At some point over the last month, it became about more than winning a state championship for the Cheverus High football team. With shutout after shutout, the Stags started thinking of something bigger.

“We wanted to be the best eight-man team ever,” said Richie Tremble, Cheverus’ senior quarterback/defensive back.

On Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the Stags made their case for that title with authority, taking a 56-0 win over Waterville for the Eight-Man Large School state championship. The Stags finished the season 8-0, closing with five consecutive shutouts and 22 straight quarters without allowing a point.

Waterville, the North champion, ends the season at 7-2.

“We were hanging tough for a while. We just ran into a phenomenal football team. That’s by far the best team we’ve seen this year, and we knew that going in,” said Waterville Coach Isaac LeBlanc. “It doesn’t change anything about what we did this year. I’m proud of my guys. This is the first time we’ve been to a state title (game) in 27 years. These guys haven’t had this type of success before.”

Waterville gained 175 yards, more than a few of the Stags’ recent opponents, but the Purple Panthers stalled when they hit the Cheverus side of the field. Waterville opened the game advancing to the Cheverus 31 before an intentional grounding penalty pushed them back, and they turned the ball over on downs. A third-quarter drive reached the Cheverus 25 but ended when Tremble intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Waterville quarterback Liam Von Oesen ran for 81 yards and threw for 100 before leaving the game in the fourth quarter because an ankle injury. The Stags knew containing Von Oesen was the key.

“He’s one of the toughest guys we had to play this year. Very strong, a very good arm. But Gold Wave Swarm, baby. We had to stop them,” said Tremble, who added another interception in the fourth quarter.

“Our defense is something special. It’s been 10 years since we brought (a championship) home. We worked hard for four years. I didn’t think, my freshman year, I’d be here winning a state championship with all my boys.”

Most of Cheverus’ offense came on the ground, with the Stags running for 336 yards. Rilan Smith ran for 177 yards on 12 carries and had touchdown runs of 11, 8 and 80 yards. Marshall Fowler (78 yards on six carries) had touchdown runs of 50 and 14 yards. Tremble threw the ball just twice, both long completions to Peyton Mitchell. The first went for a 56-yard touchdown to give the Stags a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The second went for 42 yards, and Smith scored from 8 yards out on the next play for a 36-0 halftime lead.

“We are what we are. We want to control the ball, and when we throw, we want to throw for touchdowns. We were able to do that today,” Cheverus Coach Mike Vance said.

The win gave Cheverus its first football state title since winning the Class A championship in 2011.

“It was a major commitment by all of these kids. We started the season with experience, and that was really important,” Vance said. “It took us a couple series to really lock in on what they were doing. Our kids really showed up today.”


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