September 28, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Waterville keeps rolling

By Scott Martin smartin@centralmaine.com
Sports Editor

WATERVILLE -- The Waterville football team continued its run through Eastern Maine Class C with a 53-0 rout of Hermon High School on Saturday at Drummond Field. It was clear, as soon as the game ended, the Purple Panthers are ready for their first test.

Waterville improved to 4-0 on Saturday heading into a Friday night matchup with defending Class C state champion Foxcroft Academy. The Panthers have outscored their opponents, who are a combined 4-12, 223-30. Foxcroft is also 4-0.

Hermon falls to 0-4.

"We are really looking forward to it," Waterville offensive and defensive lineman Ben Cox said.

The Panthers scored four plays into the game Saturday afternoon, which started a run of eight straight possessions that ended with a touchdown. Dalton Denis set the tone on the first play from scrimmage with a 26-yard carry and Danny Pooler capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. Pooler added four more touchdown runs Saturday and rushed for 130 yards. Denis had three carries for 126 yards.

Waterville was dominant on offensive thanks to the play of its offensive line and running backs, and was just as dominant on defense, again, thanks to its line. The Panthers allowed 112 yards of total offense, 79 of those in the second half, and just four first downs.

"I think if you talk to coaches and asked if they would rather have great skill players or offensive and defensive line, they would take the line first," Knight said. "We got a group of linemen who really worked hard. They are lean, they are strong and they can run on both sides of the ball."

The offensive line of Corey Huerfano, Alex Danner, Cox, Luke Knight and Duncan Works gave Denis, Pooler and the rest of the Panthers backfield plenty of room to run. The defense, meanwhile, was constantly in Hermon's backfield.

The Panthers took a 13-0 led on their second possession on a 3-yard run by Pooler, then went up 19-0 when Denis took the first play of the second quarter 36 yards for a score. Quarterback Brian Bellows sparked the next scoring drive, which Pooler capped with an 18-yard TD run, with an underhanded pass -- while he was being tackled -- to David Bailey for 27 yards. Then Denis broke off a 64-yard run on the Panthers next possession, which led to a 15-yard TD run by Pooler and gave Waterville a 33-0 lead at the half.

The game went to a running clock in the second half and the Panthers tacked on three more touchdowns. Pooler scored from 17 yards out in the third, then Bellows hit Nick Stowe with a 3-yard TD pass in the fourth. Trevor Gray finished the scoring with an 8-yard run.

"We are really looking forward (to playing Foxcroft)," Pooler said. "We will have to work really hard at practice and I know we will."

Scott Martin -- 621-5618

smartin@centralmaine.com

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