High school football

Oceanside starts fast, stays strong against Medomak Valley

In first gridiron game between longstanding athletic rivals, Mariners carry day versus host Panthers
By Mark Haskell | Sep 30, 2017
Photo by: Ken Waltz Medomak Valley's Eli Miller, middle, flies out of bounds near the Panther bench after being pulled by Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong, right, and hit by Michael Dougherty (13) in a Sept. 29 high school football game in Waldoboro. The visiting Mariners beat the Panthers 35-7.

Waldoboro — The dawning of what hopefully is a longstanding rivalry on the football field in the Midcoast began on Friday night, Sept. 29 as Medomak Valley hosted Oceanside in a midseason showdown under the lights off Manktown Road.

And, at least on this night, the Mariners were in control from the opening kickoff to the final whistle against their neighbors to the south.

The Mariners used a four-headed rushing attack and wore down the Panthers throughout the contest, taking the first official varsity game between the schools with ease to the tune of a decisive 35-7 victory.

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Oceanside, which, combined with the former Rockland District High School collectively has more than 100 years of football history, took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter before adding three more scores in the second to take a 28-0 advantage at halftime. The Mariners maintained that same advantage after three quarters.

Medomak Valley is a relatively new program, having been a varsity team a couple of years after a few seasons as a club sport. However, the Panthers continue to grow, learn and should be set for success for years to come.

But on Friday, the more experienced and talented team prevailed.

“I thought the first half was great,” said Oceanside coach Wes Drinkwater. “We did a lot of things good, [but] in the second half things got a little chippy there and it was kind of sloppy.”

It is no secret that Oceanside’s most potent offensive weapon is senior running back Mike Norton Jr., but the Mariners spread the offensive wealth throughout the 48-minute affair Friday night as Ben Ripley, Michael Yates and Jacob Curtis also effectively toted the rock several times for the visitors.

Ripley and Yates found the end zone twice in the winning effort for Oceanside, while Norton added one score — the first of the game — on a 5-yard run with 7:11 left in the first quarter.

Ripley rushed for 161 yards on 16 carries, while Norton (10 carries for 100 yards), Titus Kaewthong (3 carries for 16 yards), Curtis (5 carries for 48 yards), Yates (8 carries for 51 yards) also racked up yards on the ground for the visitors.

Kaewthong, who is the team’s quarterback and place kicker, also booted five extra points on the night. He also completed a 40-yard pass to Jack Freeman.

Medomak Valley's Darius Pierpont completed four passes for 71 yards, while Eli Miller (32 rushing yards), Gabe Shellman (19-yard catch) and Tyler Simmons (15 rushing yards, 52 receiving yards) paced the hosts on offense.

Oceanside seldom went to the air and stuck with their ground attack, particularly with a significant size advantage in the trenches against Medomak Valley.

By comparison, the Panthers struggled to move the ball against the Mariners for much of the contest. And when they did, the gains were typically negated by penalties.

Panther coach Ryan Snell said while the rivalry between the schools did not get off to a great start from his vantage point, “It’s a rivalry we hope will develop.”

“It has to start somewhere,” he said. “They’re a very good team and we knew that. When we make mistakes and have penalties and put ourselves in a hole, [it] doesn’t make anything easier for us.”

Oceanside also had its share of penalties in the game, but many came in the second half, with the game already seemingly in hand for the visitors.

The Mariners received the opening kickoff and after a long, methodical drive, Norton cashed in on a 5-yard touchdown run to put the visitors up 7-0.

Medomak Valley had a long first drive of its own but was forced to punt, while Oceanside’s second possession trickled into the second quarter.

There, the Panther defense stood tall when the Mariners went for it on fourth down, forcing a turnover.

Oceanside’s next possession saw Ripley rack up a bundle of yards on the ground and, after being aided by a 15-yard penalty against the Panthers, Yates barreled in from eight yards with 7:48 to play in the half to give the visitors a 14–0 lead.

The Panthers then racked up two penalties on their next offensive drive and went for it on a fourth-and-18, only to have Norton sack quarterback Darius Pierpont as the Mariners took over on downs.

The ensuing Oceanside drive saw Ripley again rip off several big gains — including a 30-yard run on a sweep with Norton leading the block party — and Ripley scored his second touchdown from four yards with 2:44 remaining in the half.

Norton and Ripley added big gains later on another Oceanside score with 49 seconds left to put the visitors in front 28-0.

Medomak Valley had a long run back on the opening kickoff of the second half — and were aided by a 15-yard Oceanside penalty — but the Panthers committed a pair of penalties of their own, which negated strong field position and forced the hosts to punt.

“We’re not experienced enough or good enough quite yet to overcome putting ourselves in big holes like that,” said Snell.

Yates added a 5-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to put the Mariners ahead 35-0, which invoked the running-clock rule.

Drinkwater said the Mariners — which featured a double-wing offense against the Panthers — began running that formation a few weeks ago after a handful of injuries forced them to “go to a basic run-heavy offense and try to emphasize what we do best.”

