WALDOBORO — The Medomak Valley football team, playing its first night home game on Friday, Sept. 24 against Belfast, clearly enjoyed the cozy confines of its home field under the lights.

The opponents entered Friday’s high school contest with identical 1-2 records, but it was the Panthers who played stood strong and tall on both sides of the ball and prowled past the Lions by a lopsided 46-13 score.

The game was competitive early, as the Panthers led 8-6 after the first quarter before the hosts extended their advantage to 22-13 at halftime and 38-13 after three quarters.

Levi Ward led the Medomak Valley offense with touchdown runs of 11, three, two and one yards, while he also added a two-point conversion and rushed for 116 yards on 24 carries.

Belfast’s Kaden Bonin, left, and Medomak Valley’s Levi Ward. Photo by Ken Waltz

Hayden Staples also scored on a three-yard touchdown and added a pair of two-point conversions as he racked up 180 yards on 25 carries.

Wyatt Simmons also completed a two-point conversion pass to Blake Morrison. Porter Gahagan added a late touchdown run and Gabe Lash a two-point conversion to round out the scoring for the hosts.

The Panther defense held the Lions to under 10 yards of total offense, only giving up two plays on special teams — a punt return and kickoff return to Kaden Bonin in the first quarter and Andrew Abelon in the second quarter, respectively — which gave the Lions its points. Zepherin Leppanen also booted an extra point for Belfast.

Belfast’s Rico Washington, middle, as well as Medomak Valley’s Hayden Staples, left, and Gatlin Bedenik. Photo by Ken Waltz

“The kids played hard all night,” said Panther coach Ryan Snell. “It was great for them to get a home night game. The crowd and community were awesome. Offensively our line and tight ends worked hard all night, [including] tackles Connor Light and Nathan Gess, guards Jethro Pease and Marshall Addy and center Isaac Simmons, as well as the tight end rotation of Jacob Craig, Garret Hutchins and Tucker Holgerson, and wideout Blake Morrison. Wyatt Simmons was steady under center all night guiding the offense.”

After an early Panther drive stalled and resulted in a punt, the Lions got on the board when Bonin returned the kick to the end zone, which gave the visitors a 6-0 lead.

Belfast players, including James Whiting (77), Gabe Kelley (28), Thomas Littlefield (54), Andrew Abelon (11) and Rico Washington (43), among others. Photo by Ken Waltz

Medomak Valley then drove down the field and, after an 11-yard touchdown on the ground and two-point conversion from Ward, the hosts took the lead and never relinquished it.

Ward added a one-yard TD plunge and Staples a two-point conversion to make the score 16-6 before the Abelon returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown as the Lions clawed within 16-13.

However, Belfast got no closer as Ward cashed in on a three-yard touchdown run, which put Medomak Valley up 22-13 at halftime.

Medomak Valley’s Isaac Simmons, left, and Belfast’s Gabe Kelley. Photo by Ken Waltz

The Panthers continued to extend its lead through the second half, as they outscored the Lions 24-0 over the game’s final 24 minutes.

Porter Gahagan (2 carries for 28 yards), Gabe Lash (2 carries for 18 yards), Nolan Gahagan (2 carries for 6 yards) and Anthony Francis (2 carries for 6 yards) also contributed on offense for MVHS.

Belfast’s Andrew Abelon. Photo by Ken Waltz

Defensively, Kaden Wright (4 solo tackles), Nolan Gahagan (3 solos), Gatlin Bedenik (3 solos, 2 assists), Garret Hutchins (3 solos), Xavier Woodbury (3 solos), Tucker Holgerson (2 solos), Sam Moody (2 solos), Isaac Simmons (2 solos), Marshall Addy (solo, assist), Walker Simmons (tackle), Colby Buck (solo) and Kaleb Dodge (forced fumble) keyed Medomak Valley.