BETHEL — From start to finish, Maranacook took it to Telstar on the ground and through the air and finished off the Rebels 30-6 in the eight-man Small School South semifinal Saturday. 

After losing 14-12 in the regular season to top-seeded the Rebels (7-1), the No. 5 Black Bears (5-3) came ready to play Saturday afternoon in the pouring rain.

Maranacook will face No. 2 Dirigo (7-2) in the regional final next week.

A big difference for Maranacook was its team was intact and had been practicing together for weeks. Before the regular season meeting with Telstar, Maranacook had practiced with its entire team for only two days because four players, including quarterback Chris Reid, had to miss time due to COVID-19 protocols.

The tides turned as the teams geared up for their playoff game as Telstar, had several players in COVID protocols since its last game two weeks ago, and practiced with its entire team only Wednesday through Friday this week.

The Rebels fumbled the ball three times on its first possession Saturday, and while they recovered all of them, things didn’t get much better for them in the first half.

After Maranacook forced a punt, running back Owen Dunn ran for 57 yards on the Black Bears’ first drive, including a 6-yard touchdown that gave them a 6-0 lead.

After another Telstar punt, Reid ran in a touchdown from 11 yards out to put the Black Bears up 12-0. 

“Today we came in not thinking that we were going to win, but that we had a really good chance,” Maranacook coach Jordan DeMillo said. “We played a tough game at Old Orchard Beach, got the ball rolling, knew they were sitting around for two weeks, so we were excited.”

Telstar quarterback Will Doyle struggled to get the offense moving and threw three consecutive incomplete passes on the third drive of the game for Telstar, leading to yet another punt. Maranacook answered with a 10-play drive that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Reid to Seth White that put the Black Bears ahead 18-0 midway through the second quarter. 

Maranacook then capitalized on another Telstar three-and-out, finishing off a long drive down the field with a 5-yard touchdown run by Reid. The score put the Black Bears up 24-0 before half. 

Reid finished the game with 169 all-purpose yards for Maranacook.

“I think running in the beginning of the game opened things up for us,” Reid said. “Running up the middle and clearing a lane picks stuff up for our offense. We’ve come so far, we missed two games from COVID and I missed the game against Dirigo, but we are coming along as a team. The Mt. Ararat game we lost pretty bad and everyone was barking at everyone, but we are coming together as a family.”

Reid picked off Doyle right before halftime to preserve the 24-point lead.

Telstar’s defense forced a turnover on downs to start the second half, but its first drive of third quarter was ended by an interception by Maranacook’s Christian Robertson.

On their second drive of the half, the Rebels punted on fourth-and-38. The Black Bears blocked the punt and took possession at Telstar’s 5, but Maranacook fumbled the ball back to the Rebels.

The rain caused loose balls by both teams throughout the game.

“We had seven turnovers in the first game and only lost by two,” DeMillo said. “We worked on ball security. They didn’t do it to us today because we worked on it, but they’re good at stripping the ball. Every play they’re punching at it, and they’re very good at it. They’re a tough and physical team, so we had to match that and not turn over the ball a lot.”

With 7:49 left in the game, Reid found White for a 17-yard touchdown pass to put Maranacook ahead 30-0.

Just 32 seconds later, Doyle found Wyatt Lilly for a 56-yard touchdown pass to get the Rebels on the board and cut the Black Bears’ lead to 30-6. Telstar, though, was unable to find the end zone again. 

“They were definitely the better team,” Telstar coach Tim O’Connor said of Maranacook. “You could see it. Then we hurt ourselves with penalties. We are discouraged and bummed that we lost. We had a great season and then we lose in the second round. We will miss this senior group, very athletic, they’re strong and have been in the weight room and it shows.”

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.