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Cougar gridmen open with win
DIXFIELD -- It was a display of defense and special teams play that carried Dirigo Friday night in a Campbell Conference football game at Ricky Gibson Memorial Field of Dreams.
The Cougars shifted to Class D because the Maine Principals Association relined football teams- based on enrollment- thus adding a fourth Class. The Cougars are no strangers to being in D because in 1975 they were co-champions in the league.
In the season opener, Tyler Frost and Gavin Arsenault each scored touchdowns in the first half and then the Cougars had to slam the door on an attempted rally and left the lakeside with a 13-8 win.
Late in the first quarter, Maranacook had the ball inside its own 20 and tried to punt. It was blocked by Joe Casey and Tyler Frost jumped on it in the end zone for a TD. The extra point attempt failed, but Dirigo led 6-0.
Dirigo started driving the ball, but penalties negated good gains. These flaws were neutralized by the Cougars' stout defense. Zach Demars snared the first of five Dirigo interceptions - Riley Robinson and Kaine Hutchins also picked off Black Bears' quarterback Kyle Morand (3-11 for 41 yards, 5 Int's). A punt resulted in Gavin Arsenault returning it for a 63-yard TD. Demars kicked the PAT for a 13-0 lead at the half.
"Our offense needs a lot of work,” said Dirigo coach Dave Crutchfield. “Defense wins championships and special teams won the game tonight. It's nice to have Gavin Arsenault in the fold as a game changer."
The Cougar defense had sent a message in first quarter as Gavin Sanders caused a fumble and Hutchins recovered it.
Maranacook opened the third quarter with its own trickery and recovered an on-side kick. Several plays later, Simon Davis ran in a 10 yard TD, with Logan Emery getting the two-point conversion rush. The teams traded possessions and Dirigo had a 13-8 lead after three quarters.
Maranacook moved the ball using their big lineman blocking in the fourth quarter. The Black Bears had the ball in the red zone, but with two minutes left, Robinson got his second interception of the night in the back of the end zone. Dirigo was unable to move the ball and punted.
Frost intercepted the ball with less than 30 seconds left to secure the deal.
Robinson was four of 12 for 56 yards passing, Hutchins had three catches for 47 yards while Heath Herson had 12 rushes for 50 yards. Frost, Jack Brown and Dylan Kidder had some good defensive plays.