GRAY — At the beginning of the season, Gray-New Gloucester High football coach Mark Renna told his senior running back Austin Chase that he was going to run him until his legs fell off.

They haven’t yet, but those legs sure must be tired.

Chase carried 32 times for 218 yards and scored four touchdowns Friday night as Gray-New Gloucester continued its stunning start with a 36-0 victory over Freeport in a Class C South game.

Chase scored the first four touchdowns on runs of 1, 5, 4 and 45 yards. He was also a force at linebacker.

“We love giving the ball to Chase,” said Renna. “His Monday practice is basically an ice bath and we’re OK with that.”

The victory improved the Patriots to 3-0, the best start in the program’s 11-year history. Gray-New Gloucester hadn’t won a game in three years entering the season.

“They just believe in each other,” said Renna. “We came in last year fresh as a coaching staff. We have a strong senior class; there are 12 of them, and they believe in us and we believe in them. We work hard. They’re just doing it and getting the job done.”

Senior Zack Haskell added 152 yards rushing and scored on a 55-yard kick return in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons, who dropped to 0-3, put up a spunky fight. Quarterback Eli Fox displayed a strong arm. Brady Lafrance caught six passes for 103 yards. They moved the ball well at times but could never finish, twice getting inside the 10 only to turn the ball over on downs.

“We fought hard,” said Coach Paul St. Pierre. “If we could have put one or two of those in it could have been different. Right now we’ve moving well but we’ve got to finish, got to finish some plays. Same on defense. We stuff them for a few plays, then we give up that big one.”

Gray-New Gloucester capitalized on those mistakes. A muffed punt attempt on Freeport’s first series gave the Patriots the ball at the Freeport 26.

Chase rushed for five straight plays, pushing in from the 1 for the first score with 6:20 left in the first period.

Freeport lost 17 yards on its next series, 10 on a fumble, and punted. Gray-New Gloucester took over at its 45. Haskell gained 26 yards on the first play and the Patriots kept running hard, scoring on a 5-yard burst by Chase up the middle. Quarterback Justice Bowie rushed the conversion and it was 14-0.

Freeport put together a nice drive but stalled at the Patriots’ 10. Gray-New Gloucester then went 90 yards in 11 plays, the big one a 51-yard run by the speedy Haskell, and Chase bulled in from the 4 with 5:16 left in the half to make it 20-0.

“It’s a lot of fun watching these guys,” said Renna.

Unless you’re trying to stop them. The offensive line opened gaping holes and then Chase came in looking to run over someone. “Well, hitting is probably my favorite thing in football,” he said. “Especially on offense. My linemen give me great blocks, and then I can hit somebody and it feels good.”

Chase said this season is all about trust now. “We trust each other, we know each other,” he said. “And we push each other to get better.”