Mount Desert Island High School running back Taner Bickford charges forward for some hard-won yardage during the Trojans' state playoff game against top-ranked Winslow on Saturday. MDI lost that game 21-0. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

Trojan football falls to Black Raiders

WINSLOW — The Mount Desert Island High School football team had their share of big, dramatic moments at their semifinal matchup with the Winslow Black Raiders Saturday. But they were all defensive or special teams plays. The Trojans fell to the Black Raiders 21-0, ending their season with a strong 7-3 record.

Winslow and Old Town, both undefeated on the season and the only two teams to beat MDI this year, are set to meet Friday, Nov. 13, for the Class C North championship game.

The Raiders must have studied the game tape closely from their first matchup with MDI back in September. It resulted in a 35-20 Winslow victory. The Winslow defense held the Trojan rushing leader, senior running back Taner Bickford, to 13 carries and 32 yards in this playoff game. There weren’t many holes for him to run through. Sophomore Andrew Phelps was 6-17 passing for 41 yards.

Winslow began their first drive deep in their own territory at the 23-yard line. The Trojan defense was ready for them, forcing a loss on the first play. Chris Farnsworth and Dylan Collin made key tackles.

MDI took over on downs and went three and out. Winslow scored on the next drive with four minutes left in the first on an 18-yard carry by Kenny Rickard. The point-after kick was good, and Winslow led 7-0.

MDI struggled on their next possession. But Drew Rich and Max DeKoning teamed up for a fumble recovery on the fourth down, the first of five turnovers against Winslow the Trojans would force in the game.

The Raiders began the second quarter in a hurry-up offense, not bothering to huddle between plays, and driving quickly from their own 20-yard line to the MDI 38 in no time. MDI’s Isaiah Keene caught up with and tackled the Winslow receiver moments too late, so the Raiders pulled off a 32-yard touchdown pass. The point-after attempt was good, and Winslow led 14-0.

The rest of the first half and all of the third quarter were scoreless as both teams’ defensive schemes were bulletproof.

MDI had a couple of good drives, led in rushing by sophomore Croix Albee. Phelps to Graham Good was complete for 23 yards, but Winslow’s defensive stand on that drive was one of the game’s turning points. MDI was stopped with 19 yards to go midway through the third quarter.

Freshman Jakob Gregory and Keene each had interceptions. Farnsworth, Collin, Evan Jeannotte, Danny MacGregor and Micah Hallet continued to be tackling machines.

The Raiders scored one more time at the top of the fourth. After the kick, they led 21-0, which would be the final score.

Keene had another memorable interception, and Jeannotte had a fumble recovery, bringing the total turnovers against Winslow to five. “That kept us in the game,” Coach Mark Shields said. “Defense and special teams played great all day.”

Shields credited the Winslow defense for the win. “They’re tough, and it’s hard to move the ball against them. We had some decent drives, we did move the ball a bit, but we just couldn’t get in the end zone offensively.”

The coaching staff was proud of the team’s work this season, he said. “We had a great season. The kids played hard and played with a tremendous amount of heart. I’m really proud of my kids, and they should be proud of what they accomplished.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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