Undermanned Mariners stung by home-standing HornetsDespite numbers crunch, Oceanside exceeds expectations against talented Leavitt
Turner — Dressing only 19 players for the game, the Oceanside football team looked to be in for a long night Friday, Oct. 12 as the Mariners made the long trek to face Leavitt, the three-time defending Eastern Class B champions.
However, despite their lower number of available players and a few costly turnovers during the game, the Mariners exceeded expectations and hung tough with the mighty Hornets (6-1) in the early going before eventually falling 42-16 to the hosts.
It has been, at times, a somewhat strange season for coach Woody Moore and the Mariners, who must win their regular-season finale on Friday, Oct. 19 against visiting Morse of Bath — and get help from others in the Pine Tree Conference — if Oceanside hopes to earn a spot in the regional playoffs.
Oceanside began the campaign with 37 players, but dressed 19 for Friday's game due to a mixture of players being sidelined due to injury or ineligible due to academic reasons. Coach Moore said he feels the team "will pick up a couple more" players and should have "over 20" in uniform against the Shipbuilders in the season finale.
"I was pleased that the kids played as a unit and had their opportunities," said Moore of Friday's game with the Hornets.
Sam Meklin and Preston Spear scored touchdowns for Oceanside, while Matt Zable and Dan Hendricks cashed in two-point conversions. Quarterback Meklin was 12-of-19 passing for the Mariners for 164 yards and two interceptions, while Hendricks (9 rushes for 41 yards), Travis Stone (8 rushes for 45 yards), Meklin (8 rushes for 7 yards) and Spear (3 rushes for 3 yards) led the visitors on the ground.
Hendricks hauled in five catches for 80 yards, while Zable (3 catches for 31 yards), Jacob Butman (2 receptions for 41 yards), Ellery Montgomery (reception for 9 yards) and Spear (reception for 3 yards also made plays.
Leading the Mariner defense were Hendricks (10 solo tackles, 4 assisted tackles, quarterback sack, fumble recovery), Zable (5 solos, assist), Meklin (7 solos, 2 assists, sack), Butman (3 solos, assist), Spear (4 solos, assist), Travis Stone (3 solos, interception), Trenton Jarrett (5 solos), Tony Baudanza (5 solos), Montgomery (solo, assist) and Dylan McClean (solo, assist).
The Mariners drove down the field quickly on their first possession and reached the 4-yard line before fumbling the ball to the Hornets. It was the first of what would be three turnovers inside the 5-yard line for Oceanside, two of which were on the 1-yard line.
Leavitt scored quickly on a 96-yard touchdown to put the visitors in a hole.
Oceanside trailed 22-8 at halftime when coach Moore made the call for an onside kick. The Mariners recovered, but could not find the end zone.
The Mariners stuffed Leavitt on its next possession and then moved the ball down the field quickly to set up a first-and-goal on the 1-yard-line, but again the visitors coughed up the ball to the Hornets.
Leavitt then drove down the field and scored, but Spear returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, to make the score 30-16, following the two-point conversion. Spear racked up 138 yards on five kick returns for the Mariners.
The Hornets added two more touchdowns late to round out the scoring.
Statistical information for Leavitt was unavailable.
In the Maine Principals' Association Crabtree Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Oceanside (2-5, 80.4519 points) is tied for 10th, while Mount Blue of Farmington (6-0, 152.7273 points) is first in the 14-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs. Mount Blue's victory over Morse is not included in the most recent standings.
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