WINSLOW — Nobody thought it was going to be easy. Certainly none of the Winslow High football players and coaches.
Moments after the Black Raiders beat rival Waterville 49-18 Saturday afternoon to claim the Eastern Class C title, Winslow senior co-captain Zach Guptill glanced at the scoreboard and shook his head.
“We really stepped it up. We took advantage of what we were given. We did our individual tasks as well as we could, and it turned out in our favor,” said Guptill.
Winslow (9-1) will play in the state championship game for the second consecutive season. The Black Raiders will meet Leavitt (10-0) at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland next Saturday at a time to be determined.
“We seem to be peaking pretty good the last couple of weeks. I guess we have one more time to do it,” Winslow Coach Mike Siviski said.
“Waterville avenged their loss last week (a 42-27 win over Mt. Desert Island), and we avenged our only loss this week. A nice complete team effort. Waterville is a good team and we’re surprised by the margin.”
Waterville ended the season at 8-2.
“Winslow did a great job with a lot of formations and different defensive looks. It was just a little bit too much for us to overcome,” Waterville Coach Frank Knight said. “We gave it our all. They were a better team. They had a better team on the field today.”
Waterville won the regular-season meeting on its home field, 25-21. This time the Black Raiders started to pull away in the second quarter and led 28-12 at the half.
On the first drive of the third quarter, Jacob Trask intercepted a Waterville pass near midfield and returned the ball to the Purple Panthers’ 35. Three plays later, Guptill (10 carries, 58 yards) scored on a 10-yard run for a 35-12 lead.
After Waterville lost the ball on a fake punt at the Winslow 42, the Black Raiders went 58 yards in eight plays, scoring on Matt Fortier’s 8-yard run. On Winslow’s next drive, Fortier ran 45 yards to the Waterville 2, setting up Dylan Hapworth’s 2-yard touchdown run with 41.7 seconds left in the third quarter.
Hapworth carried 21 times for 142 yards.
“We didn’t let up at all. We usually get going in the second half. We knew this game meant a lot,” Guptill said.
In a semifinal win over Belfast, Winslow controlled the game by running the ball for more than 400 yards. Against Waterville, the Black Raiders came out more balanced. Three of their first five plays were passes, and quarterback Bobby Chenard was 7 of 9 for 105 yards.
“We thought they would be expecting us to just run, run, run. We have a few things we can do. So we tried to loosen them up,” Siviski said.
Travis Lazarczyk can be reached at 861-9242 or:[email protected]Twitter: TLazarczykMTM