Recap of Dirigo Middle School football
DIXFIELD -- It was like starting over when the players assembled a couple months ago for football practice at the TW Kelly Middle School because of the numerous new faces.
The common theme surrounding the Dirigo landscape was "let's work and see how things progress." So the degree of expectations had been toned down as the team went through its drills. Although the initial concerns contradicted the end results.
This year's team competed in the Pine Tree League, a 10-team conference, and finished fourth at 6-3. The roster listed 26 players, largest amount of players in six years, but there was an under lying factor.
Of the 26, only four had donned the pads for the Cougars previously as 22 were first-year middle school football players.
"The first hour of practice was dedicated to fundamentals,'' said Jamie Robinson, who assisted head coach Steve Arsenault. ''This included stance, technique, proper blocking and tackling. They improved everyday.''
Dirigo had wins against Boothbay, Poland, Spruce Mountain, Monmouth, Maranacook and Telstar. They lost an exhibition game to Mountain Valley, which was shown on the local access-TV channel. The league games losses were to Winthrop, Lisbon and Oak Hill.
The coaches were pleased that the team shined in other areas, in addition to having shown great improvement. They also worked hard and demostrated excellent sportsmanship.
The Cougars finished second in defense in the league, allowing just 90 points. Lisbon was the number one defense allowing just 60 points and winning the league with 9-0 record.
The 11 eighth graders included returnees Bryce Whittemore, Hunter White, Kyle Swett and Alex Ferland; Gavin Hebert, Vince Hebert, Braiden Doucette, Ivan Luu Gage Belanger, Tucker Barnett, Vincent Haines. The manager was Tucker Chute.
Last fall, the team finished second in the Central Maine League and second in CML end of the season round robin. The setbacks were against AYS/Spruce Mountain, one in regular season and in the playoff championship. Last year's quarterback Riley Robinson, started at safety on the high school team.