Standing, left to right: Cathy Farrar, Mindy Dow, Meg Sutton, Carol Bean, Debbie Flanders Sitting, left to right: Nancy Millett, Lynn Smith, Kathy Ramsay, Debby Smith, Heather Martin

This is the seventh installment in a series recapping the 50th anniversary of the Oxford Hills 10-1 1971 football season.
Brad Cummings and Peter Brown scored two touchdowns each as Oxford Hills rolled to a 38-12 win over Mt. Blue in a Friday night Pine Tree Conference clash at Hippach Field in Farmington before 2,000 chilly fans. It was the sixth straight win for the Vikings, the fifth in PTC play. The Cougars dropped to 2-2, 1-2 in the conference.

The Hills marched 80 yards in 13 plays for the first score of the game, with halfback Larry Durgin going in from nine yards out. The big play in the series was a 17-yard pass from Cummings to end Billy Brooks.

Following an exchange of punts, the Vikings struck again with Cummings this time showcasing his running ability, going 58 yards around the right end in the second quarter for the touchdown. Dave Daniels added the extra point.

Before the halftime break, Dan Moore intercepted a Cummings pass, setting the stage for the first Mt. Blue score with an 18-yard return to the OH-29. The Cougars moved to the one-yard line in three plays, with Tom Whittier getting the touchdown three plays later to cut the Vikings’ advantage to 13-6.

Midway into the third quarter, the Vikings themselves marched to the opposing one-yard line, with Durgin and Brown providing most of the yardage. Cummings then picked up his second running touchdown, with Daniels adding the extra point to stretch the lead to 20-6.

Mt. Blue made its final bid on the next series. Whittier lateraled to Sam Gordon and the play went 55 yards to the OH-30. Four more plays moved the ball to the one-yard line, with Gordon crashing over the goal line to make it 20-12 after three quarters.

With its unbeaten season on the line, the Vikes erupted for three touchdowns in the final period. Brown had both of his tallies, the first from a yard out and the second on a beautifully executed double reverse that covered 31 yards and left Cougar defenders strewn around the gridiron. Halfback Reggie Olmstead added the final six.

The Vikings return to Viking Field next Friday night to host Old Town for the start of a three-game homestand.

Mid-Season Statistics

Five games down and unbeaten. Six more to go, starting with a road game at Mt. Blue. A balanced offense and the capability to strike suddenly on big plays showed itself in the first five game-statistical total for the Vikings. The summary and averages covered the first four games in the Pine Tree Conference and the exhibition opener against Traip Academy.

In outscoring their opponents by 156-53, the HIlls had roughly a 31-10 margin of victory. The Winslow game, a narrow 13-12 win, kept the margin from being larger. Coach Fallon’s offensive unit averaged 179.6 rushing yards per game and 171.6 passing yards. Total offense came to 351 yards per game.

On the other side of the ball, the defensive unit had surrendered only 104.6 rushing yards and 70.6 passing yards per game. The defense had picked off 11 interceptions in allowing opponents just 25 completions on 77 attempts. Larry Durgin and Billy Brooks each had three interceptions, Ron Somers and Roby Baker two each, and Hal Edwards one. Steve Raasumaa and Paul Ricci had recovered two fumbles each, with Ricci returning one 38 yards for a touchdown at Madison. Durgin, Brooks, and Baker also had recoveries, along with Jack Pike and Peter Brown.

While per-game averages on yardage heavily favored the Vikes, the first down totals pointed to another story. The Hills were ahead by a mere 46-43 margin. The reason: the “Big Play Offense.” Quarterback Brad Cummings had completed 25 of 47 passes for 835 yards and ten touchdowns, nearly 34 yards per catch. Durgin had hauled in three for touchdowns, while Brooks had five. Each had 247 receiving yards. End Hal Edwards had a starry 42-yard receiving average on four receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

The rushing game had notched 13 touchdowns. Durgin was the prime mover at one halfback spot with 400 yards on 62 carries, while Reggie Olmstead had 188 yards on 28 carries from the other halfback position. Brown had chipped in 175 yards on 38 carries at fullback.

Cummings was a quick, speedy field general with 77 yards on 24 carries, mainly in bootleg situations. Several times he lost yards when sacked because his receiving targets were covered.

The statistics were based on play-by-play records kept by press-radio personnel and were not considered ‘official”.

By the fifth game, the coaching staff knew it had a special type of team.

“The team may be better than the coaching staff,” the late Bob Fallon once commented. “We never have enough time to really sharpen them.”

With just two assistants, Fallon was understaffed. It limited scouting time and the addition of new offensive and defensive “ripples.” Fallon once noted a large Catholic high school team known nationally would have six coaches on the sideline for a game and another three scouting the opposition.

But nobody was about to complain.

Bob Moorehead covered the 1971 Oxford Hills football team as a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald and Sunday Telegram. He later served the Guy Gannett Newspapers as a sports editor, city editor, managing editor and general manager. Paul Ricci and Brian Partridge (both OHHS Class of 1972) conceived the idea for the 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]

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