BATH — Six hundred forty-nine days. That’s how long it had been since Morse played in its last varsity tackle football game. With the long absence comes the feeling of the unknown that surrounds the season, especially for Morse and Mattanawcook/Lee/Penobscot, which both are in their inaugural seasons of eight-man football.

Morse answered a lot of those questions on Friday with a convincing 60-46 victory over the visiting Lynx.

“It feels good. Our blocking tonight is the reason for the outcome tonight (Friday),” said Morse coach Jason Darling. “They really controlled the line of scrimmage and our backs ran hard.”

Gabe Aucoin rushed for three touchdowns and caught another from quarterback Josh ter Mors, who threw two and rushed for two more on the ground. The Shipbuilders scored on nine of their 10 possessions, including the first eight. Aucoin finished with 170 yards on the ground and 36 through the air. ter Mors finished 3 for 4 passing for 116 yards. A 70-yard touchdown pass to Elliott Dorr was the longest play for either side.

“I had holes open for me all night. I just ran the right way,” said Aucoin, who limped off with an apparent injury in the third quarter before returning. “It had only been like 92 weeks. I guess we were just ready to play.”

Added ter Mors: “I’m telling you right now that this is a good football team, we’re going to win some games,” he said. “We have some great athletes, but our work ethic and heart won’t be matched.”


Both programs were set to make the move to eight-man last fall before the season was canceled.

“I’m happy with how we played. That was a good football team,” said Mattanawcook coach Brad Bishop following the game. “That was a first for us. We have to make some adjustments, watch some film, and get ready for Stearns in two weeks.”

Morse quarterback Josh ter Mors (7) surveys the defense before a play during during Friday’s season-opening game against Mattanawcook at McMann Field in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

The Lynx were paced by quarterback Isaac Hainer, who ran for 248 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. He also threw for a touchdown when he found Cody Smith from 35 yards in the second quarter.

“Isaac was great, he did everything he could to keep us in the game,” said Bishop. “That was a doozy tonight. The score can’t be that high every game I don’t think.”

The Shipbuilders scored on their opening drive when Ben Doughty rushed in from 11 yards out after a ter Mors hit Dorr on a pass for 50 yards to open the game. Doughty was carted off in the third quarter with an apparent left leg injury and did not return.

After the Lynx responded with a Hainer touchdown, the Shipbuilders scored 22 unanswered points to take the lead for good.


“Our response on offense was fantastic. Our defense did its job, too,” said Darling. “We have to tackle better, if there’s one thing I’m taking away that we need to work on it’s that.”

The Shipbuilders led 46-24 at halftime.

“I guess that’s a good introduction to eight-man, that was a lot of offense,” said Aucoin. “If that’s how it’s going to be then we will take it. A win is a win.”

Despite Hainer’s heroics, the Shipbuilders took control when Aucoin’s fourth and final touchdown gave them a three-possession lead.

Morse travels to face Mount Desert Island on Friday.

“Everyone is unfamiliar to us this season,” said Darling when asked about next week. “We just want to keep this momentum going into our next game.”

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