BANGOR — How do you stop the seemingly unstoppable? Ask the Orono High football team. Saturday afternoon at Cameron Stadium, the Red Riots did it.

All season long, Old Orchard Beach was a juggernaut on both sides of the ball. The defending eight-man Small School state champion Seagulls rolled through the South division, scoring 648 points while allowing just 40 over 10 games.

On Saturday, though, Orono dominated each facet of the game, pulling ahead in the second quarter and rolling to a 46-18 win in a rematch of last season’s championship game, won by the Seagulls in equally dominant fashion. It’s the first state title for the Red Riots since 1994, when they won Class B. Orono ends the season at 10-0, while Old Orchard Beach finished 10-1.

“They’re a great team,” Orono senior Pierce Walston said. “To be fair, nobody thought we’d be here. Nobody thought we’d come out on top.”

Walston gained 204 yards (105 receiving, 99 rushing), scored four touchdowns – three on the ground and one in the air – and intercepted a pass. Ben Francis ran for 145 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

Known as a passing-first team, Orono showed off a potent rushing attack against the Seagulls. Jack Brewer threw touchdown passes of 21 yards to Will Francis and 27 yards to Walston in the second quarter for a 12-0 lead, and then the Red Riots unleashed their ground game.


“We’ve been hiding that all year. We’ve been practicing that, repping that the whole season. We knew we were going to need it for a game like this,” Walston said.

Old Orchard Beach Coach Dean Plante said Orono won the game up front, controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. In particular, the Seagulls had trouble blocking Orono defensive end Brady Grant.

“We had some chances in the first quarter, I think. We couldn’t finish plays. They took advantage of some field position and made some plays. That’s what good teams do,” Plante said.

The Red Riots made a change on defense, moving Will Francis and Walston from the secondary to linebacker as part of the plan to contain Seagulls running back Wes Gallant. While Gallant finished with 129 yards on 22 carries, Orono kept him out of the end zone after he’d found it 27 times this season. The Seagulls gained 328 yards, but most of it was trying to play an impossible game of catchup.

Orono learned from last season’s lopsided loss to the Seagulls.

“To stop kids like they’ve got, you’ve got to be on your toes. We just worked hard on it,” said Orono Coach Bob Sinclair said. “We felt like when we got here last year, we were like Cinderella. We had that deer in the headlights look.”


Plante said his team lost two turnovers all season. Saturday, the Seagulls turned the ball over three times, and two fumbles in the first half led to 12 Orono points.

“That’s unusual for us. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment and try to do a little extra. They’re high school kids,” Plante said.

The Red Riots led 20-0 late in the second quarter before OOB got on the board when Riley Provencher caught a 48-yard pass from Brady Plante to make it 20-6 at the half.

Walston’s 37-yard touchdown run 28 seconds into the fourth quarter pushed Orono’s lead to 32-6. Plante had a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth – a 30-yard strike to Kooper Gervais and a 10-yarder to Provencher, but the Seagulls couldn’t stop Orono. Walston’s fourth touchdown came on a 5-yard run, and Ben Francis scored on a 1-yard run for the final touchdown.

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