Oxford Hills football team file photo

This is the third installment in a series recapping the 50th anniversary of the Oxford Hills 10-1 1971 football season.

The late Oxford Hills coach Bob Fallon called it,” one of the biggest games we’ve ever played and one of the biggest we’ve ever won.” He might have said the “the biggest” in both cases.

The Winslow game: Oxford Hills 13, Visitors 12. It was the signature win of the 1971 Vikings’ football season and was a coaching landmark for Fallon. For the OH fans who showed up on a Friday night, it was unforgettable. Winslow was then a gritty mill town with a high school that prided itself on mill town football. Harold (Tank) Violette was widely known for his tough, no-nonsense coaching and his hard-nosed teams. Once again, the Raiders were loaded with veterans and the co-favorite for another state championship with Morse and Skowhegan. They were led by quarterback Pete Siviski, halfback Stan Lapointe, and tackles John Paquet and Claude Desrosiers. Siviski went on to college, medical school, and a career as a heart surgeon, including duty locally at Stephens Memorial Hospital.

A crowd of 2,500 or more watched the defenses on both sides rise to the occasion, offsetting brilliant offensive plays. Key statistics indicate a game filled with offense and the defense coming through when needed. In total, Winslow outgunned Oxford Hills 278 total yards on 62 plays from scrimmage to 229 yards on 40 plays. OH had an average edge of 5.7 yards to 4.5 yards per play. Three Winslow plays into the game, Raider halfback Stan Lapointe broke free for a 69-yard apparent touchdown, only to have the score reversed on an off-side penalty.

The Hills struck first after holding Winslow scoreless in its first four series. Larry Durgin ran 30 yards to the W-29 after Brad Cummings hit Billy Brooks on an 11-yard pass. Another six yards by Durgin led to Cummings finding end Hal Edwards on a 23-yard scoring pass. Dave Daniels’ extra point made it 7-0. The Raiders roared back. Starting at midfield on the kickoff, Lapointe picked up 36 yards in three carries before going eight more yards for the touchdown. On the two-point conversion attempt, linebacker Ron Somers met Siviski short of the end zone to keep the score at 7-6.

The VIkings launched another drive in the second quarter after defensive end Roby Baker picked off a Siviski pass and returned it 32-yards to the W-48. The VIkes drove to the W-13 before Paquet picked off a Cummings pass intended for Brooks. Earlier, Lapointe broke up a sure touchdown pass to Brooks in the end zone with a diving one-hand tip. The second series of the third period started deep in OH territory with a 14-yard run by Pete Brown nullified by a 15-yard holding penalty. On second and 17, Cummings hit Durgin wide open in the left flat, and from there, Durgin brought the OH fans to their feet as he outraced Lapointe and Siviski 80 yards down the home-team sideline for the touchdown. The extra-point kick was a miss, leaving the score at 13-6.

The handwriting appeared to be showing up on the wall for the Vikings in the fourth quarter. A fumble inside the OH-25 was recovered by Winslow, but the Hills picked off the first of three passes in the quarter. Winslow intercepted Cummings at the OH-25 on the next series and this time Siviski made it count. On the two-point conversion try, Lapointe was met by Somers and Rick Micklon to keep the score at 13-12.

After the Vikings surrendered the ball on the next series, Brooks intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards to the W-16. On a fourth-down, Paquet recovered the OH fumble at W-32. Two plays later, on the last play of the game, Brooks came up with his second interception of the game. The handwriting had vanished.

Bob Moorehead covered the 1971 Oxford Hills football team as a general assignment reporter for the
Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. He later served the Guy Gannett newspapers as a
sports editor, city editor, managing editor and general manager. His coverage also appeared in the
Advertiser Democrat. Paul Ricci and Brian Partridge (both OHHS Class of 1972) conceived the idea for
this series and provided extensive research. Readers who would like to share any favorite memories or
stories from the 1971 season are encouraged to E-Mail either of them at [email protected] or
[email protected]

Players’ Perspective:

By Brian Otterson (sophomore cornerback on the 1971 team, after seeing the photo that accompanied Bob Moorehead’s Week 1 preseason article).
When I picked up the Advertiser-Democrat yesterday, I was immediately transported back to my kitchen 50 years ago. My mother showed me the picture of Peter, Brad, Larry, and Coach Fallon. “This is a nice picture of Larry and Peter.” She did not know Brad because he did not live on Paris Hill. At the start of the week before the Traip Academy game, the coaches posted a depth chart for the offense and defense on the bulletin board. My name was the first one listed for the position of right cornerback, with Larry Durgin under me. Having never played an organized sport before, I didn’t understand what it meant. I thought that I would be playing cornerback but that obviously Larry was their first choice. I mean, how could he not be?

At practice later that morning, Fallon called for the starting defense to take our positions on the field. 10 players ran to their appropriate spots and I just stood there taking in the spectacle. “Where is my right cornerback?” bellowed Coach Fallon. Like a bolt of lightning, it hit me, I was supposed to be standing out there. I ran out on the field trying my best to be invisible. “Jeezus, you are as numb as a fart in a space helmet!” I had never heard that particular expression before but I could tell it was not a compliment!!

All week long Coach Fallon would tell us in no uncertain terms that Traip had a running back that was the fastest human being on Earth. I forget his name, but I was repeatedly told that “If he gets by you, he’s FFFeeeet, gone for six.” FFFeeeet was Fallon’s sound effect for someone running so fast past me that I would be left grasping for the dust cloud he left behind like in a roadrunner cartoon. In the actual game, we dominated them. But at one point their running back broke through the line and was headed straight at Billy Brooks. I turned and sprinted to the point I figured Billy would be tackling him and to my horror he faked out Billy and was headed straight to the end zone. I sprinted after him and dove at his heels, hitting him just enough to make him stumble and fall down on about the 10-yard line. They scored a couple of plays later, but we ended up beating them 37 to 8.

When we watched the film I was all set for Coach Fallon to acknowledge that I had indeed caught the fastest man on the planet. When we got to that play he said nothing. But Ron Somers leaned over and said, “nice tackle” just loud enough for everyone to hear. That made my week.

By Paul Ricci (senior center and defensive tackle on the 1971 team)
Picking up on Brian Otterson’s comments about Coach Fallon’s pre-game instructions, I remember that he was constantly telling (yelling at?) me that Winslow’s All Conference middle guard, John Paquet (6-4, 220 lbs.), would always stand up once the ball was hiked, and despite his size, he could be blocked if I would just fire out from my center position and drive my helmet into his crotch. More to the point, he made it quite clear that the key to our running game would likely hinge on whether the two guards (Gary Cummings and Brad Stanley) and I could successfully double-team Paquet and open up holes on trap and counter plays.

On our first offensive series, the play call was made, and Coach Fallon’s exhortations immediately came to fruition. I snapped the ball, Paquet stood up, I buried my helmet in his crotch, Gary helped double-team him, Brad pulled behind us to make the block at the proper spot, and Larry Durgin popped through the hole for an 8-yard gain. The three of us came back to the huddle ecstatic that we had actually pulled it off as diagrammed, and we continued to do so throughout the first half. By the start of the second half, Paquet was no longer playing middle guard, and when we had our film session on Monday afternoon, Coach Fallon kept running and re-running the play. Like Brian, that made my week as well.

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