OLD ORCHARD BEACH — After his team lost to Mt. Ararat in the regular-season finale, Maranacook football coach Jordan DeMillo laid it out for his team, especially his seniors: The Black Bears had to show more composure and leadership, especially in those moments on which a game can swing.

Saturday afternoon, the Black Bears showed their coach that the message was received and understood.

After Old Orchard Beach cut an 18-point Maranacook lead to four early in the fourth quarter, the Black Bears regrouped and slammed the door, closing the game with 24 unanswered points to take a 56-28 win in the quarterfinals of the eight-man Small School South playoffs.

“We were all getting down on each other (last week). Really, it’s a team effort. We couldn’t have done it without each other and we needed to be a family,” said Wyatt Douin, a senior two-way lineman for Maranacook.

No. 5 Maranacook (3-3) will play at No. 1 Telstar (7-0) next weekend. Telstar took the regular-season meeting, 14-12, on Sept. 25.

No. 4 Old Orchard Beach ends the season at 4-4.

This week, DeMillo organized more team activities out of practice, including a night of bowling.

“I was pretty upset with them, not because of wins and losses, but the way they responded to adversity really bothered me,” DeMillo said. “It’s a complete 180. To see my kids pick each other up and respond, it’s a huge difference. I hadn’t seen that all year, and that’s what good teams do.”

The Black Bears led 32-14 early in the second half after Mark Beach scored on a 3-yard run, but Old Orchard Beach rallied. Jacob Payea scored on a 6-yard run with 5:36 to play in the third, and Payea added a 13-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 32-28.

It took the Black Bears just four plays to regain momentum, as sophomore Owen Dunn’s 32-yard run capped a 63-yard drive. After the Seagulls lost the ball on downs at the Maranacook 45, Dunn immediately ran 55 yards for another score. OOB then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Dunn again scored on the next play – a 35-yard run.

Dunn finished with 377 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries.

“It’s an awesome time. There’s no feeling like it when you hit a great block and they run up the field for a touchdown,” Douin said.

Defensively, the key for Maranacook was containing Payea, especially when he ran behind the Seagulls’ line overloaded to one side. While Payea finished with 95 yards rushing, he needed 37 carries to get there. The emphasis on containing Payea did free up the freshman duo of quarterback Brady Plante (200 yards passing) and receiver Riley Provencher (162 yards receiving) to make plays, but not enough for the Seagulls to advance.

“When you’re a good defense, you take away what the offense does best. They were able to get some really nice passes down the field to still move the ball, but I think not being able to run the ball against us was big,” DeMillo said.

“We’re ground and pound. I thought our young kids brought us back through the air,” said Old Orchard Beach Coach Dean Plante said.

“We’ll be fine. Twenty of our 28 (players) are freshman and sophomores.”


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