PITTSFIELD — Maine Central Institute was the best team of the Class D North regular season. And, it turns out, also the best of the postseason.

It wasn’t even close.

Top-ranked MCI smothered, stifled and overwhelmed thirdseeded Dexter, romping to a 41-0 victory Friday night and earning a berth in the state final at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“With this big win, it’s confidence,” quarterback Josh Buker said. “You need confidence in big games like that. … I felt like we had it for this game and we showed what we can do.”

MCI (11-0) also had a 36-2 victory against Dexter (8-3) in the regular season. Again, the Tigers had no answer for MCI’s running game, passing or relentless defense.

“We knew that Dexter was going to come ready to go,” Coach Tom Bertrand said. “We knew we were going to have to respond to what they did. We knew that they were going to try to get their passing game going a little bit. We planned all week, and our kids responded and did a great job.”

The Huskies punted on their first possession, then scored on their next four drives. MCI needed eight plays to go 40 yards for its first touchdown, with Willie Moss charging in from 4 yards to make it 7-0 with 2:20 to go in the first quarter.

On MCI’s next possession, Buker (8 of 11, 132 yards; 10 carries, 78 yards) found Adam Bertrand open for a 42-yard touchdown that made it 14-0 with 11:47 to play in the half.

“I don’t know if it was blown coverage or what it was, but when you see someone wide open, all you immediately think is ‘Get him the ball,’ ” Buker said. “(I was thinking) if I hit him, he’s got enough momentum to carry it in the end zone.

“Last game we went to their house, it was a sluggish first half. We knew if we did that again, they might punish us.”

Buker found Clark Morrison on a 19-yard rollout pass on third-and-14 to extend the Huskies’ next drive, and Eli Bussell ran in from a yard out to up the advantage to 21-0 with 6:29 to go in the half.

MCI got a gift with a shanked punt to set up the next series and took advantage, covering 35 yards – with help from a Dexter personal foul call that negated a second-and-19 – in seven plays and capping it with Buker’s 5-yard run with 1:48 to go in the half.

Bussell had a 13-yard scoring run in the third quarter and Pedro Matos scored on a 9-yard run in the fourth.

Dexter managed 30 yards on 21 carries.

“They’ve got great, great run defense. We were not able to run, we were not able to throw,” Dexter co-coach Brian Salsbury said. “And that translates to field position. If we’re not moving the ball, they’re getting great field position.”

“We didn’t do a lot different as far as run defense,” Coach Bertrand said. “We tried to get the push up front, get the reads, get the keys and make the plays. Don’t miss tackles, don’t miss assignments.”

They couldn’t have done it much better.

“We feel like we’re peaking now,” Coach Bertrand said. “We know the (South) is tough. We’re going to watch Winthrop and Lisbon play (Saturday), and we know it’s going to be a heck of a game in Portland.”