RUMFORD – Each yard was earned. Each yard was given grudgingly. The hits, at times, were vicious.

“It was like a heavyweight battle,” said Cam Kaubris, the Mountain Valley quarterback, of his team’s Western Class B football championship game against Wells.

“We had to punch them more than they punched us. And I think we did that.”

Relying on a defense that smothered a potent Warriors rushing game, Mountain Valley won its fifth regional championship in seven years Saturday, beating Wells 18-0 at Chet Bulger Field.

The Falcons held the Warriors — who rushed for more than 2,600 yards in 10 games — to 23 rushing yards, eliminating Wells’ outside sweeps that spurred its offense all season.

Wells had just five first downs, two because of Mountain Valley penalties.

“We knew if they got outside, there was no way we could stop them,” said Ryan Glover, a Mountain Valley linebacker. “We had to pretty much shut that down and play Mountain Valley defense like we have all season.”

The Falcons (11-0), who won state championships in 2004, 2006 and 2008, will play Leavitt, the Eastern Maine champion, next Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

The time will be set Monday by the Maine Principals’ Association.

Wells (9-2) lost twice to the Falcons this season.

“This,” said Mountain Valley Coach Jim Aylward, “was everything I thought it would be. A tough defensive game between two great teams.”

Not only did the Falcons shut down the run, they harassed Wells’ talented quarterback, Paul McDonough. He was sacked five times, totaling 36 yards in losses, and forced to hurry most of his throws.

He ended up just 4 of 14 for 50 yards.

“They’re quick and we knew that going in,” said Warriors Coach Tim Roche. “And we knew when we threw we were going to be in trouble because they send the house at you. They’re a good football team. There’s a reason why they’re undefeated.”

“Our plan was to just come in and play hard,” said Kaubris. “We have a great group of kids who just love to hit and that was really the main thing. I thnk we won it in the trenches today.”

Mountain Valley’s offensive line of tackles Tyler Morton and Isaac Ledesma, guards Rasha Lavoie and Glover, and center Nathan Nicols pushed the Warriors around. The Falcons rushed for 179 yards, led by Taylor Bradley with 70.

Mountain Valley led 12-0 at the half, getting an 11-yard touchdown run by Josh Allen in the first quarter — he carried three Warriors for the final 5 yards — and a 5-yard run by Tyler Mason in the second.

J.T. Sherburne of Wells recovered a fumble on the second play of the third quarter, giving the Warriors the ball on the Falcons’ 49. A holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards on first down. Then, on fourth-and-1, a false start forced Wells to punt.

But a short Mountain Valley punt gave Wells the ball at the Falcons’ 24. The drive was kept alive on a fourth-down pass interference penalty against the Falcons. And the Warriors appeared to score on the next play, an 11-yard sweep by Michael Moats, but a holding penalty brought that back.

Three plays later, from the 15, the Warriors appeared to score again, on a screen pass from McDonough to Moats. Again, a holding penalty wiped it out.

“You run a screen pass and you tell your kids to let (the defenders) go,” said Roche. “I just don’t get how you hold on a screen.

“But we needed to do more. That didn’t lose the game for us. We needed to be better.”

That drive was kept alive by another Mountain Valley penalty, and the Warriors faced a fourth down from the 7. That’s when Kaubris intercepted McDonough, returning the ball down the sideline into Wells territory.

That was the Warriors’ last venture into Mountain Valley territory. The Falcons got a 1-yard touchdown run by Kaubris with 4:17 remaining to make it 18-0 and seal a trip back to the state final.

“I’m excited. It’s my senior year, we’re going to the states,” said Kaubris. “It’s what every kid dreams about here. Ever since I was 3 years old, I was watching these games in the stands. It’s just such a great feeling. I can’t even explain.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]