October 16, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Tigers hold key to seed

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Gardiner football team is in the Pine Tree Conference Class B playoffs, but where it will end up is still uncertain.

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans Gardiner High School's Jory Vermillion, 57, right, and teammate seth Wing, 34, top, tackle Madison High School's Paul Dawe, 36, in the first half in Madison friday night.

Week 7 honor roll

• Gardiner running back Steve Sirois rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-0 win over Madison.

• Gardiner quarterback Dennis Meehan threw two touchdowns in a 47-0 win over Madison .

• Cony wide receiver Tayler Carrier had six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown in a 27-6 loss to Lawrence.

• Maranacook running back Jesse Evans rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in a 30-14 loss to Oak Hill.

• Oak Hill running back Kyle Flaherty rushed for 196 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-14 win over Maranacook.

• Oak Hill running back Alex Mace rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown in a 30-14 win over Maranacook. He also had a fumble recovery.

The Tigers (5-3) are fourth in Crabtree points, which determine playoff positioning, and will host Leavitt (6-1) on Friday night.

A victory would lock up a top-four seed and at least one home playoff game. A loss and Gardiner could slip to fifth, depending on the outcomes of other games. Eight teams qualify for the postseason.

"The ball is squarely in our court," Gardiner coach Matt Burgess said. "We'll be in the playoffs, but where we land is up to us. We'll need a perfect game to beat (Leavitt). We could use a home win, too."

Gardiner is just 1-2 at Hoch Field this year. Its lone victory came Sept. 7 against Morse.

"It's been a few weeks," Burgess said.

The Tigers blanked Madison 41-0 last Friday for their first shutout of the season. The defense, led by inside linebacker Seth Wing and defensive back Dennis Meehan, is one of the toughest in the conference. Gardiner is allowing 11.1 points a game, second only to Leavitt (9.4).

"Pitching that shutout was important," Burgess said. "We wanted to play a really good defensive game, and we did. Our defensive line is working really hard and we're getting good performances from (Hunter) Belanger, (Frank) Chepke and (Steve) Sirois."

* * *

Cony learned a few things Friday in a 27-6 loss to Lawrence that snapped a five-game winning streak.

"We found out how good their secondary is," Cony coach Robby Vachon said. "Anthony Sementelli is a great corner and (Spencer) Carey, they speak for themselves."

The Rams (5-2), who can clinch a PTC A playoff berth with a win against Lewiston (1-6) on Friday night at Alumni Field, also learned their defense can hold up against a formidable offense. Lawrence (7-0) is averaging 44.4 points a game, tops in all of Class A.

"We tackled very well," Vachon said. "We're very happy with how our defense played. We just couldn't execute on offense, but this is because of how well Lawrence played."

* * *

Another week, another heart-breaker for Kents Hill.

The Huskies dropped to 0-4 with a 19-14 setback to Dexter on Saturday in Brookline, Mass. It marked the second time in three weeks Kents Hill lost in the final two minutes of the game.

Quarterback Justin Smith threw a 99-yard touchdown pass with two minutes left to erase a 14-13 deficit and give Dexter (2-2) the victory.

"Awful," Kents Hill coach Steve Gritti said. "It's the worst. But what can we do? We just have to keep trying."

The game came on the heels of a 13-10 loss to Hyde-Bath on Sept. 29. Kents Hill was driving for a potential game-winning touchdown but it fumbled on the Hyde 1-yard line with about a minute left.

"We've been in all these games but have found a way not to win," Gritti said. "We have to find a way to win. We're standing around watching other teams celebrate. If we want to be the ones celebrating, we have to limit penalties and turnovers. They're killing us."

* * *

Winthrop (2-5) suffered a tough 52-30 loss to Freeport on Saturday that all but knocked it out of Western C Campbell Conference playoff contention.

The Ramblers close out the regular season by hosting playoff-bound Old Orchard Beach (5-2).

Winthrop coach Joel Stoneton said he's still holding out hope a victory over OOB, coupled with some help, could still get his team in the postseason, but acknowledges it's a longshot at best.

(Continued on page 2)

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