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Background about the state title
The haze was just lifting over 295 when Mountain Valley and Leavitt players warmed up on the all-purpose field at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The stakes were high with the Class B state championship on the line.
Leavitt entered the fray as the defending state champions were riding a 23-game win streak. MV was unbeaten also and had won state games in 2004, ’06 and ’08 on the same field.
Leavitt had the highest-scoring offense in the state, led by quarterback Jordan Hersom, who rushed for over 1,400 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Hornets were big and talented, with a trio of offensive linemen named first team all-conference.
The Falcons featured the best defense in the state, allowed 30 points this season. The 44 defense included tackles Taylor Carey, Tyler Morton; linebackers Ryan Glover, Matt Hosie, Izaak Mills and Josh Allen, and ends Christian Durland and Ben Higley. The secondary, with Nicholas Sterling, Bradley and Cameron Kaubris, shut down the Hornets.
“Dan was our 12th man today,” said Kaubris, who said the team dedicated the game to late teammate Dan Garneau. “Just as we’ve done all season, we won with defense. Our offense kept improving, but
another important factor of team success was our fans.”
The Falcons had a big edge in time of possession, behind the O-line (202 yards) with tackles Tyler Morton and Isaac Ledesma; guards Ryan Glover and Rashad Lavoie and center Nate Nicols.
When Josh Allen ran the ball, there was no juke and jiving because his feet were directed straight ahead.
Henceforth, if there was a choice between daylight outside or drilling a defender in the way, rest assured Allen would choose the latter.
Taylor Bradley took a direct snap, bounced outside and sprinted down the right side for a 66-yard TD
with 10:44 left in the fourth quarter.
“That run was for my friend, Dan,” said Bradley, who played the second half despite a shoulder injury.
“This game was for him. We played all season for him and I knew he was watching me on that run.”
Ryan Glover is no longer playing second fiddle to older brother Matt, who also played linebacker on the Falcons ’06 state championship team.
When the merger between Rumford and Mexico created Mountain Valley in 1989, the schedule featured Leavitt. This continued for a few years, until the Maine Principals Association in all its wisdom, decided to place the teams in different divisions. In 1993 (although located 30 minutes apart), Leavitt was placed in the east and MV remained in the west. Therefore, the Hornets must travel north on 95 and up the mid-coast, while the Falcons take 95 south.
The teams and coaches are actually somewhat familiar with each other. For the past several summers, the Falcons have been traveling to the Turner-based school to compete in 7-on-7 drills. Several other area schools join in the friendly competition.
Previous state football teams from the River Valley began six decades ago. Stephens shocked the experts by upsetting South Portland in the Class A game. Mexico won Class C in 1962 and 1968. Dixfield had success between ’62-64, in Class D; won the crown out right in ’62 and shared titles in 63 and 64. Dirigo shared the ’75 crown and disbanded in ’88. The program reorganized a decade later as a combine with Buckfield, before striking out on its own. The Cougars went unbeaten en route to winning the ’09 Class C state championship.