“We were doing more spread stuff [early on] but then Titus got hurt up at Mountain Valley and we lost that game,” the coach said. “And I realized we weren’t emphasizing everybody. [We were] trying to put the bulk of the load on Titus and Michael and it just didn’t fit. And this just fits us better. It’s not real exciting, but you eat up negative plays and you eat up clock.”

Medomak Valley cashed in on a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Pierpont with 2:09 to go to put the hosts on the scoreboard, while Josh Goldrup converted the extra-point kick.

“It’s good to finish one off,” said Snell. “We had a couple drives early in the game that we thought were going well that we thought we should have got some points out of, but we shoot ourselves in the foot and we don’t get them. But it’s nice to get one at the end there to have a positive to kind of build on.”

Oceanside center Kirt Ilvonen, an immense presence on the offensive and defensive lines, went down in the first half with a knee/leg injury and did not return, but Drinkwater said freshman Joey Curtis “had a hell of a game for us.”

Drinkwater said Ilvonen has a bone bruise and will likely be ready to play next week.

The veteran Mariner coach also praised the Panthers and the work they put in over the past few years to rise to the varsity ranks, mentioning athletic director Matt Lash, coach Ryan Snell and “the whole Miller family,” particularly Naomi Miller, who is the president of Medomak Youth Football.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “I hope it’s something that builds to be a big rivalry as long as I’m here.”

“It’s great for the Midcoast that we can have this rivalry now for football and hopefully it’s here for years to come,” said Snell. “Our youth teams play each other all the time and once we get a little more experience here and a little more competitive it’s going to be great.”

Leading the Mariner defense was Alex McLaughlin (7 solo tackles, quarterback sack), Norton (14 solos, 2 sacks), Freeman (8 solos), Kaewthong (6 solos, interception), Ripley (5 solos), Trevor Reed (3 solos), Kirt Ilvonen (solo), Michael Dougherty (2 solos), Yates (2 solos), Thomas Coombs (3 solos), Curtis (solo, 2 sacks) and Tim Mazzeo (2 solos).

Leading the Panther defense was Erik Benner (4 solos, 10 assists), Garrett Bowers (6 solos, 6 assists) and Miller (6 solos, 5 assists).

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Oceanside (3-2, 37.5000 points) is fourth, while Medomak Valley (1-4, 1.2500 points) is 10th. Winslow (4-1, 70.0000 points) is first in the 11-team region. The top eight squads qualify for the playoffs.

Oceanside at Medomak Valley football
Medomak Valley hosts Oceanside on Sept. 29 in high school football in Waldoboro. (Video by: Zack Miller of VStv)
Medomak Valley's Gabe Shellman, front, and Oceanside's Thomas Coombs. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Eli Miller (19) and Oceanside's Ben Ripley, front, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Dustin Cote, left, and Thomas Coombs. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr. (2) and Medomak Valley's Brian Pollard (8), among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomakk Valley's Josh Goldrup. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong, left, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Korbin Daniels, with ball, along with Erik Benner (74) and Eli Miller (19), as well as Oceanside's Michael Dougherty (13) and Jack Freeman, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong, with ball, makes an interception. Among others are Oceanside's Michael Dougherty (13) and Alex McLaughlin (69), along with Medomak Valley's Josh Goldrup (17). (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Korbin Daniels. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Tyler Simmons, right, and Oceanside's Michael Dougherty. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Darius Pierpont. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Darius Pierpont (11), as well as Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., middle, and Oliver Vanorse-Jones. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Darius Pierpont (11), as well as Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., middle, and Oliver Vanorse-Jones. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Ben Ripley. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Kirt Ilvonen, middle, Titus Kaewthong (4) and Jacob Curtis (6), among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Darius Pierpont (11), Eli Miller (19) and Alex Clevette (29), along with Oceanside's Jacob Curtis, right, and Jack Freeman. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Jacob Curtis, middle, and a slew of other players. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Michael Yates (52), Michael Dougherty (13), Jack Freeman (9) and Ben Ripley show concern for injured teammate Kirt Ilvonen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Kirt Ilvonen, middle, hobbles to the sideline. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., left, and Tim Mazzeo, right, along with Medomak Valley's Tyler Simmons. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., middle, and Tim Mazzeo, back left, along with Medomak Valley's Tyler Simmons (26) and Elijah Lash. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley players try to block an extra-point kick by Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong (4). (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Nick Viles. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Tyler Simmons, right, and Josh Goldrup (17), along with Oceanside's Michael Yates (52) and Michael Dougherty. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong, left, and Medomak Valley's Eli Miller. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong (4) and Medomak Valley's Eli Miller (19), among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside players huddle. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong (4), Hunter Fowles (17) and Alex MaLaughlin right, as well as Medomak Valley's Drew Severson, left. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Tyler Simmons, right, and Oceanside's Michael Dougherty. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Titus Kaewthong, left, and Ben Ripley, right, along with Medomak Valley's Tyler Simmons. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
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