AUGUSTA — Nobody was a bigger proponent of bringing eight-man football to Maine than Old Orchard Beach Coach Dean Plante. He knew for programs such as his, the eight-man game was essential to survival.

Now, four years after the inaugural season of eight-man football, Plante and his Seagulls have won a state championship.

Old Orchard Beach dominated the Small School title game Saturday, shutting down a strong Orono offense in a 46-22 win at Cony High’s Fuller Field.

The Seagulls (9-2) earned their first football state championship since 1993, when they played in Class C. Orono ends the season at 7-4.

“We like to think we’re ambassadors of eight-man, and it’s nice to reward the kids,” said Plante, whose team lost to Mt. Ararat in the first eight-man state championship game in 2019.

OOB gained 551 yards, with 394 coming on the ground. Wesley Gallant ran for 145 yards and scored four touchdowns – three rushing and one receiving. Asher Hubert ran for 167 yards. Often the Gulls ran out of a wildcat formation, with either Gallant or Hubert taking the snap. It’s a formation the team often uses to start a game, Plante said, but once they saw how well it worked against Orono, they kept going back to it.


“Personally, I like it better than getting a handoff. There’s less risk of getting a fumble. We practice that every day, hundreds of times,” said Gallant, who had touchdown runs of 6 and 3 yards in the first quarter to give OOB an early 12-0 lead. “We just kept pounding it. We believe in our offensive linemen, and they did a great job. Then we just have to do our job.”

In the second quarter, Riley Provencher caught a pair of touchdown passes from Brady Plante, for 16 and 6 yards, to push OOB’s lead to 24-0. Meanwhile, an Orono team that averaged 56 points per game in the North playoffs could find no traction. Playing man-to-man coverage, the Seagulls blanketed Orono’s speedy receivers, while the defensive line and linebackers kept Red Riots quarterback Jack Brewer under constant pressure.

“We play with no fear. We trust them, and our backers are smart and put people in the right place,” Dean Plante said. “We knew we could challenge them on the perimeter. We were pretty confident we could handle the run and get pressure on (Brewer).”

Orono did gain some momentum on the final play of the first half. Wideout Will Francis caught Brewer’s pass and pitched it to Pierce Walston, who ran in for a 36-yard touchdown.

“We needed that score. If we had gotten it a little earlier, maybe we would’ve been better off,” said Orono Coach Bob Sinclair.

The Red Riots also had some success on special teams in the second half, with Francis returning the opening kickoff 80 yards to cut OOB’s lead to 24-16. Francis also returned a kick 92 yards for a touchdown with 52 seconds left in the third quarter, after the Seagulls extended their lead to 38-16.


Gallant’s 29-yard touchdown catch from Plante on fourth-and-5 with 9:15 left in the third quarter helped OOB regain control after Francis’ first touchdown. The Seagulls added to their lead later in the third when Provencher returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.

“The ball really came right to me. I read my blocks and was able to get in,” said Provencher. “We had a lot of confidence coming into it, and when I got my first reps, I got even more confident.”

Gallant’s 15-yard touchdown run with 10:25 to play sealed the victory. After getting the ball back with 8:32 remaining, the Seagulls ran out the clock.

“We had a hard time with their run game, and when they needed a big play, they made a couple big plays,” Sinclair said. “It sounds cliché, but the better team won today.”

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