High school football

Points made: Mariners on offensive in lopsided triumph over Crusaders

Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr. racks up five touchdowns against John Bapst, has 17 on season
By Staff | Oct 09, 2017

Rockland — The Oceanside football team has scored touchdowns in droves all season.

But on Friday night, Oct. 6 against John Bapst of Bangor at Wasgatt Field, the Mariners churned out their highest point total of the season — and got a game for the ages for senior running back Michael Norton Jr. — en route to a lopsided 57-28 high school triumph over the Crusaders.

Norton has been being heralded as one of the top players in the Big 11 Conference for many weeks and continued to lay claim to that distinction as he ended the contest with a whopping five touchdowns — three on offensive, one on defense and another on special teams.

Norton, who has 17 touchdowns on the year, racked up 151 yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns, while also returning a kick 78 yards for a touchdown and scooped up a fumble and returned it an impressive 95 yards for a score.

Four of those five touchdowns came in the second half, while the fifth came on the kick return with 2.4 seconds remaining on the clock in the first half.

He also added two quarterback sacks and eight solo tackles in the win for Oceanside.

"Michael is a special kind of athlete," said Mariner coach Wes Drinkwater. "Physically he's gifted, but he understands the game so well mentally that I think the game slows down for him. His vision on the field is amazing as well. His anticipation of what's going to happen, it's like he sees it play out in front of him before it happens."

Junior running back Ben Ripley was no slouch in the backfield for the hosts either as he racked up a whopping 202 yards on the ground on 12 carries and added two touchdowns for the Mariners.

Drinkwater credited the offensive line of Oliver Vanorse-Jones, Kirt Ilvonen, Sebastian Sanfilippo, Chris Carroll and Alex McLaughlin, along with tight ends Jack Freeman and Hunter Fowles. He said those players — in addition to freshman Joey Curtis who has spent some time on the line as well — have helped open holes as Ripley and Norton are "turning us into a two-headed monster at running back."

Quarterback Titus Kaewthong was 2-of-5 for Oceanside for 16 yards, completing a touchdown pass to Fowles and a two-point conversion to Freeman. He also booted seven extra points for the Mariners and racked up 30 yards on three carries.

Mike Yates also had 27 yards on eight carries and Jacob Curtis 27 yards on four carries for the hosts.

John Bapst held an 8-7 lead after the first quarter, while Oceanside led 28-20 at halftime. The hosts took a 42-20 lead after three quarters.

John Bapst quarterback J.J. Higgins was 19-of-30 for 204 yards and rushed for three touchdowns, while Quinn Mitchell added a touchdown on a fumble return for the Crusaders.

Leading the Mariner defense were Norton (8 tackles, 2 sacks, fumble recovery, TD), Alex McLaughlin (7 tackles), Ripley (8 tackles), Zach Cody (6 tackles), Kaewthong (6 tackles), Trevor Reed (3 tackles, interception), Michael Dougherty (4 tackles), Yates (4 tackles), Karl Ilvonen (tackle), Thomas Coombs (3 tackles), Jacob Curtis (2 tackles) and Joey Curtis (2 tackles).

In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class C North, Oceanside (4-2, 68.7500 points) is fourth, while Mount Desert Island (5-1, 101.5625 points) is first in the 11-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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