Gray-New Gloucester football coach Brian Jahna was excited during the preseason that in the Patriots’ second season of eight-man football, they would have some depth and possibly a junior varsity team in the near future.

That depth was used Friday late in Gray-NG’s 38-12 victory over Sacopee Valley, when Jahna played the backups after the starters pitched a shutout.

“All the (Sacopee Valley) scoring came once we started to work our JV in,” Jahna said. “Our varsity guys really didn’t give up any points.”

The Patriots’ defense, especially, was ready to play from the start of Friday’s contest.

“Just being really disciplined and watching film,” Jahna said. “Coach (Mike) Paiazzo is our defensive coordinator, and he does a great job of keeping the guys ready and super prepared, so once the guys show up they know exactly what they need to do.”

As for the offense, Jahna said the Patriots’ passing game needs work, but, he said, quarterback Mikey Ryan continually made the correct read in Gray-NG’s triple-option attack.

“It was primarily our running game,” Jahna said. “I don’t think we had a completion, but we ran the ball really well. That was a testament to our offensive line. Mikey Ryan is our QB running the option, and I think he had three touchdowns. That’s really the essence of our offense, control clock and run the ball. We need to be better at passing a little bit, but he does a great job of running the veer and he makes nice reads and has great composure. We had one nice long run and then down by the end zone had a nice read on a quarterback wedge.”

Oxford Hills wide receiver Teigan Pelletier goes up and over Sanford’s LJ McFarland to haul in a pass for a touchdown during Friday’s football game at Gouin Athletic Complex in Paris. Brewster Burns photo

 VIKINGS EXPLOIT ADVANTAGES

Oxford Hills quickly learned it didn’t have a lot of running lanes up the middle Friday night against Sanford. Its offensive line was strong throughout, according to quarterback Eli Soehren and head coach Mark Soehren, but the Spartans defensive line took away the inside as an option.

So, the Vikings ran the ball outside, and because of Sanford’s man-to-man defense they also chose to also throw it to the outside and let their big receivers go get the ball, usually in one-on-one coverage.

“We watched their 5-2, sort of (defense), and we wanted to throw outside against that linebacker or the end coming up,” Eli Soehren said. “They stopped the run and we couldn’t do anything, so we threw and it worked. We didn’t need to do anything else.”

Soehren threw for 174 yards, and when the pass wasn’t there, he ran it himself for a total of 91 yards. When he did throw, Soehren trusted the Vikings’ receivers. That was evident on the the first touchdown, when Teigan Pelletier caught a pass in the corner of the end zone over a Sanford defender.

“It’s crazy how good our depth is,” Soehren said. “I can throw it up to anyone and I know they’ll catch it, it’s crazy. I saw (Teigan) one-on-one and I didn’t see anyone else rolling out to my right — and he’s 6-foot-4, why wouldn’t I throw it to him?”

Soehren’s dad and coach said Eli has a lot of trust in his receivers.

“Eli loves to throw downfield and the receivers are fast, so if they’re going to give us over-the-top in man, we will take it,” Mark Soehren said. “Eli’s receivers have a pretty good connection, so we took advantage of that.”

Elie Timler of Spruce Mountain is pulled down by Gavin Micks, right, of Dirigo High School during the first period in Dixfield on Friday. Micks is a junior, and was just a freshman the last time Dirigo played tackle football in 2019. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

 

COUGAR CUBS 

There wasn’t much for Dirigo to look forward to as halftime drew closer Friday night against Spruce Mountain in what turned into a 52-22 loss. The Cougars were getting shut out while the Phoenix were racking up the points.

A touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter gave the Cougars something positive to take into the intermission. Dirigo coach Craig Collins said it felt nice to finish the first half with things looking up, even if only a little.

“We’ve been struggling. I mean, we’re very young. Very young. We have a lot of kids who never played varsity football until last Friday night, and that was evident last week (in a shutout loss to Boothbay),” Collins said.

The Cougars have just two seniors, and the majority of their offensive and defensive linemen are underclassmen who had a tough time matching up with their Spruce Mountain counterparts.

Still, another touchdown out of halftime gave Dirigo some more life, and something to build on in the future.

That future is evident for Spruce Mountain coach David Frey.

“(Dirigo) is going to be really good. They’re up in the mix (for contending),” Frey said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.