BANGOR — In its fifth year as a full-fledged varsity program, the Medomak Valley football team took a giant step forward and qualified for its first state Class C championship game on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Cameron Stadium.

The Panthers established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in their route to Saturday’s title game, but undefeated Leavitt of Turner has been a powerhouse in 2022.

Medomak Valley Panther Tyler Metcalf fires up the crowd. Photo by Ken Waltz

Little changed in that regard Saturday afternoon as the Hornets stung early, often and swarmed the Panthers from start to finish to win their fifth state title in school history with an emphatic, 46-6 high school gridiron victory.

The Hornets finished the season with an unblemished 11-0 record and outscored three playoff opponents by a combined 153-34, while the Panthers ended their campaign at 9-3 and outscored four postseason foes by a combined 118-79.

Medomak Valley’s Hayden Staples is swarmed by the Hornets. Photo by Ken Waltz

On Saturday, in a game played in front of hundreds of vocal, supportive fans and with temperatures in the high-30s, Leavitt was led offensively by quarterback Noah Carpenter, who rushed for a pair of touchdowns and tossed two more to Brett Coburn and Beau Mayo. He also tossed a pair of two-point conversion passes to Coburn and Nick Morin, while Dayton Calder added a pair of touchdown runs and Sawyer Hathaway one rushing score for the Hornets.

The Hornets led 12-0 after the first quarter, 24-0 at halftime and 40-0 after three quarters, with the majority of the second half played with a running clock, which happens after a team leads by more than 35 points.

The Medomak Valley Panthers run on to the field before the game. Photo by Ken Waltz

Leavitt led 46-0 late in the game before Hayden Staples rushed for a seven-yard touchdown with less than five minutes to play to give Medomak Valley its lone score of the contest.

Medomak Valley, the Class C North champions, defeated No. 8 Belfast 51-0 in the quarterfinals, No. 5 Winslow 21-13 in the semifinals and No. 2 Hermon 40-20 in the regional championship game.

Leavitt, the Class C South champions, received a bye in the quarterfinals, defeated No. 5 Cheverus of Portland 64-28 in the semifinals and No. 3 Cape Elizabeth 43-0 in the regional championship game.

Leavitt’s Noah Carpenter, left, and Medomak Valley’s Gabe Lash, among others. Photo by Ken Waltz

Team members for Medomak Valley, coached by Ryan Snell along with assistants Jason Stewart, Ryan DiPompo, Chad Light, Tyeler Stewart and Keith Simmons, include Blake Morrison, Gabe Lash, Jaiden Starr, Liam Wilson, Devin Secotte, Hayden Staples, Chase Peaslee, Kory Donlin, Wyatt Simmons, Wyatt Simmons, Anthony Francis, Gatlin Bedenik, Brody Vigue, Austin Wilshire, Jay Jones, Ethan Wood, Aaron Reed, Logan Vigue, Gabe White, Josh Blake, Shamus Pease, Grady Pease, Gauge Boyington, Gabe Jones, Brayden Ciasullo, Gavin Clark, Tucker Holgerson, Porter Gahagan, Kaden Wright, Gage McIntire, Isaac Simmons, Cole Bales, Marshall Addy, Xavier Woodbury, Jaxon Day, Donnie Havener, Roger Steele, Steven Wheeler, Kayden Johnson, Gage Austin, Nathan Gess, Sam Moody, Luke Camber, Jonathan Brann, Walker Simmons, Bryent Harvey, Connor Light, Coleby Ridgley, Colby Buck and Levi Simmons. The managers are Ashley Abruzese, Kaylee Kurr, Landen Stewart and Claudia Feeley.

Medomak Valley’s Blake Morrison (0), Sam Moody (66), Nathan Gess (65) and Gatlin Bedenik (15), among others. Photo by Ken Waltz

Team members for Leavitt, coached by Mike Hathaway, include Mason Henderson, Brett Coburn, Dayton Calder, Noah Carpenter, Colten Taylor, Sawyer Hathaway, Brendan Bickford, Nick Morin, Reed Heutz, Aiden Turcotte, Ian Garcia, Landon Daigle, Brock Poulin, Braydon Letourneau, Brandon Bilodeau, Riley Meisner, Chase Webster, Braxton Rowe, Alden Nickerson, Will Keach, Phineas Scherrer, Keegan Reny, Maddox Demers, Jacob Mellen, Nash Angstrom, Nick Mellen, Tristan Buck, Daigan Gunzinger, Joe Nickerson, Cole Hudson, Dillon Girard, Beau Mayo, Matthew Rementer, Jace Nealey, Brady Barclay, Xazavior Gray, Reid Langlois, Maddox Girard, Grady Mayo, Jayce Kuvaja, Kaden James, Gaige Rancourt, Camrin Libby and Parker Gilben.

