BELFAST — The Medomak Valley football team came out and fired on all cylinders — offense, defense and special teams — on the road on Friday night, Sept. 2 at Dennis “Bear” Bryant Field against host Belfast.

The Panthers were stalled on their first drive, but it was all systems go through the remainder of the first half as they put on an offensive clinic — largely through the air — against the young Lions and prowled to a lopsided, 42-6 season-opening high school gridiron victory.

Like the official behind him, Medomak Valley’s Gabe Lash signals touchdown. Photo by Mark Haskell

Medomak Valley led 8-0 after the first quarter, 34-0 at halftime and 42-6 after three quarters before the game went to running time (with one team leading by 35-plus points) the rest of the way.

Wyatt Simmons finished 11-of-17 under center and threw for 140 yards, three touchdown passes and three two-point conversions in the win for Medomak Valley.

Two of those TD passes went to Blake Morrison and another to Tucker Holgerson, while Hayden Staples added a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Medomak Valley’s Wyatt Simmons, left, and Belfast’s Gabe Kelley. Photo by Mark Haskell

Gatlin Bedenik caught a pair of two-point conversions and Liam Wilson rushed for a pair, while Staples added one two-point conversion catch. Aaron Reed also returned an interception for a touchdown to round out Medomak Valley’s scoring.

Belfast, which did not convert a first down in the first half, had its lone score on an interception return for a touchdown by Eli Veilleux in the third quarter.

“Medomak played a great game,” said Belfast coach Art Fairbrother. “Proud of BAHS. Despite adversity, we never quit. We are a young team and improving every day. We will learn from this experience and only get better.”

Medomak Valley’s Connor Light (74), among others. Photo by Mark Haskell

The opponents went three-and-out on their first possessions, but the Panthers struck first with 5:16 to go in the first quarter when Morrison hauled in a diving, one-handed touchdown catch from 16 yards from Wyatt Simmons. After Wilson rushed in the two-point try, Medomak Valley quickly led 8-0.

On the visitors’ next possession — which extended into the second quarter — they got long catches by Gabe Lash and Jaiden Starr to put the Panthers deep in Lion territory.

The Lion defense forced a fourth down, but the Panthers responded with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wyatt Simmons to Holgerson. Wyatt Simmons was heavily pressured on the two-point try and tossed up a prayer — which was hauled in by Bedenik — to double Medomak Valley’s advantage.

Medomak Valley’s Wyatt Simmons (12), among others. Photo by Mark Haskell

Belfast’s next possession went quickly as Medomak Valley’s Marshall Addy got through on a quarterback sack before Reed picked off an Elias Higgins pass and strolled in for a touchdown from seven yards, while Bedenik’s second conversion catch put the Panthers up 24-0 with 9:42 to go in the half.

The Lions could not get anything going their way in the first half as they again were pinned deep in their own territory and had a punt sail through the end zone for a safety before Morrison caught another touchdown pass from Wyatt Simmons — followed by a conversion catch by Staples — to put the Panthers ahead 34 points.

The battle on the line of scrimmage, with Belfast’s Elias Higgins (12) at quarterback. Photo by Mark Haskell

In the third quarter, Belfast got on the board when Veilleux returned an interception for a TD with 5:46 to go, but Medomak Valley went down the field in two plays on the next possession — aided by a long kick return by Reed — which resulted in a nine-yard touchdown run for Staples and a conversion rush by Wilson.

Staples rushed for 42 yards on five carries, while Wilson (2 carries for 6 yards), Reed (3 carries for 13 yards), Bedenik (carry for 2 yards), Holgerson (carry for 4 yards) and Shamus Pease (4 carries for 24 yards) also contributed on the ground for Medomak Valley.

Through the air, Bedenik (4 catches for 19 yards), Morrison (2 catches for 30 yards), Lash (catch for 35 yards), Starr (catch for 23 yards), Holgerson (2 catches for 30 yards) and Staples (catch for 3 yards) paced the Panthers.

On defense, the visitors were keyed by Reed (interception, 6 solo tackles, assisted tackle), Coleby Ridgely (2 solos), Kaden Wright (6 solos), Holgerson (assist), Isaac Simmons (5 solos, assist), Addy (2 solos, sack), Porter Gahagan (3 solos), Bedenik (solo, interception), Staples (solo), Morrison (3 solos), Sam Moody (solo), Xavier Woodbury (solo), Walker Simmons (3 solos), Nathan Gess (solo), Starr (solo), Ethan Wood (3 solos), Cole Bales (2 solos), Brody Vigue (solo) and Levi Simmons (solo).