MDI head football coach Mark Arnold gives his team a pep talk during the second half of the game against Old Town on Sept. 20 at Old Town High School. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

Football falls to Old Town

OLD TOWN — The Mount Desert Island High School football team’s latest showdown saw the Trojans start strong early but come up short late.

MDI fell to a 26-14 loss to Old Town in Friday night’s Week 3 showdown at Old Town High School. The loss sent the Trojans to 1-2 on the season with five regular season games remaining.

After both teams punted to start the game, MDI had a would-be touchdown called back when Sam Mitchell’s long scamper to the end zone was nullified due to a holding penalty. Yet on the very next play, Mitchell ran 64 yards to the 1-yard line to set up a touchdown plunge from Baylor Landsman and a successful 2-point conversion to put the Trojans ahead 8-0.

Sam Mitchell of the Mount Desert Island High School football team stiff-arms an Old Town defender during the second half of a game Sept. 20 at Old Town. Mitchell led the Trojans in rushing yards with 79. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

“[Sam] is our primary running back, and we knew coming into the season that he had the most backfield experience all out of the guys we had coming back from last year,” MDI head coach Mark Arnold said. “He’s really stepped up and matured even more this year.”

In the second quarter, Old Town (1-2) kept a drive in MDI territory going with an unlikely conversion on fourth-and-12. The Coyotes would then score on a 4-yard screen pass from Sam Magoon to Tre Dorr to cut the lead to 8-6, and the home team would capitalize on the momentum with an interception and another touchdown drive to take a 12-8 lead into halftime.

“We had [the quarterback] wrapped up in the backfield, and he slipped out and threw the ball down the field,” Arnold said of Old Town’s fourth-and-long conversion. “I think our guys hung their heads a little bit after that, and it cost us there later in the first half.”

MDI started the second half on a high note as Porter Isaacs leaped into the air to intercept Dorr and give the Trojans the ball in the red zone. William Hodgdon came in to replace Landsman, who left the game after suffering an injury, and the senior backup proved his worth by capping off a short touchdown drive with a 4-yard run to put the Trojans up 14-12.

Yet that would be the last touchdown MDI would score against an Old Town team that controlled the rest of the game on offense and defense. The Coyotes took the lead for good on a touchdown with 3 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the third quarter and added one more with 5:05 left in the fourth for the game’s final score.

MDI had 121 yards on the ground with Mitchell rushing for 79 yards, Hodgdon and Landsman each rushing for 15 yards, Hunter Gray rushing for 10 yards and Maddox Laurendeau rushing for 2. Mitchell, Hodgdon and Landsman combined for 54 passing yards on five completions.

Arnold, who was down with a cold for much of the week, coached the first half of the game from the booth in the press box. He originally planned to spend the entire game there but joined his players and coaches on the sidelines in the second half.

“I missed the first day of practice I ever missed as a coach leading up to the game,” Arnold said. “At halftime, I wasn’t satisfied with how things were going and wanted to be on the field. It didn’t make a difference for us, but I wanted to be down there.”

MDI’s next game will be at home against Dexter at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 27. The Tigers improved to 2-1 Friday night with a 28-7 win over Houlton in Aroostook County.

Dexter wasn’t originally on MDI’s schedule, but that changed as the Trojans were forced to do some shuffling in the aftermath of Orono canceling its entire 2019 varsity slate. With back-to-back road games following MDI’s clash with the Tigers, Arnold’s team will be looking to head into the second half of the season on a winning note.

“They’ve been a great team in Class D and had some outstanding seasons,” Arnold said of Dexter. “They’re a good football team, and it’s going to be challenging for us.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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