TOPSHAM — Dawson Harrison saw the hole, which was as big as a rowboat, and had just one thought.

“Run,” the Waterville senior running back said after a 24-0 victory over Mt. Ararat on Friday night at Stadium Field. “Run hard. That hole opened up and I had to hit it 100 mph.”

Harrison did just that, racing nearly untouched 92 yards for a game-sealing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. The touchdown punctuated a dominant night for the Purple Panthers (2-0), who’ve yet to be scored upon in the early going. Waterville, the defending eight-man Large School North champ, blew out Spruce Mountain 34-0 in the opener on Sept. 1.

“We’ve been working hard and sweating since Day 1,” said Harrison, who rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. “We were well-prepared and we put it to them (Friday).”

Senior quarterback Wyatt Gradie completed 3 of 7 passes for 79 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown pass to junior Ben Foster with 2:02 left in the half. The score helped the Purple Panthers take a 16-0 lead into the break.

“(Foster) ran a great comeback route,” Gradie said. “I had to get it out quick to him and then let him do his thing.”


Running back Dash Farrell rushed for 103 yards on 28 carries to lead the Eagles (0-2), who were without their top two starting quarterbacks because of injuries. Quarterback Parker Lohr rushed for 51 yards on 14 carries for Mt. Ararat, which struggled on both sides of the ball for much of the game.

The Eagles had three turnovers, including two inside the Waterville 10-yard line.

“We had to take advantage and we did,” Waterville coach Isaac LeBlanc said. “Mt. Ararat is a tough team and this is a tough environment. Our red zone defense really buckled down.”

The game was scoreless after the first quarter before Waterville pulled ahead on a Harrison 1-yard touchdown run with just over nine minutes left in the second quarter.

The touchdown came after the Eagles muffed a punt from inside their own 30-yard line. The Purple Panthers converted the two-point attempt to go up 8-0.

Another Mt. Ararat turnover — this one at the Waterville 2-yard line with 4:40 left in the second quarter — gave the Purple Panthers an opportunity to pad the lead. And that’s just what they did.

Facing a third-and-13 from its own 33-yard line, Gradie completed a pass to Foster, who had room to run and bolted 67 yards for the touchdown. Harrison rushed or the two-point attempt to make it a 16-0 game.

“That was huge,” LeBlanc said. “That was a big play.”We came in here with a good game plan and the kids executed it. They bought in. This was a very good win.”

Comments are no longer available on this story