Shipbuilders sail past Mariners in gridiron season openerOceanside football falls short in team's, coach's first game
Rockland — The Oceanside High School football team's debut in the Campbell Conference and Western Class B fell a little short against Morse of Bath Friday night, Sept. 6 as the Mariners dropped a 23-16 home- and season-opening decision to the Shipbuilders in a game played under the lights at Wasgatt Field.
The former Rockland District High School football program also played in the Campbell Conference in 2002 when the Tigers toiled in Western Class C.
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This year's Mariners are guided by first-year coach Wes Drinkwater, a former Tiger football player.
“We were aggressive and I liked the effort from our kids, but we were sloppy and I think our inexperience showed in the first half,” said Drinkwater. “I was very happy with the way our kids fought back in the second half. I'll give credit to Morse, they made big plays on third and fourth down. It's going to be a process building this program the way I want and I knew that coming in.”
On Friday night, the Shipbuilders built a 17-point lead in the third quarter on touchdown runs of two yards by quarterback Matt Belanger and five yards by wing back James Laser, as well as a field goal and two extra points by Ethan Winglass, before the Mariners could answer. Morse led 10-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Mariner Ryan Allendar took a pitch from quarterback Hunter Grindle and Allendar, also a quarterback, lobbed a pass to Cole Chase for a 13-yard score. Preston Spear's two-point rush brought Oceanside within 17-8.
The Mariners then were able to hold the Shipbuilders in check by allowing the visitors only one first down and the hosts secured strong field position on the ensuring punt at their own 46-yard line. However, the Mariners' drive was stalled when Grindle was sacked for a 23-yard loss just prior to the end of the third stanza.
Morse then went on a 17-play drive from its own 11-yard line to the Mariner three before Belanger was sacked on the Mariner 5-yard line and Morse turned the ball over on downs. That long drive, however, spearheaded by running back Liam McDonough, who finished with 117 yards on 28 carries for the game, chewed up more than eight minutes on the clock.
The Mariners then completed one pass to Preston Spear for six yards before turning the ball over on downs at their own 10-yard line. Two plays later, Laser ran the ball in from six yards out to push the Shipbuilders ahead 23-8.
On the ensuing kickoff, Spear took the ball near the Mariner 30-yard line, eluded one tackler, and then stepped to the outside and raced down the home sideline for an crowd-pleasing 70-yard touchdown return. The two-point conversion rush by Grindle brought the score to 23-16.
However, Morse was able to run out the clock after recovering an on-side kick.
Morse rushed for 208 yards on 59 carries and Belanger completed 1-of-4 passes for 35 yards. The Mariners rushed for 78 yards on 25 carries and completed five passes for 53 yards and had two interceptions.
For Oceanside, Spear had three kickoff returns for 108 yards, three receptions for 25 yards and 10 yards rushing for the Mariners in a stellar all-around performance. Grindle finished with eight carries for 24 yards and was 4-of-8 passing for 45 yards, with two interceptions. Garrett Burns had 34 yards on seven carries and Damien Ball 16 yards on six carries for the Mariners.
Doug Curtis, a Rockland District High School graduate and former Tiger football player, has compiled game statistics for the Tigers and Mariners for years.