WALDOBORO — The Medomak Valley football team ran into a tough — and talented — opponent to start the 2021 campaign on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 4 as Southern Maine’s Fryeburg Academy took a 38-0 halftime lead and maintained that advantage en route to a high school gridiron victory.

The Panthers returned to the field after playing 7-on-7 flag football in 2020 due to the pandemic. MVHS did not play traditional tackle last year, but is back to that this fall.

The Raiders were led offensively by running back Hayden Fox, who scored three touchdowns, while quarterback Gunnar Saunders added one score. Fryeburg Academy also returned an interception for a touchdown in the victory.

Medomak Valley’s Nolan Gahagan, right, and Fryeburg Academy’s Tyler Day. Photo by Ken Waltz

“We had a couple early turnovers and put ourselves in a hole,” said Panther coach Ryan Snell. “Never got into any rhythm offensively. Just one of those days. We had done well in our exhibition game, hopefully can bounce back this week. Fryeburg [Academy] is good though. Actually every ‘C’ South team beat every ‘C’ North team they played this weekend. Thankfully for us that’s our only crossover game.”

Medomak Valley’s Nathan Gess (65) and Gatlin Bedenik, back, along with Fryeburg Academy’s Bobby Hallam. Photo by Ken Waltz

Gabe Lash made an interception to lead the Medomak Valley defense, while Tucker Holgerson (4 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, fumble recovery), Isaac Simmons (4 solos, assist), Isaac Bickford (4 solos, assist), Hayden Staples (4 solos, assist), Sam Moody (3 solos) and Nolan Gahagan (3 solos) also had notable contributions.

Medomak Valley players combine for a tackle. Photo by Ken Waltz

Medomak Valley players, from left, Garret Hutchins, Hayden Staples, Jethro Pease, Coleby Ridgley, Gabe Lash and Tucker Holgerson, jog onto the field. Photo by Ken Waltz