corner of the end zone.

Bedard and the Panthers’ Jordhan Levine each went up for the ball, with Leavitt’s defensive back making the grab and falling face-first to the turf. Levine appeared to have one hand hooked between the ball and Bedard’s rib cage — not enough to constitute possession.

The official overlooking the play immediately signaled touchback.

“I kind of figured the refs watched that game,” Bedard said with a smile.

That play ended a Waterville march that occupied nearly six minutes and featured a fourth-down conversion and two third-down cash-ins. The Purple Panthers’ brief push to the Leavitt 19 prior to a false start penalty marked their deepest drive of the afternoon.

Of Waterville’s 10 series, six started at its own 20-yard line or worse. The Hornets capped one of those excursions with a fourth-quarter safety.

“The battle of field position was clearly won by them. They were working on a short field a little bit. We helped them,” Waterville coach Frank Knight said. “In order to have a chance to beat them, we can’t make the mistakes we made. A lot of the field position was the result of making the mistakes we made and our inability to move the football effectively. Our defense was on the field for a long time.”

Waterville ran only six plays in the first quarter thanks to Rowland’s pursuit of a surprise onside kick after Bedard’s first score.

When nobody from the Panthers covered Dustin Moore’s well-placed kick on the soaked turf, Rowland grabbed the ball just before sliding out of bounds at the Waterville 33.

“The first time we lined up, we saw there was a hole over there,” Hathaway said. “We told Seth Adams and Clay, the two guys on the edge, we’re going to kick it in that dead spot and you guys just make a hard run at it. I think Seth actually overran it and Clay got it from behind.”

Leavitt was stopped by a goal-line stand on that drive and had one other first-half series snuffed out at the 10.

Coombs, Moore and Kevin Russell shared the running duties with Bedard in Faunce’s absence. Leavitt gained 256 of its 275 yards on the ground.

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