High school football

Tale of two halves: Panthers finish on solid note against talented Black Raiders

Medomak Valley enjoys better all-around performance in quarterfinal road playoff loss to Winslow
By Ken Waltz | Nov 04, 2019
Photo by: Ken Waltz Winslow's Cody Ivey, front, catches a punt as Medomak Valley's Erik Benner (74) and Josh MacDougall (32), among others converge on Nov. 2 in high school football in Winslow. The Black Raiders beat the Panthers 42-6 in a Class C North quarterfinal playoff game.

Winslow — On one hand, Medomak Valley football players and coaches were thrilled the Panthers qualified for the Class C North playoffs. On the other hand, however, an eighth-place finish meant one thing — another showdown against powerful, championship-driven Winslow.

The same unbeaten Black Raiders who beat Medomak Valley 76-6 in Waldoboro earlier in the season and, in two Maine Principals' Association classes since the 1950s, had amassed eight state titles and finished second four times.

In Class C alone, Winslow even had recent success, including state titles in 2014 and 2015 and being state runners-up in 2012 and 2013.

So one can understand a bit of apprehension by the Panthers and their fans in playing football juggernaut Winslow — especially in the Black Raiders' enclave.

Watch video and see more photos below.

But none of that history deterred the Panthers from perhaps their finest performance of the season, which was not reflected in the final score but in the overall effort against a quality opponent.

A somewhat strange thing happened when the opponents kicked it off on a perfect Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2 for their regional quarterfinal playoff game. For the first half, the outcome was in question and the focused, hard-working No. 8 Panthers were in position to give the No. 1 Black Raiders a scare.

Winslow (8-1) clung to a 6-0 halftime lead and Medomak Valley (3-6) drove down the field and came close to scoring points at the end of the first 24 minutes.

Unfortunately, high school football games are two halves and, in the final 24 minutes, the hosts found their bearing and rolled to a 42-6 victory.

The Black Raiders led 28-6 after three quarters and added two late fourth-quarter scores for the finale.

With the victory, Winslow will host No. 4 Hermon (5-4) in the regional semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 9. Hermon beat No. 5 Belfast (5-4) 34-13 in another quarterfinal encounter.

"The kids' effort was unbelievable," said Medomak Valley coach Ryan Snell, who added that better overall team health in recent weeks allowed his squad to play more to its abilities. "We were able to control the ball in the first half and stay within striking distance down 6-0. They came out in the second half and capitalized on their opening drive and a couple turnovers when we had to take some shots.

"They’re the top seed for a reason, but we’re really proud of our kids' efforts, and glad we were able to show the type of team we are the last couple weeks when we’re back at almost full health. Our guys have nothing to hang their heads about."

Saturday's game was a tale of two halves, for sure, as Medomak Valley controlled play and the clock for much of the first 24 minutes, which effectively kept the ball from the Black Raiders, while Winslow finally got it impressive machine rolling in the final 24 minutes.

For Medomak Valley, Drew Severson finished with 16 carries for 130 yards and the team's lone touchdown. Josh MacDougall (15 carries for 43 yards), Levi Ward (8 carries for 26 yards) and Colvin Standring (5 carries for 14 yards) chipped in in the ground game.

Zeke Hesseltine finished with 15 yards passing — Gabe Shellman had nine yards and Lance Bennett six via the air.

On defense, Ward (8 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles), MacDougall (6 solos, 2 assists), Erik Benner (5 solos, assist), Drew Severson (5 solos), Shellman (3 solos), Lance Bennett (2 solos, assist), Jakob Gess (2 solos, assist, interception), Gage Seavey (2 solos), Garrett French (solo, 2 assists, Jacob Light (solo, assist) and Hesseltine (2 solos, assist, interception) keyed the Panthers.

According to a story by Travis Lazarczyk of the Morning Sentinel newspaper in Waterville, Winslow took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter on Rob Clark’s 18-yard touchdown run. Clark finished with a game-high 179 yards on 19 carries.

The Black Raiders scored quickly in the third quarter, as it took the opening drive 53 yards in seven plays after Arron Erving recovered Medomak Valley’s onside kick to start the half. Marek Widerynski caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Colby Pomeroy, and Pomeroy connected with Nathan Newgard on the two-point try for a 14-0 lead.

After Bryce Gunzinger's interception gave the Black Raiders the ball at the Panther-23, Clark ran the ball three consecutive times. The final jaunt went for 11 yards and a TD to push Winslow’s advantage to 21-0.

Winslow scored again, this time an 18-yard Pomeroy-to-Cody Ivey pass, and the lead was 28-0 with 3:13 left in the third quarter.

Medomak Valley scored its only touchdown on a 59-yard run by Severson, who had been injured for part of the season, with 1:40 left in the third quarter.

Isaiah Goldsmith finished the game with TD runs of 11 and 26 yards in the fourth quarter.

Medomak Valley at Winslow football
Winslow hosts Medomak Valley on Nov. 2 in high school football. (Video by: Ken Waltz and Zack Miller)
From left, Medomak Valley's Colvin Standring, Zeke Hesseltine, Jakob Gess, Drew Severson, a Panther assistant coach and Gabe Shellman. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Lance Bennett. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Jacob Light. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Josh MacDougall, back, and Tucker Holgerson, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Past and current Panthers on the sideline. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Jakob Gess. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Gage Seavey, right, and Winslow's Rob Clark. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Drew Severson, right, and Lance Bennett, middle, as well as Winslow's Cody Ivey, left, and Rob Clark. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Erik Benner, middle, and Jared Thompson, right, as well as Winslow's Cody Ivey. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Garrett French, left, Erik Benner (74), Josh MacDougall (32) and Jared Thompson, right, as well as Winslow's Cody Ivey. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Erik Benner, left, and Josh MacDougall, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Erik Benner, left, and Josh MacDougall, front, as well as Winslow's Rob Clark, middle, and Nathan Newgard, right. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Zeke Hesseltine, front, Josh MacDougall, back, and Lance Bennett, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Zeke Hesseltine, right, and Winslow's Cody Ivey. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Zeke Hesseltine, middle, and Gage Seavey, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Levi Ward. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Levi Ward, middle, and Gabe Shellman, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Levi Ward, left, and Zeke Hesseltine, middle, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Gage Seavey, middle, and Jared Thompson, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Zeke Hesseltine, left, and Josh MacDougall, right. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Medomak Valley's Gabe Shellman (81), Jared Thompson (66), Gage Seavey (54), Colvin Standring (25), Garrett French (52) and Jakob Gess, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Medomak Valley's Jared Thompson (66), Zeke Hesseltine (12) Garrett French (52) and Erik Benner (74), among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Medomak Valley's Gage Seavey, Levi Ward, Colvin Standring, Zeke Hesseltine and Garrett French. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Gabe Shellman. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Gabe Shellman, right, and Winslow's Marek Widerynski, middle, and Nathan Newgard, left, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Jakob Gess, left, and Erik Benner, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Erik Benner, front, with Colvin Standring. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Jakob Gess, left, Colvin Standring, back, and Erik Benner, right, as well as Winslow's Evan Bourget, middle, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Jared Thompson, front, Colvin Standring, middle, and Levi Ward, back, as well as Winslow's Rob Clark, left, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Colvin Standring, middle, and Winslow's Tyler Brockway, left, and Reid Gagnon, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Medomak Valley's Colvin Standring, left, and Winslow's Colby Pomeroy. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
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