Oxford Hills’ Teigan Pelletier leaps up to congratulate Matthew Doucette after a touchdown in the second quarter of Saturday night’s season opener in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Oxford Hills, on the heels of a road blowout victory in Week 1, is gearing up for its first home game in nearly two years with Sanford strolling into Paris on Friday night.

The Vikings earned a 54-0 win over Lewiston on Saturday night with big performances from quarterback Eli Soehren, running back Wyatt Knightly and receiver Matt Doucette, but coach Mark Soehren is most excited about the team’s defensive line.

“We’ve been really dominant in our first three sort of competitions, and I don’t know where we’re at,” Soehren said. “Our defense looks really good and our defensive line looks the best it has in years for us. I keep telling our defensive backs that their job is way easier when you have a good defensive line. I have to give a lot of credit to the front six right now.”

Soehren isn’t quite sure what to expect from Sanford. The Spartans are coming off an opening-week loss to Thornton Academy in Week 1, which wasn’t helped by Sanford only having two days of practice because of a COVID-19 quarantine.

“We had a three-hour walkthrough on Friday to prepare for Thornton,” Sanford coach Mike Fallon said.

Fallon has watched film of the Vikings from their past two games, including a preseason game) and is aware of Oxford Hills’ style of play from matching up over the past few years in Class A.

“Coach Soehren is a good guy and does a really good job,” Fallon said. “They’re good, tough and physical kids. We’ve watched film and we expect them to be disciplined, and they play with high motors.”

Soehren said Sanford has good size and speed and this week of practice the Vikings focused on being fundamentally sound. 

“The kids here lift a lot in the offseason, they’re strong and have decent speed, but we need to be more fundamentally sound,” Soehren said. “Keeping your shoulders square, not overcommitting at times on both offense and defense, and just making sure you’re ready.”

Game day can’t come soon enough for each team, but in particular for the Vikings, who are getting ready to finally host a football game again at Gouin Athletic Complex. 

“We can’t wait,” Soehren said. “It’s been a long time, and we have great community support. They certainly travel well and there’s a lot of people, not just the football team, looking forward to that game. It’s going to be a long Friday day at school waiting for that game to start.”

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