Quarterback Camden Phillips didn’t play in Spruce Mountain’s season-opening loss to Mt. Ararat, but he returned to lead the Phoenix to wins over Dirigo in Week 2 and Yarmouth on Friday.

The Phoenix (2-1) racked up 96 points in the two games with Phillips under center.

“He can run with the ball and does it really well,” Spruce Mountain coach David Frey said Saturday. “Over the years I’ve wanted my quarterbacks to be able to run. He has a huge impact on the offense. With him behind the center he gives us more of a threat because they have to play with respect to his running, so it lets us open opportunities for the other players.”

Spruce Mountain quarterback Camden Phillips runs the ball up the sideline for a big gain against Dirigo earlier this month. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

On Friday, with two running backs out with injuries, Isaac Parker stepped in to help the Phoenix offense. Parker scored three times, including a 47-yard run, in the second half, during which Spruce turned an 8-8 halftime stalemate into a 44-20 victory.

“This is his first year of contact football,” Frey said of Parker. “He came out last year, but we didn’t play. We went down there, and I didn’t have my two starting running backs, Reece Davis or Ethan Castonguay. I kept it the same. I shuffle Isaac in, anyway, as a dive back and a slot back. Actually, I have another slot back, Owen Dow, he did a pretty good job, and I haven’t done stats but I am sure he got over 100 yards.”

Frey said that the Phoenix’s confidence is growing as the season progresses and they feel good heading into next week’s game against Cheverus. But, Frey said, the Stags are tough, and the Spruce players might be a little distracted by the school’s homecoming festivities.

“Scoring 52 and 44 (points) in two games, you can see the confidence back in them,” Frey said. “If we have Cam Phillips in that first game, it’s a different ball game. … I keep telling them each week to execute both sides of the ball, and if everybody does their responsibility then we are going to be tough.

“This senior class paves the way, and I told them that they need to be leaders and that if they act out, the younger kids will act out. I put in some younger kids in (the game), though, yesterday, and they looked good and had an impact.”

PATRIOTS BATTLE BACK IN LOSS

The Gray-New Gloucester Patriots (1-2) stumbled out of the gate on Friday night against 2019 eight-man state champion Mt. Ararat (3-0) and lost 58-32.

Still, coach Brian Jahna was impressed with his squad’s effort. 

“We played hard,” Jahna said. “Ararat went JV and then went back to varsity for most of the game. We had four freshmen and a sophomore on defense at points … I think we showed great character. We were down by a lot at halftime and it would have been easy to cash it in in the second half, but they stayed true to their techniques and picked each other up, and I was pretty proud of them. They were getting beat up and they never made any excuses.”

Mt. Ararat scored on its first drive of the game, but Jahna said the Patriots forced the Eagles to work for their yards. Then Gray-NG’s fumbled on its first drive, and the Eagles recovered it and returned it for a touchdown. The Patriots then moved the ball all the way to the 2-yard line but fumbled out of the end zone for a touchback.

Mt. Ararat held a 30-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and were up 44-8 at halftime, but the Patriots kept fighting.

Miles Post and Mikey Ryan each ran in a score in the third quarter, and suddenly, it was a 44-24 game. That forced the Mt. Ararat coaches to put the starters back in the game to quell the Patriots’ comeback attempt.

Injuries have hampered the Patriots, but Jahna is still just happy about playing football again. 

“Injuries have been the biggest thing, and we can’t get past it,” Jahna said. “We’ve been down to a couple running backs for each game. Sometime, hopefully, we will get healthy. We matched up with two of the three teams we’ve played, and there’s a couple teams that are heads and shoulders above. When we stack up against those teams, it’s about coming out healthy. It’s good football and it’s good to be back playing football.

“So much of it is health. It’s fluky stuff, happening at practice and taking them out. We have had to put our young guys in places we don’t really want to, but if we can get some guys back, we feel good and then, with the craziness of the COVID year, we want to get into the playoffs and go from there.”

POLAND RUNS AWAY FROM BELFAST

Poland lost its senior starting quarterback and captain Sam Luce early in the first quarter to a leg injury. 

Luce ran in the Knights’ first touchdown and also is a passing threat, but without Poland decided to run it over and over and over again. They ran for 268 yards on the day, led by Isaac Fifield’s 142 yards and Brady Martin’s 82. Most of the Knights’ yardage game while Belfast selling out on stopping the run with a packed group of defenders at the line of scrimmage.

“I think what I liked the most was that they were putting nine people in the box but we were still running on them,” Poland coach Gus LeBlanc said. “One of the things when I got here was we had no offensive line, so we’ve been working really hard at that. Our running backs did a good job but our offensive line did really well, I think that was a huge success.”

The thought process was pretty simple for Fifield once Luce, his best friend, went out.

“Head down and run,” Fifield said, “ … it’s just head down and run.”

Related Headlines


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.