November 19, 2012

CLASS B FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: 'Greatest feeling of our lives'

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Nearly 24 hours after winning its first state championship in 32 years, the Mt. Blue football team was still in awe of what transpired on a chilly Saturday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

click image to enlarge

HERE’S TO US: The Mt. Blue football team hoists the gold ball after defeating Marshwood 44-42 in the Class B state championship on Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Portland Press Herald photo By Carl D. Walsh

Invigorated. Distressed. Thrilled.

The Cougars experienced them all in a dramatic 44-42 victory over Marshwood in the Class B state title game.

"It's starting to sink in," Mt. Blue coach Gary Parlin said. "I think I got about three hours of sleep. But I don't mind a little sleep deprivation when it comes to this."

Added senior captain Chad Luker, who rushed for five touchdowns: "It hasn't totally settled in. It's emotional. I can't believe the season is over. It's a great way to end it, though."

The game, which yanked emotions on both sidelines, featured plenty of offense but little else. The teams combined for about 700 yards of total offense, 41 first downs and 13 touchdowns.

The Cougars (12-0) scored on seven of their nine possessions, including their first four of the game.

Not to be out-done, the Hawks scored on six of their nine possessions.

Marshwood ran 48 plays from scrimmage and 14 went for 10 yards or more. Mt. Blue ran 51 plays with nine going for 10 yards or more.

"There were big plays on both sides," Parlin said. "Both offenses were in sync. That wing-T offense they run is as good as we've seen anybody run it."

Back and forth the teams went Saturday night each waiting for the other to budge.

Mt. Blue raced out to a 20-8 lead after the first quarter thanks to a pair of Luker touchdown runs and a Calen Lucas 86-yard kickoff return for a score.

Game over, right?

Not quite.

Marshwood, under the direction of highly regarded coach Alex Rotsko, used its double wing offense to fight, claw and scratch its way back into the game.

Cameron Roll, the magnificent Marshwood quarterback, threw a touchdown pass and ran for another in the second quarter to slice into the deficit.

Mt. Blue, thanks to the third of five Luker touchdowns in the game, took a 26-21 lead into the half.

Two quarters played, 47 points scored.

"At halftime we made a few adjustments but (Marshwood) gets off the ball low and quick," Parlin said. "When their quarterback takes off to the outside, it's tough. There were two or three times we knew it was coming and still couldn't stop it. It was just like they knew (Jordan) Whitney was coming and they couldn't stop him, either."

Whitney finished with 117 rushing yards and 44 through the air. Roll rushed for 120 yards and threw for 125 more.

The see-saw affair continued in the second half.

Mt. Blue scored on its first three possessions -- two Luker touchdown runs and a Whitney 20-yard pass to tight end Zak Kendall.

But the Hawks responded each time, scoring touchdowns on ensuing possessions. Marshwood was in position to take its first lead when it forced the lone Mt. Blue punt of the game with about two minutes left.

The Hawks, trailing 44-42, took over on their own 7-yard line.

"I was glad they were out of timeouts then," Parlin said. "I was hoping we'd make a play."

The Cougars did. Colin Richards stripped Marshwood fullback Dan Lizotte of the ball and Mt. Blue linebacker Bradley Jackson recovered with 1:46 left in the game.

"The whole game was really emotional," Kendall said. "We had to stop those guys once or get a turnover. We finally got that last turnover. It was an unbelievable feeling when we got it."

Mt. Blue ran out the final few seconds to preserve the wild win.

"It was the greatest feeling of our lives," Whitney said. "We were all crying in the huddle. We've been waiting for this for our whole lives. We got it done."

After the game, the team took what Parlin called "the shortest ride back to Farmington."

The Cougars received a police escort to the high school, where parents and fans awaited.

"We celebrated," Parlin said. "We showed them the gold ball. It was a lot of fun."

Bill Stewart -- 621-5640

bstewart@centralmaine.om

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