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Cougars shock Raiders to advance
WALES -- There wasn't any question that the deck was stacked against them, however, the Dirigo football team went toe-to-toe with Oak Hill in a Campbell Conference semifinal Saturday afternoon.
Spencer Trenoweth scored on 69 and 51 touchdown runs in the second half and the defense steadfastly made the proper adjustments as the Cougars rallied for a 13-6 win over the Raiders.
The mark of a good team is to respond quickly following a score by the other team and that's exactly what Dirigo did. Oak Hill had just broken the ice, but on the ensuing possession Dirigo answered. On the second play from scrimmage, Trenoweth followed tackle Zack White through the line, cut outside and sprinted down the left side for a 69-yard TD. Nelson Pepin added the point after to give the Cougars their first lead in seven quarters against the Raiders with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter.
"We just knew that we needed the lead," said Trenoweth, referring to Dirigo's 33-0 loss in the regular season finale to Oak Hill. "The defense made a big stop on the first series (Pepin recovered fumbled) and that set the tone."
No. 3 Dirigo, who beat Old Orchard Beach 19-14 in a quarterfinal game, advances to play in the regional championship game against No. 1 Winslow this Saturday. The Cougars beat the Black Raiders 31-22 at Poulin Field in September.
"We knew things had to be adjusted," said Dirigo coach David Crutchfield, regarding the Cougars who did not show up and was outplayed by the Raiders previously. "So, we sat the kids down and explained what needed to be done and talked for a couple hours. The kids bought into the system we wanted to use and they executed it, especially on defense."
In the first half, Oak Hill had gained big yards with its double wing formation and counter plays. Raider QB Parker Asselin extended drives, but in short yardage, the Cougars shined. Twice, the Raiders reached the red zone and drives ended with stuffs on fourth down. The latter on inches to go from the eight yard line with 1:18 left in a scoreless first half.
Dirigo had switched from its 44 to a 6-2, moving the ends into have two sets of tackles in the middle. This allowed Tyler Frost (16 tackles), Kaine Hutchins and Pepin to make big plays.
"Those two came up big," said Crutchfield, referring to the ends. "Kaine was playing out of position, but did the job."
On its initial series in the third quarter, No. 2 Oak Hill had just driven down the field with a series of runs and passes on third down that set up first and goal. Kyle Flaherty scored on a three- yard run to lead 6-0.
The teams traded punts and then OH was held on fourth down. The Cougars ran Nick Young outside to pickup two first downs. A penalty moved the ball back, but Trenoweth (143 yards) broke tackles on his way to a 51-yard TD. Cougar QB Brett Whittemore completed 5 of 9 passes for 57 yards to go over 1,000 yards this season. Dave Merrick and Frost caught passes for 24 and 16 yards, respectively. Cougar linebacker Thomas Barnett broke up a pass on fourth down from the 19 with 1:18 left to seal the deal.