BATH — The Morse Shipbuilders faced off against the Medomak Valley Panthers in a 7 on 7 flag football game for the second time in the modified season at McMann Field in Bath on Friday, but there were bigger things to recognize than just a football game. 

Morse was honored on Friday with a national certificate as a unified school, which is given out by the Special Olympics. Schools that are awarded this certificate promote leadership programs with students with special needs to get involved in the community within the school.

Morse received a grant a few years ago, and started their unified basketball program. Last year, Morse played Oxford Hills in the first unified volleyball match in the state.

Charlie Bingham, an assistant coach for the Morse football team, started a unified physical education class at the school four years ago.

“The class incorporates kids with special needs with kids that don’t. It has been a great program for our school, and has changed the culture here at Morse,” Bingham said.

Athletes from different sports offered at Morse participate in the unified programs, which Bingham and the school are proud of.

“I am really proud of our school for being recognized with this incredible achievement,” said Morse Athletic Director Nathan Priest.

As for the football game, there were two games going on at once. One side of the field had a game with the skill position players, and the other side had the linemen playing another game. 

Each team started their possession on the opposing team’s 40-yard line, and had three downs to get 15 yards for a first down. If the ball was intercepted, the team that intercepted the ball started on the opposing 25-yard line.

Before the game, Morse honored its seniors on the team. 

‘It was great, but it was tough. I told them all when we do this in the spring I’m going to give them a big hug,” said Morse head coach Jason Darling. “I’ve known a lot of these kids since they were in third grade, we have some stellar kids in our community.”

Morse has six seniors on the team this season.

“It was definitely nice, our seniors deserved it. We have been working so hard on and off the field for the past four years,” said Morse senior lineman Boden Gould. “Just to be out here with my friends and enjoy this night was awesome.”

Gould caught and threw a touchdown pass in the linemen game. 

Before the game vs. Medomak Valley, Mt. Ararat was in town for a controlled scrimmage against Morse.

They played two 25-minute running time halves, and rotated players in and out throughout the game. 

“It was a great day on and off the field,” said Darling. 

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