BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School football team’s outstanding 2017 season came to an end Saturday night with a 27-6 loss to Maine Central Institute in the Northern Maine title game. The result marked an abrupt end to the season for the Trojans, which had beaten MCI earlier in the season and had won nine consecutive games by multiple scores.
“It just wasn’t our night,” MDI Head Coach Mark Shields said. “We couldn’t get it going offensively like we’ve done most of the season, and it cost us in the end.”
As players and coaches took the field for the Trojans’ Class C North title bout with MCI, fans of both teams filled every inch of the football field bleachers.
After both teams were unable to score on their first two drives, MDI scored six points to take the lead with 5 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first quarter on an 80-yard run by Colby Lee. MCI responded on the ensuing possession when Ryan Friend’s five-yard pass to Pedro Matos put the visitors ahead 7-6.
MDI (9-2) followed the Huskies’ touchdown with a long pass from Andrew Phelps to Abrahm Malloy, but a seemingly promising drive stalled when Phelps’ completed a dump pass that came up just short of the first-down marker. Both defenses held each other scoreless the remainder of the half, and the Huskies took a one-point lead into the break.
“We were right there with them at halftime because of how well we played defensively,” Shields said. “They moved the ball at times early on, but we were able to get those big stops when we needed them.”
MCI (7-4) seized momentum to start the second half when Matos took the kickoff and ran it back to MDI’s 29-yard line. With 9:32 left in the half, the Huskies capitalized on that return by extending their lead to 14-6 on a one-yard touchdown run.
The Trojans took the ball into MCI territory on the next possession but were unable to come away with a score. On the next drive, the Huskies rattled off a 21-play drive to melt the clock down to 6:51 and take a 20-6 lead.
MDI failed to get anything going on offense after the kickoff, and MCI made the Trojans pay once again. Adam Bertrand scored from two yards out with 2:14 remaining. A Phelps interception on the next possession kept the score from getting even wider.
The result was a stark contrast from the two teams’ Sept. 29 encounter, which saw MDI race out to a five-touchdown lead before giving up three late scores to come away with a 35-24 win in Pittsfield. This time, the much-improved Huskies were the ones who controlled the game on the road.
“Give credit to [MCI] because they came out here and played a great game,” Shields said. “They got better every week. Sometimes it’s about catching fire at the right time, and that’s what they did.”
Despite the loss, the 2017 season was still one of the program’s best to date. The Trojans’ 9-2 record matched that of last year, in which the Trojans made the Class C championship game for the first time in school history.
“I’m going to remember the great leadership and character [this team] had and the resilience they showed,” Shields said. “This has been a really great group of kids. I love them, and I’m proud of everything they accomplished.”