CUMBERLAND – Marshwood scored the first 27 points to start the game and went on defeat Greely 41-16 Friday night in a season opening Western Class B football game.
The Hawks rushed for 353 yards. Sam Woodman led the way with 111 yards and three touchdowns.
“This is my first year starting on varsity,” Woodman said. “I’ve always been behind seniors, watching and learning. Now it’s my senior year. It feels pretty good, especially seeing that scoreboard after the game. I’m excited about the future of this team.”
While Woodman did his damage on outside sweeps, junior Brett Gerry pounded the ball between the tackles and finished with 124 yards and a touchdown.
“We have hard runners,” said Gerry, who ran for 1,200 yards last season. “They all know the system and what’s going on. We have a lot of depth, too. We’ve got a lot of good athletes at the running back position.”
Marshwood quarterback Luc Blanchette threw eight times for 37 yards, but ran for 81 yards and a touchdown. Junior Jackson Howarth rounded out the Hawks’ rushing attack, opening holes for Gerry all game.
The Hawks started fast. Ryan O’Neil’s 66-yard punt return touchdown gave the defending regional champs a 21-0 lead with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. Woodman’s second score extended the lead to 27-0 with 8:46 to play in the half.
Quarterback Matt Pisini helped the Rangers get back into the game. He hit Connor Hanley for a 45-yard touchdown and ran for a 2-point conversion. Then Pisini made the first of his two interceptions.
On the ensuing drive, he found Hanley again with a jump ball in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. A conversion run by Sam Peck drew Greely within 27-16, and the Rangers had momentum going into halftime.
“Initially, I think our guys didn’t believe they deserved to play with Marshwood,” Greely Coach Dave Higgins said. “And I think they finally realized after their nerves calmed down that we can play with them. In the first half, we came back, and we did a great job. But they just wore us out.”
On the opening drive of the second half, the Hawks picked up five first downs, running the ball and eating up 6:44. Woodman scored his third touchdown on a 4-yard run, and Marshwood maintained control for the rest of the game.
“We’ve got to play with a little more poise and confidence,” Marshwood Coach Alex Rotsko said. “We gave up a score and got rattled, which surprised me. But we settled down.”