Before their game against Bangor last Friday, Oxford Hills head football coach Mark Soehren sat down for his usual “Coach’s Corner” segment. He went back to the Lewiston game and Ben Bowie’s interception that changed the tide of the game.
“We believe we’re trending upward,” said Soehren. “The biggest thing from last week wasn’t just the win; it was the fact that at some point, we refused to lose. The defense made a play (Bowie’s interception), the offense responded with a drive to put it of reach. Good teams find a way to win.”
Down 15-14 to Bangor with seven minutes and fourteen second left at their own 34 yard line, the Vikings went on the biggest drive of their season. It got off to an inauspicious start, as the Vikings were facing a fourth down and seven after Ryan Godin was stopped on third down. A flag for a facemask was thrown on Bangor, making it fourth and two. The Vikings went for it and got the first down a five yard run from Malik Geiger, and they were off. When the smoke had cleared and the dust had settled, the Vikings found themselves at the three yard line of Bangor, facing a fourth down with the game and possibly their season the line with 42.7 seconds remaining. Soehren called timeout to call the play, but it was quarterback Ryan Godin who made the call.
“I wanted to call something we could, but wanted to call something the kids believed in,” said Soehren. “We haven’t had a lot of success in the kicking game, which is why we’re a two-point conversion team. Ryan said to me ‘Coach, 32 (play number)’. That’s his number, so I gave it to him.”
“Coach told me (play number) 14, and I told him no ’32, 32’,” said Godin after the game. “I knew had Dexter blocking for me, it was a great feeling. All of our backs run hard and we’re not going to go down on first contact.”
Godin was met in the backfield, but kept his legs moving and churned forward for the touchdown. Davis Turner added the two-point conversion, making it 22-15 Vikings with 36.1 seconds left. The defense turned away a last-gasp drive from Bangor, and left town with their third win on the season, tripling their output from last season, evening their record at 3-3 and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
“This is why we play the game,” said Soehren. “This is why we put in the hours watching film and being in the weight room. That’s the design, minus relying on the facemask penalty, to dink and dunk and get down to the end zone. I have to credit the kids and the staff for everything that has happened so far. This is why we do it.”
Down 9-0 to Bangor early in the second quarter, the Vikings looked to be getting on track with a solid drive. A block below the waist penalty put the Vikings back at their own 38 yard line, 25 yards away from a first down. Malik Geiger, who had a huge first game against Skowhegan and bounced back with a good day against Lewiston, went up the middle virtually untouched for a 62 yard touchdown. Davis Turner ran in the two point conversion and the Vikings found themselves within one. On the next drive, Godin gave the Vikings the lead with a one yard touchdown run, and the Vikings went into halftime with a 14-9 lead, which held up until Bangor’s Matt Cosgrove, son of Maine head football coach who finished with 10 catches for 113 yards, caught a 32 yard touchdown pass, giving the Rams a 15-14 lead with 7:21 remaining in the game.
Godin rushed 19 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Malik Geiger had a big game himself with 118 yards on 13 carries, and the Vikings had 302 rushing yards on 52 attempts (5.8 yards per carry) as team. The defense kept the Rams to 95 yards, but did allow 152 yards passing to Bangor’s Carl Farnham. Linebacker Jordan Croteau had 10 tackles, and got six more each from Wolfe Raasumaa and Tony Taylor, who had a great night disrupting Bangor's offensive backfield.
Bangor jumped out early with a 9-0 lead, opening the scoring with a safety on the second Oxford Hills offensive play, then going 39 yards on the ensuing drive, getting a four yard run from Zeb Tuell to go up 9-0.
When asked if he would have believed it if told before the season that Oxford Hills would head up to Bangor and leave with a .500 record, Godin exhaled.
“Honestly, probably not,” he said. “But it feels so good.”
Coach's Corner Week 6:
Full Game with postgame interviews: