BAR HARBOR — When the Mount Desert Island High School football team received their season schedule, they knew they would face a difficult midseason stretch. Now in the middle of that stretch, the Trojans are finding ways to get better, even as they take on the state’s top teams.
MDI fell to Winslow 26-14 on Friday night in Bar Harbor. Yet the Trojans also displayed the physicality and effort that has their head coach optimistic about the team’s prospects for the end of the season and in the years to come.
“We talked before the season about this stretch and what it would mean for us as a team because everyone knew it was going to be tough for us,” Mark Arnold said. “Whether we’re winning or losing these games, we’re making progress and getting better every time we go out there on Friday nights.”
MDI’s defense had an incredibly strong start to the game and put the offense in position to succeed. With 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining in the first half, the Trojans took advantage when Elijah Joyce ran in for a touchdown and an ensuing 2-point conversion to put the home team up 8-0.
Yet Winslow (3-1) quickly turned the momentum back in its favor. After getting the ball back, the Black Raiders went down the field once again and added a 2-point conversion of their own going into halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, Winslow scored its second touchdown of the game to take a 14-8 lead. The Black Raiders went up 20-8 with 1:42 left in the third quarter before MDI finally got back in the end zone when Elijah Joyce pounded the ball in from 1 yard out with 5:32 left too play.
Once again, Winslow responded to MDI’s scoring drive with one of its own. After going up two scores once again, the Black Raiders forced an MDI turnover to put the game on ice.
Despite the loss, Arnold was very pleased with his team’s performance. The team’s offensive line held its own against a strong, athletic Winslow defense and showed a noticeable improvement from its 28-0 loss to Maine Central Institute one week earlier.
“We ran from a double-wing set, and I thought we showed progress in pretty much every category,” Arnold said. “Players are growing into new roles and new positions, and we saw the progress we made in practice all week show up on the field.”
MDI’s next game will be on the road against third-place Hermon (3-1) at 7 p.m. Sept. 28. Hermon fell 29-25 to top-ranked MCI on Friday in Pittsfield.
“We’re to the point in our growth where we’re hungry and ready for a victory,” Arnold said. “That’s our goal, and we’re going to do everything in our power to put together a great four quarters of football and get it.”