Saturday, September 29, 2012

MSM: Oxford Hills football gets back on track against Lewiston

Coming into Saturday’s contest with Lewiston, the Oxford Hills Vikings football team was struggling offensively. With a record of one win and three losses and coming off back-to-back struggles against conference powerhouses Lawrence and Messalonskee, Oxford Hills first year head coach Mark Soehren turned the focus in practice this week on to getting the offense to function properly.

 “The preparation for this week was a little different,” said Soehren on Thursday’s “Coach’s Corner” for WOXO's pregame. “We had a chance to look at some film and really show the kids they do know what they’re doing on offense.”

After Saturday’s 24-6 win, it’s safe to say they do know what they are doing. Senior Ryan Godin had his best day so far as the starting quarterback, with an early touchdown from a yard out to give Oxford Hills the lead in the first quarter at 8-0.

 “I know our linemen have been working on executing and finishing blocks, and they did today”, said Godin. “He really understands what we’re trying to do out there,” said Soehren. “He’s like a coach on the field.”

The Oxford Hills offense clicked behind that offensive line, as they dominated the first half yardage against Lewiston, outgaining them 187 yards to just 11 for Lewiston. After a 17 play drive in the second quarter stalled out, Oxford Hills managed to get more points on the board on their next series with a 44 yard touchdown run from Nick Bowie to give them a 14-0 lead going into the half.

 “It was the blocking,” said Bowie after the game. “I didn’t have to do anything. Running with no one in sight is the greatest feeling ever.” “We had a 17 play drive today,” said Soehren. “Even though we didn’t score on it, it’s a great sign for this team.”

After the half, it was a whole new ballgame. Lewiston scored on the opening kickoff, as Quintarian Brown returned the opening kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-6. Oxford Hills fumbled on the next possession, but sophomore Brennan Gillespie sacked Lewiston quarterback Ace Berry in the end zone for a safety, extending the lead to 16-6. Lewiston answered with a long drive, but when it looked as though they were going to seize the momentum, Oxford Hills’ defensive back Ben Bowie intercepted an Eddie Emerson pass in the end zone with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter.

“We talk to the kids at the half and tell them it’s a 0-0 game,” said Soehren. “Sometimes when you aren’t winning games, it’s tough to find ways to win. That’s what Ben did on that play: he found a way to win.”

Dexter Turner added a 20 yard touchdown run with six minutes left to extend the lead to 24-6 and wrap up the scoring. In the postgame, many of the seniors were very emotional, as they realized this was their last homecoming. Bill Leahy, a 6 foot 5 inch and nearly three hundred pound tackle, decked out in a pink Mohawk, was holding back tears listening to his coach talk after the game.

“(The seniors) have been playing together since we were in fourth grade,” said Leahy. “We’re trying to rebuild a program here and get Oxford Hills football back on top.”

Up next for Oxford Hills, who has now doubled their win total from last year: Bangor, who has struggled so far this season, getting their first win of the season on Friday night with a victory over Mt. Ararat. The two teams square off on Friday night.



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