PARIS — Oxford Hills Coach Mark Soehren said his football team went into its matchup with Bonny Eagle expecting a down-to-the-wire battle and anticipating that the offensive and defensive lines would be the deciding factor.

Things didn’t start out well in that regard for the Vikings, but they bounced back quickly and earned a 19-6 win Saturday at Gouin Athletic Complex in a showdown between unbeaten Class A teams.

“Buckled down, and did what we’ve been taught to do,” Vikings defensive lineman John Hatcher said. “And we just did that for the rest of the game, and it helped us win.”

The game began with Bonny Eagle’s offensive line imposing its will, as the Scots drove 70 yards on 16 plays, draining more than eight minutes off the clock.

Bonny Eagle earned five first downs and converted three third downs. The longest gain was 9 yards, and 10 of the 16 plays were runs by Zac Oja, who finished the drive with a 9-yard run that gave the Scots a 6-0 lead.

On Oxford Hills’ first offensive play, Isaiah Oufiero turned a pass from Eli Soehren into a 23-yard gain to Bonny Eagle 30. The drive fizzled from there, however, and they turned the ball over on downs.

Then the momentum changed.

Oxford Hills’ defensive line held its own on Bonny Eagle’s second possession and forced a punt. The Vikings’ offensive line took over, blocking well on Soehren’s 23-yard run and his 27-yard pass to Teigan Pelletier that moved the ball to the 19. Four plays later, Soehren tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Oufiero, tying the game at 6-6 with 7:51 remaining in the second quarter.

After Oxford Hills forced a three-and-out, Soehren connected with Pelletier for gains of 9 and 32 yards.

A few plays later, Oufiero caught a 5-yard TD pass, giving Oxford Hills a 13-6 lead with 2:39 left before halftime.

“It’s a big weapon, obviously,” Pelletier said of the long, over-the-defense passing plays. “But it just all started with the offensive line, went down to the quarterback, and went down to the wide receivers.”

The Vikings had the ball first in the second half. A 24-yard pass to Matthew Doucette advanced the ball into Scots territory. The drive was on the verge of stalling there, but on fourth-and-10 from the 28, Pelletier got past the defense and Soehren zipped the ball over three defenders, allowing Pelletier to take it to the end zone for a 19-6 advantage.

But Oxford Hills couldn’t put the Scots away, even though Soehren intercepted a pass by Terrell Edwards on Bonny Eagle’s next possession.

“It’s a slog, sometimes, trying to move the ball on them,” Scots Coach Kevin Cooper said. “We obviously hurt ourselves with some turnovers, and you can’t do that against a team as good as Oxford Hills.”

The Vikings again drove deep into Scots territory, reaching the 11, but an apparent TD catch by Cole Leonard was called back because of a penalty, and Oxford Hills eventually turned the ball over on downs.

“We’re lucky to beat Bonny Eagle with a touchdown taken off the board,” Soehren said.

Vikings safety Dakota Grassi intercepted Edwards with 1:17 left in the third quarter, but on the next play, Bonny Eagle’s Trevor Nevells intercepted Soehren.

Following another three-and-out by the Scots, the Vikings drove to the Bonny Eagle 4, most of the yardage coming from a 14-yard reception by Lincoln Merrill and a 24-yard catch by Pelletier.

Once again, though, the Vikings didn’t finish the drive, as Bonny Eagle’s Owen Sperrey made an interception in the end zone with 7:38 remaining.

“They battled the whole game. They were exhausted and still played hard,” Mark Soehren said of the Scots.

The Bonny Eagle offense, which was without speedy weapon Aidan Walcott, finally mounted a drive. Runs of 15 and 23 yards by Oja put the ball at the Oxford Hills 24, but a fumble by Edwards was recovered by Vikings lineman Brodi Rice with about five minutes to play.

“We knew it would be a four-quarter battle with them,” Mark Soehren said.

Oxford Hills picked up a couple of first downs and ran out the clock.

“It means a whole lot to win against this team,” Hatcher said, “because they’re a great team, we’re a great team, to win against them is amazing.”

Eli Soehren completed 10 of 20 passes for 203 yards, three TDs and two interceptions. He also ran for a team-high 62 yards on eight carries. Pelletier caught five passes for 120 yards.

Oja finished with 96 yards on 23 carries.

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