The Cheverus football team’s defense calls itself the Gold Way Swarm. There may not be a more fitting nickname for any unit in Maine high school sports.

Saturday afternoon, the Stags dominated Mt. Ararat in the Eight Man Large School South championship game, limiting the Eagles to two first downs in a 48-0 win at Boulos Stadium.

The Stags (7-0), playing their first season of eight-man football, will face Waterville in the Large School state championship game next Saturday at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Mt. Ararat ends the season at 7-2, with both losses coming to Cheverus.

What’s the key to the Stags’ success?

“Just playing physical football, I guess. We’re all swarming to the ball,” said Braden Smith, a senior co-captain and defensive lineman for Cheverus. Smith, along with fellow co-captain Sebastian Merrill, helped the Stags control the line of scrimmage.

It was the fourth consecutive shutout for the Stags, who haven’t allowed a point for 18 straight quarters, going back to halftime of a 44-32 win at Mt. Ararat on Oct. 1.

“Our defense played really well. They had an excellent week of preparation. They were really plugged in,” said Cheverus Coach Mike Vance. “We’ve got some experience on that unit. They played in a Class B playoff game in 2019, a couple of them, and they’re just an even-keeled group of kids.

“They (Mt. Ararat) have a really good system and a classy program. Today, we just played at high level.”

Cheverus outgained the Eagles 437-45. Mt. Ararat didn’t get a first down until late in the third quarter.

“That’s a really good football team. Well-coached, disciplined, tough. It was really tough sledding for us today,” said Mt. Ararat Coach Frank True, who led the Eagles to the inaugural eight-man state championship in 2019. “It’s hard to simulate their speed.”

The Stags set their offensive tone on their first drive, chewing 9:01 off the clock while going 68 yards in 16 plays. They scored when quarterback Richard Tremble ran a bootleg to the right for a 6-yard touchdown.

“It was very important to punch it in on that first drive. We had a couple penalties. We had a couple setbacks, and we able to overcome them,” Vance said.

On its next possession, Cheverus worked a little faster, needing just one play to score. Matthew Fogg cut right and went 75 yards, giving the Stags a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Cheverus led 28-0 by halftime, and Tremble scored on the first play of the second half, running 54 yards for a 34-0 lead. Fogg (139 yards rushing) scored three touchdowns, and Tremble and Marshall Fowler each reached the end zone twice. Fowler had touchdown runs of 54 and 14 yards.

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