Cam Jordan (88) and his Leavitt Area High School football teammates celebrate their Class C state championship victory over Maine Central Institute on Friday at the University of Maine in Orono. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

ORONO — The number of times the Leavitt Hornets trailed this season was the same as the points it had trailed by all season before Friday night’s Class C state championship game at the University of Maine.

One.

Leavitt’s Camden Jordan can’t hold onto the ball in the end zone against MCI in the Class C state title game Friday at the University of Maine in Orono. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel photo

Last week, the Hornets “rallied” from down 7-6 early in the C South final against York to snuff the Wildcats, 42-7. But that was a mere technicality compared to Friday night against MCI, when they were staring up at a 12-0 deficit less than four minutes into the game, and a 24-14 shortfall little more than two minutes into the second half.

With an offense as explosive as theirs was all season, the Hornets had little reason to doubt they could make up those deficits quickly. But Wyatt Hathaway, DaSean Calder and company needed the ball first, and, oh by the way, would happily accept a little momentum from their defense and special teams, too.

Enter senior defensive end Camden Jordan, “the best defensive lineman in the state,” according to Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway, and a game-changer in all three phases of Leavitt’s 30-24 Friday’s win.

Jordan had three sacks (four, if the one on an MCI two-point conversion try in the first half is included) on defense, a fumble recovery on special teams and some key catches and blocks on offense.

Given his omnipresence, one might think Jordan was running around the turf with his hair on fire. But there was probably no one calmer on the field.

“We never had pressure,” Jordan said. “We knew it was going to be a battle because the best two teams in Class C are going to compete. But we knew that we could get it done.”

Jordan had 17 sacks through the Hornets’ first 11 games, so he didn’t mind that MCI came out looking to throw the ball, even though it seemed to put Leavitt farther back on its heels after the Huskies recovered a game-opening onside kick.

“We knew they were going to come out trying to run the ball, but they started throwing it. We weren’t ready for that,” Jordan said.

MCI took the 12-0 lead with touchdown passes of 16 and 44 yards. The first was a tipped pass caught in the end zone by Dominic Wilson. The second was a fantastic fingertip catch by Will Russell.

Even then, Jordan never wavered or questioned that this was his and the Hornets’ night.

“We just had to believe,” Jordan said. “We never have doubt in our mind. We know we’re the best team in the state.”

“You’ve got to know how to keep your head up and you’ve got to trust in your coaches and their play calls,” senior guard/linebacker Riley Parmenter said. “There weren’t many times this season where we’ve been down, but we sure know how to keep our heads up when we are.”

Parmenter and Jordan provided the Hornets’ first “chin up” moment late in the first quarter when the former forced a fumble on a Leavitt punt that the latter recovered at the Huskies’ 29.

Hathaway’s arm and legs moved the Hornets to the 3, which is where DaSean Calder scored from to give them a chance to catch their breath with the score now 12-8 following the successful two-point conversion.

In appreciation for the respite, the defense forced a three-and-out. Hathaway converted on third downs with a completion to Jordan and a 16-yard run to put the Hornets on the doorstep again.

MCI buckled down with its back to its own goal-line to force fourth-and-goal from the 7, but got a taste of the frustration it had dished out in the first quarter when Hathaway used his legs to buy time for Jordan to uncover in the end zone to give Leavitt a 14-12 lead.

“I know he can make plays when he’s scrambling,” Jordan said, “so I was just trying to get open. I saw him throw it and I just went up and grabbed it.”

The Huskies regained the lead before the halftime intermission and extended it early in the third quarter to 24-14, but would have been up 12 again if Jordan didn’t sack MCI quarterback Ryan Friend on the two-point conversion try.

The Hornets never panicked on offense, though, and patiently kept the ball on the ground the rest of the night, racking up 212 rushing yards with mostly Hathaway and Calder slashing past the edge frequently set by Jordan’s blocking from tight end or the slot.

“He was the lead blocker at the point of attack on a lot of those runs,” Mike Hathaway said. “He just owned the line of scrimmage tonight.”

Leavitt needed a stop after Calder’s touchdown run and two-point conversion cut the deficit to two points, 24-22, with 4:37 left in the third. Again, it was Jordan who made a play, sacking Friend for a big loss on third down that put the Huskies into a fourth-and-15.

“Cam’s been a beast off the edge all year,” Mike Hathaway said. “He’s the best defensive lineman in the state of Maine, I don’t care what anybody says. You can’t block that dude, and his will is like nobody else’s. He’s going to come after it every single play.”

“He’s incredible. I’ve never seen anything like him. That kid’s going places,” Parmenter said. “He’s dedicated. He buys in. He’s all in.”

Friend’s incomplete pass on fourth down set up the Hornets’ game-winning drive early in the fourth.

Once the Hornets secured the lead, Jordan could pin his ears back again to harass Friend. On the Huskies’ final drive to try to tie or go ahead, he met the quarterback in the backfield again, this time for a four-yard loss that put them in third-and-long and, ultimately, fourth-and-long situations that led to Wyatt Hathaway’s game-clinching interception with 1:11 left to play.

“It just shows that we’re a great team,” Jordan said. “The legacy’s finally completed. This is the only thing we’ve been looking for for 10 years, and we finally did it.”


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