September 14, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Wet, wild win for Huskies

By Travis Lazarczyk
Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD — The Maine Central Institute football team took a victory swim after beating Stearns 46-0 on Friday night. That’s not unusual. That the Huskies’ dip came along their own sidelines was the head-turner.

The Huskies and Minutemen played in a steady, heavy downpour. The conditions made footing slick and the football slicker. The teams combined for 15 fumbles, and Stearns lost five fumbles as turnovers.

“We’ve got a lake on our sideline,” MCI head coach Tom Bertrand said. “It’s always hard when you have to play in these elements, but it’s that way for both teams. We could go either way with canceling, but we felt like as long as there was no thunder and lightning, we’d go for it. We talked to the people up at Stearns and they wanted to make it a go, and so did we.”

The Huskies went winless last season, but improved to 2-0 Friday night, outscoring Orono and Stearns, 87-6. Stearns of Millinocket is 0-2.

The Huskies scored early. After recovering a Stearns fumble at their own 30-yard line, the Huskies took a 6-0 lead on Jonathan Santiago’s 72-yard touchdown run up the right sideline with 7:51 left in the first quarter. The score was the first of five touchdown runs for Santiago, who gained 203 yards on 17 carries.

Santiago’s final touchdown was his most impressive. On a third down and three play from the Stearns 20, Santiago fumbled the pitch from quarterback Greg Vigue, picked up the ball, made a cut to elude a tackle for a loss, and sprinted untouched for the score.

“I just wanted to score another touchdown, so I tried to make the best of what happened,” Santiago, who also scored on runs of 28, 1 and 17 yards, said.

Ahead 6-0 late in the second quarter, MCI got great field position when Austin Tolman tipped a punt, setting the Huskies up at the Minuteman 26. On fourth and five, Vigue threw a pass up to Mitchell Hallee in the right front corner of the end zone, and Hallee outjumped a pair of defenders for the ball and the touchdown.

Throughout the game, the Huskies had success with their up tempo, no huddle offense.

“We wanted to see what we could do in the rain offensively with our no huddle,” Bertrand said. “We knew there were going to be slippery balls on both sides. We had to take advantage of loose balls that we could defensively and create some turnovers.”

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