Leavitt scored on its first three possessions and quickly took an 18-0 lead (failing on all three conversions) and were aided by three short fields after a pair of short Medomak Valley punts and one turnover on downs.

Medomak Valley’s Marshall Addy, left, and Wyatt Simmons. Photo by Ken Waltz

The Panthers were forced to punt on their first possession after five straight runs by Staples, which allowed the Hornets to set up shop at the 50-yard line.

Leavitt then put together an eight-play, 50-yard drive that culminated when Carpenter received the snap, grabbed the back of a Hornet offensive lineman and rode him into the end zone for a five-yard score with 5:58 to go in the opening quarter.

Medomak Valley’s ensuing possession came up short on four plays after Gahagan, on a fourth-and-short, was stuffed at the line of scrimmage by Negley, which gave Leavitt the ball back at the 41-yard line.

From left, Medomak Valley’s Tucker Holgerson, Isaac Simmons, Wyatt Simmons, Landen Stewart, Hayden Staples and Connor Light. Photo by Ken Waltz

Two plays later — after a long pass up the right sideline to Hathaway — Calder took the jet sweep and scooted into the end zone for a 21-yard score with 3:23 to go in the stanza.

After another short possession ended in a Panther punt, the Hornets — on a drive that extended into the second quarter — got a four-yard rushing TD by Calder and took an 18-0 lead with 11:48 to go in the half.

The Panthers churned up the majority of the second quarter clock before turning the ball over on downs after a quarterback sack by Negley on Wilson with 4:50 to go in the half, but the Medomak Valley defense made its first stop of the game with 3:23 to go when Lash intercepted a deep ball thrown by Carpenter.

Medomak Valley’s Landen Stewart. Photo by Ken Waltz

Medomak Valley could not move the ball and punted to Leavitt with 2:02 to go, with the Hornets a mere 30 yards from the end zone.

Three plays later, Carpenter — who displayed a little razzle-dazzle — completed a pass to Hathaway who executed a perfect hook-and-ladder to Mayo — who cashed in from eight yards as the Hornets took a 24-0 lead into halftime.

The Hornets fumbled on the kickoff to start the third quarter and on its first play of their next possession and eventually faced a fourth down, but Carpenter picked up a couple blocks and went the distance on a backbreaking 60-yard touchdown run with 9:48 to go in the third.

After the conversion pass, Leavitt held a 32-0 edge.

The Panthers again punted on their next possession, while the Hornets followed suit with 34-yard touchdown pass from Carpenter to Coburn — and a conversion catch by Morin — to take a 40-point lead and enable the running clock.

Hathaway rushed for a nine-yard score midway through the fourth quarter for Leavitt, while Medomak Valley got on the board on the game’s waning minutes after a seven-yard score by Staples with 4:59 to play.

Lash and Peaslee had interceptions, while Woodbury added a quarterback sack to help key Medomak Valley’s defense.

As he had all season, Staples keyed the Panther offense with another yeoman performance, as he finished with 25 carries for 95 yards and TD.

Additionally, Gahagan (carry for 3 yards), Peaslee (5 carries for 25 yards), Wyatt Simmons (carry for 3 yards) and Bedenik (2 carries for 2 yards) chipped in on the ground.

On defense, Reed (7 solo tackles, assisted tackle), Staples (8 solos), Bedenik (3 solos, 2 assists), Wood (5 solos), Lash (2 solos, assist, interception), Peaslee (4 solos, 3 assists, interception), Isaac Simmons (2 solos, assist), Wright (2 solos, assist), Woodbury (2 solos, sack), Holgerson (2 solos), Vigue (solo), Secotte (solo) and Starr (solo) led the charge for the Panthers.