LEWISTON — The Leavitt football team dominated the Class C state championship game against Oceanside, taking home its second state title in a row by beating the Mariners 71-12 on Saturday.

While the high-scoring offense had several notable plays, it was the Hornets defense that set the tone from the start.

Senior Maddox Demers scored the first touchdown of the game only 2:05 into the first quarter after Jace Negley got a hand on Oceanside’s punt after its first drive. Demers picked up the ball at the 6-yard line and carried it into the end zone, giving Leavitt an early 6-0 lead.

Oceanside’s Cohen Galley tries to slip away from a tackle from Leavitt’s Maddox Demers during Saturday’s Class C state championship in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“That first punt I got in there, and I tipped it a little bit and Maddox picked it up and ran it for a touchdown,” Negley, a senior lineman, said. “That was huge and a big, big momentum shifter and just started all the momentum going that way.” 

Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said the Hornets wanted to get off to a strong start Saturday, especially after having to come from behind to beat Fryeburg in the Class C South final last week.

“I think the biggest emphasis for us all week, just in talking to the kids, was starting fast,” Hathaway said. “We wanted to get out there on defense first, and we did. We put a lot of pressure on, and we got good field position, and obviously, you score without even being on offense, that’s a great way to start a football game.”


Leavitt led 22-0 before Oceanside picked up its first first down, and the Hornets held the Mariners scoreless until the fourth quarter.

Demers said the Hornets (11-0) tweaked their defensive style during their preparation for the Mariners’ (10-1) offense.  

“They’re a tough team to defend, like all the stack formations that they use and the no-huddle,” Hathaway said. “They’re doing some things that you don’t commonly see, so for our coaches to put together the game plan they put in for the week, and the kids to execute, it was pretty good.”

Demers said the team was “worried all week,” and “couldn’t sleep” before Saturday’s game because of the threat of Oceanside’s high-powered offense, but ultimately the Hornets were able to make key tackles near the line of scrimmage and shut down Mariners senior quarterback Cohen Galley. 

“We played lights out,” Demers said. “We had a pretty good tell on what they were going to do, they kind of run a slower offense, so it’s easy to tell when they’re going to go down or they’re going to go out, so that’s probably the best reason why we did good today.” 

Demers also said because the Hornets have such a strong offense, the defense gets overlooked at times.


“I would say we get overlooked quite a bit, honestly,” Demers said. “I mean, we’ve had some pretty impressive performances in the second half, we’re a big second-half team, but it was good to come out and start playing right away this game. Today was definitely a good game for our defense.” 

Senior linebacker Colten Taylor, who recovered a fumbled snap in the second quarter, said the practices leading up to the championship game were “intense,” and the team practiced hard to “come out big on game day.” 

“(Winning) just felt amazing, it was awesome, the crowd here was awesome,” Taylor said. “This win feels even better this year than it did last year, just a great feeling.”

The Hornets defense controlled the line of scrimmage, Negley said, coming off the ball hard and setting the tone of the game from the first snap.  

“We just didn’t let them go anywhere,” Negley said.

Leavitt pressured Galley throughout the game. Negley forced a pair of turnover on downs in the first half. On the first, he knocked down a pass, and the second he sacked Galley on fourth down.


Negley also scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter, coming in as fullback and gaining 4 yards to bring the ball to the 1-yard line and then scoring on the next play.

“I’ve been waiting for that my whole life,” Negley said. “It was my first career one, so it felt amazing to get that.”

In the third quarter, Demers forced a fumble that Matthew Rementer recovered, setting up sophomore Mason Henderson’s 45-yard touchdown run. Another lineman, Mason Twitchell, ran in the two-point conversion to give the Hornets a 65-0 lead.

Demers said last year’s state championship win was not on the team’s mind this year, and that Leavitt started the season chasing the Class C state title and never looked back. 

“We never talked about last year at all,” Demers said. “We just got after it every week, and I’m proud of my guys, it’s a great feeling.” 

Negley said he was confident the Hornets left everything they had on Lewiston High School’s Don Reaux field, which was something they emphasized in practices leading up to the state title game.

“We always say we want to be certain that this is our last day of practice, we don’t want to end it early,” Negley said. “Friday was the last day we could’ve practiced, today was the last day we could’ve played a game, so it feels amazing.” 

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