WATERBORO — Eric Ouellette, the second-year head football coach at Massabesic High, challenged his Mustangs Friday night before their game with Deering.

“In my opinion, this was a playoff game,” he said. “We know Deering’s pretty good, we know they’re going to get some wins this year. For us, this was one of the biggest games of the year.

“We asked them ‘Who’s going to make the big play? Who’s going to make the big throw? Who’s going to make the big catch?’ And they responded.”

Massabesic improved to 2-1 for the first time since 2011 with a 13-6 Class B South win over Deering, controlling the first half and then holding on in the second.

The Mustangs, who had only one win in each of the last two seasons, got two touchdowns from Ryan St. Laurent in the first half – a 4-yard run early and a 7-yard pass from Nick Roberge late in the second quarter – and then turned back the Rams in the final minutes.

“They played so hard,” said Deering Coach Rob Susi, whose Rams dropped to 1-2. “These guys are good. They play hard, they’re coached well and they gave us everything we could handle … They made plays when they needed to. That’s the mark of a good team.”

Deering did nothing right in the first half, getting seven penalties for 75 yards and gaining only one first down and 34 yards of total offense. But the Rams’ defense twice stopped Massabesic inside the 20 to keep it close.

Roberge, meanwhile, gave the Mustangs a big lift offensively. He finished with 81 rushing yards and 103 passing yards. He completed five passes,  three going to Ethan Roy for 90 yards.

“He’s a senior, a three-year starter,” said Ouellette. “We want the ball in his hands.”

His most impressive play may have been the touchdown pass to St. Laurent. It came on a fourth-and-6 from the Deering 7 with 24 seconds left in the second quarter– the drive had begun at Deering’s 21 following a Trevor Beals fumble recovery. On the play, Roberge rolled right, pump faked as he ducked under a leaping Deering pass rusher and then slung the ball into the end zone, where St. Laurent caught in between two defenders. Ben Carroll’s PAT kick made it 13-0.

Deering controlled the third quarter, taking the kickoff and going 66 yards in 14 plays to score on Travis Soule’s 15-yard run. Then the Rams had one more chance when Will Vachon recovered a Massabesic fumble with 8:05 remaining at the Rams’ 17.

But Deering quarterback James Opio was injured, as was running back Tyler McAlister. And the Rams went no where.

Massabesic got the ball back with 6:22 remaining and ran down the clock, gaining three first downs.

“It’s perseverance,” said Roberge. “We have a lot of guys giving it their all each week. We go an extra 30 minutes each day at practice. It shows what we get out of it. Those extra 30 minutes of practice bring us that W.”

Roberge and St. Laurent see a different culture this year.

“You can see it off the field, on the field,” said St. Laurent. “We’re a team.”

“It’s falling into place,” said Roberge. “The cards are falling into place.”

 

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