PARIS — Oxford Hills earned its first trip to a football state championship game in 22 years by handling Bonny Eagle 34-7 in a Class A semifinal Saturday at Gouin Athletic Complex.

Eli Soehren threw four touchdown passes and had a long touchdown run for the Vikings, while the defense intercepted two passes in the first half and forced the Scots (6-4) to turn the ball over on downs on all of their second-half possessions.

“They’re just good,” Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper said. “We came here twice, and came here twice thinking we had a chance to win, and just couldn’t get it done, and really, the biggest reason is how good Oxford Hills is.”

The second-ranked Vikings also defeated the third-seeded Scots 19-6 on Sept. 24 in Paris.

Oxford Hills (8-1) will face top-ranked Thornton Academy next Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“It’s such an amazing feeling,” Vikings senior Dakota Grassi said.

The only other time Oxford Hills played in a state championship game was in 1999, when the Vikings lost to South Portland, 24-10.

“It’s huge,” Oxford Hills Coach Mark Soehren said. “It’s an incredible feeling. I told the kids, I don’t want to get too emotional, we’ve still got a game to play, but this has always been the goal, right, to get to the state championship.

“You’ve got to beat the defending state champion to get there.”

Bonny Eagle won the most recent Class A state championship in 2019, but the Vikings left little doubt about who the better team is in 2021.

Oxford Hills opened the game with a 10-play drive that covered 68 yards. The Vikings called mostly runs and short passes until the eighth play, when Soehren threw a 27-yard pass that Teigan Pelletier caught at the goal line, only to be ruled out of bounds.

Two plays later, on third-and-9, Soehren connected with Grassi for a 26-yard touchdown pass, giving the Vikings a 7-0 lead.

Oxford Hills forced a three-and-out on Bonny Eagle’s first drive, as Zachary Louvat knocked down a pass by Terrell Edwards on third down.

Nine plays into the Vikings’ next possession, Soehren threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Knightly. Soehren’s second PAT put Oxford Hills up 14-0 with 2:07 left in the first quarter.

The Scots then drove 60 yards on 13 plays for their only score. Louvat sacked Edwards on the second play of the drive, but Aidan Walcott, who didn’t play in the teams’ first meeting, converted a fourth-down run to keep the drive alive.

Zac Oja finished the drive with a 4-yard run that cut the Vikings lead to 14-7 with 7:28 remaining in the second quarter.

Two minutes after Oja’s touchdown, the Vikings added to their lead. On third-and-9, Soehren broke a handful of tackles and ran up the sideline for a 46-yard touchdown that made it 20-7.

“Eli Soehren just keeps so many plays alive,” Cooper said. “Even when it looks like you have him, even when it looks like you have the play defended, he somehow comes out and finds guys and makes plays.”

Interceptions by Grassi and Knightly ended the Scots’ next two drives.

“I spoke to my coach about how we’re going to stop No. 2 (Walcott), because he’s pretty quick, and we don’t normally see that,” Grassi said. “So we talked for a quick second and made a game plan, and right after that, got that pick.”

Knightly’s interception came in the final 20 seconds of the half after Bonny Eagle drove to the Vikings 20.

For the second time in two meetings, the Vikings held the Scots to one score.

“That’s a good defense,” Mark Soehren said. “We are big and we are fast, and we have size.”

The Vikings added two more touchdowns, both passes from Soehren to Matthew Doucette – a 16-yarder in the third quarter and a 5-yarder in the fourth.

“It’s unbelievable,” Eli Soehren said. “I can’t believe how many targets I can have in a game. I can count on anyone I throw to.”

Cooper, who has led Bonny Eagle to seven state championships since 2004, spent a few minutes hugging his seniors, including Oja, Thomas Horton and Nik Klein.

“Our kids played hard all the way through, and, obviously, coming back off a nonplaying year last year, our seniors gave everything that they could,” Cooper said. “So I’m proud of our team, I really like coaching them. It’s too bad that we have to end here with a loss.”

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