POLAND — The Poland Knights hadn’t scored a point since September 22nd, but they remedied that problem in emphatic fashion Friday night against perennial Class D contender Dirigo.

On the opening kickoff, Isaiah Hill returned the ball 70 yards for a touchdown and Poland never looked back, earning a 38-14 victory over Dirigo.

“Isaiah is a great young player,” running back Aaron Paradis said. “Everyone did what they needed to do. We did what we do in practice, we powered through and he is a great momentum-setter.”

On Dirigo’s first possession, freshman quarterback Cole Brown threw his first of four interceptions on the night. Although the Knights went three-and-out, Poland’s defense forced a Brown fumble and Lashawne Hammond returned it 13 yards for a touchdown, making it 14-0, tying Poland’s highest point total in a game this season.

Quarterback Brady Downing was proud of the performance from his team.

“It was a must-win,” Downing said. “Everybody was all for it and we did not have one guy that wasn’t ready to play … I don’t think one kid’s gonna go home tonight and say, ‘I didn’t play my hardest tonight.’”

Two drives later, Dirigo’s run game came alive with the help of Cooper Chiasson, who broke off a 46-yard scamper down the side and set up teammate Liam Burnette for a four-yard run to make it 14-8 after the two-point conversion.

On the ensuing Knights drive, Poland got a good helping of Paradis as he ran four times for 22 of his 169 total yards. Downing capped the drive off with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Josh Cote to make it 21-8. Downing had 21-total yards on the drive, both receiving help from their offensive line.

“We had great blocking,” Paradis said. “If I had carried without that o-line I would have been crushed. We have freshman through seniors blocking and they did great. It was impressive.”

Poland’s next drive was a 10-play drive that ended on a fourth-and-27 pass that, if caught, would have been an easy touchdown. A let down like that may have broken the spirits of the Knights in weeks past, but not Friday.

“No matter what happened, we pulled forward,” Paradis said. “We said it doesn’t matter, next play we were together. This one it was all team.”

In the first drive of the second half for Poland, the Knights were set up by a 27-yard pass from Downing to Tyler Tucci. From there, Paradis ran in his first of two touchdowns to make it 28-8.

Dirigo wasn’t about to lay down, however. On the ensuing kickoff, Chiasson broke a couple tackles and returned the kick 80 yards for a touchdown to make it a two-score game, 28-14.

The Cougars blocked a Paradis kick next drive, then stopped the Knights on fourth down to gain some much-needed momentum. But a Downing interception of Dirigo turned into a Paradis 25-yard field goal making it 31-14 with about seven-minutes remaining.

Two plays later, Poland picked off Brown again and turned it into a 48-yard touchdown run from Paradis, sealing the game.

“We went into it with a lot of love and we knew it was a must-win,” Paradis said. “We left everything out there, left everything on the field. It was all love. Small town, big dreams.”

Poland moves to 1-6, while Dirigo falls to 2-5 on the season. 

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