By Gary Hawkins
WATERVILLE — It’s three games into the season and the Waterville football team has yet to be tested.
Saturday at Drummond Field, the Purple Panthers rolled over Old Town, 54-8, behind a bruising ground attack that accounted for more than 300 yards. So far this season Waterville (3-0) has outscored its Eastern Class C opponents 170-30.
Rotating carries among five running backs in the first half, Waterville built a 34-8 lead. Junior Danny Pooler scored two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter on runs of 17 and 3 yards while sophomore Trever Gray scored twice in the second quarter on runs of 9 and 13 yards.
“We have a lot of depth,” senior quarterback Aiden FitzGerald said. “We can rotate guys in quite often. Plus we have a lot of talent. We have a lot of big guys, especially up front.”
Nine different players carried the ball, accounting for 309 yards on 43 carries. Gray led the way with 102 on 12 attempts while Pooler gained 90 yards on 10 carries. FitzGerald is also part of a rotation, alternating quarters at quarterback with senior Brian Bellows.
“It’s been good for both us,” FitzGerald said. “We have different skill sets so that brings another aspect to our game.”
Waterville’s success was due to inventive play calling, second-effort running and an experienced line that opened some big holes. Juniors Corey Huerfano, Ben Cox and Alex Danner, along with seniors Luke Knight and Duncan Works bring experience to the offensive line.
“Our offensive line is strong lean guys who can run,” Waterville coach Frank Knight said.
Sophomore Jake Jarvis opened the game with four straight pass completions for Old Town (1-2) but the combination of Waterville’s pass rush and Saturday’s swirling wind limited his effectiveness. He competed 7 of 19 passes for 50 yards with two interceptions, both by Bellows, who returned one of those 50 yards to set up a touchdown.
The Panthers passed much more effectively, completing 5 of 7 for 109 yards. Bellows completed three of those, including a well-thrown 21-yard toss to Jordhan Levine in the left corner of the end zone.
The Coyotes scored early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 14-8. Jarvis set up the score with a 29 yard throw to Pascal Cyr that carried to the Waterville 3. Braden Upshaw capped the drive with a score and rushed the conversion. Upshaw finished with 64 yards on 13 carries while fullback Cody Whitmore gained 55 yards on six carries.
Dalton Denis, Pooler and Ethan Madore each scored for the Purple Panthers on runs in the second half.
“We are blessed with depth,” Knight said. “Coach (Ken) Lindlof runs the offense and he calls the plays that are working. We try not to focus on keeping the carries even. Nobody cares who scores as long as we score.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
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