WELLS — Yes, Wells High made slight adjustments when its offense was not effective in the first quarter.

And it’s true, the Warriors showed an effective defensive scheme.

But Wells Coach Tim Roche thinks strategy can be overblown.

“You can make all the adjustments in the world. You can scheme all you want,” Roche said. “It comes down to who is going to block and tackle better. That’s what we did.”

Wells dominated up front and beat Madison/Carrabec 34-12 in the Class D South championship game Saturday afternoon. The Warriors rushed for 296 yards, with Nolan Potter pounding inside for 138 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries.

Running back Tyler Bridge scampered for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Next Saturday’s state championship game will feature two No. 1 regional seeds – Wells (11-0) and North champion Foxcroft Academy (8-2). The Warriors are in their seventh state final, and will play for their fourth title, the latest coming in Class C last year.

Madison is done at 9-2, its two losses coming to Wells.

“We didn’t get it done. They played faster. They played more physical,” Madison Coach Scott Franzose said. “They took a lot of our run game away. They played tough and we missed some assignments. Great defensive scheme from those guys.”

Wells held Madison’s running backs to 8 yards on 16 carries. Bulldogs quarterback Evan Bess passed for 213 yards, but Wells was in control throughout.

“We felt there wasn’t anything they could do to us,” defensive end Ethan Marsh said.

Marsh and Matt Tufts were often in the Bulldogs’ backfield, putting pressure on Bess or making tackles for losses. Potter and linebacker Sean McCormack-Kuhman were also big defensively.

“They like to run on the outside,” Potter said. “You just have to spread them across the field. I think we did a good job.”

Michael Wrigley, who plays quarterback and defensive back, made an interception that led to a Wells touchdown.

“The biggest thing was to come out and eliminate the big plays,” Wrigley said. “That’s what they got us on last time. We wanted to cut those out.”

In their regular-season meeting on Sept. 22, Madison jumped out to a 21-7 lead on three big plays – a kickoff return, a 52-yard run and a 74-yard pass – before Wells rallied for a 25-21 win.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs drove into Wells territory three times in the first half – reaching the 40 (punt), 31 (failed on fourth-and-4), and 29 (failed on another fourth-and-4).

Meanwhile, the Warriors got going on their third drive. Sparked by a 22-yard, third-down pass from Wrigley to Potter, Wells marched 67 yards. Potter finished it with a 19-yard run, and Tufts kicked the first of his four extra points.

Wrigley threw only three passes, completing two for 25 yards. He rushed for 63 yards on six carries.

Wells extended its lead to 14-0 before halftime with a 68-yard drive. Potter scored from the 3.

The Warriors lost two fumbles, including one on the second-half kickoff. Madison struck quickly, with a 47-yard pass to Sean Whalen. The extra-point kick was no good.

Wells came right back, however, with another 69-yard touchdown drive. Then Wrigley’s interception at the end of the third quarter set up a 49-yard drive.

With the Warriors ahead 28-6. Madison scored in the fourth quarter – but how the Bulldogs scored was telling. Madison had second-and-goal at the 1, but the Bulldogs stayed away from the middle of Wells’ defensive line. Madison tried a pass (incomplete), then a pitch to the outside (no gain), and finally a halfback pass from Whalen to Eric Wescott.

The Bulldogs then tried an onside kick, but Wells recovered and marched 51 yards for its final touchdown, as Potter scored from the 4.

“He’s a sledgehammer,” Roche said of his fullback.

Wells has not played Foxcroft this year. Madison beat the Ponies in a season opener, 49-28.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH