READFIELD — Although the penalties that plagued the Camden Hills football team against Freeport continued to hinder efforts on both sides of the ball, the Windjammers reduced its turnovers from three to one, held the ball control advantage by running 62 plays to Maranacook's 40, continued a masterful defensive stance against the opponent's run game and allowed no third down conversions.
The Windjammers also turned a 6-0 halftime deficit into a 12-6 victory that was crucial to the team’s hopes of obtaining a playoff opening round bye in October.
Throughout the week between a tough home loss to Freeport and the match-up on the road at Maranacook, Camden Hills Windjammers football head coach Jeremy Marks was persistent in his message to his club.
“Our message to the team this week was consistently centered around resiliency and redemption given our first loss of the season last weekend and the history we have with Marranacook,” Marks said. “The Freeport game was a lost opportunity. We had to make sure that we were well prepared and keen on not letting the Maranacook game end in the same fashion.”
Following a stalled offensive series upon receiving the game's opening kickoff, Maranacook instantly looked like the dominant team, marching downfield in seemingly little time to give the Bears a lead that would hold up throughout the whole first half.
As the Windjammer offense was able to get little going, it was the play of a gang-tackling defense which not only prevented further damage but essentially set the tone for the rest of the game as the Jammers allowed a mere 56 total yards, all on the ground.
On the season, the Windjammers’ opponents have rushed for a little over two yards per carry and through four games Camden Hills has given up only 20 points in total.
“We have been really proud of how the boys have played on the defensive side of the ball,” Marks added. “We ask a lot of them and each week they have responded. Coach Russillo does an amazing job on breaking down film and giving us all the information we need to be extremely prepared.”
Nail-biting parents of Camden Hills players that enjoyed warmer than expected Central Maine temperatures and tropical winds went into the fourth quarter still clinging to hope in spite of still training 6-0.
That was when the senior combination of quarterback Spencer Johndro and tailback Ethan Cayouette each scored, the former from nine yards out following an impressive clock-eating drive down the field and the latter on a 36 yard bullish run ending in a streak down the Camden Hills sideline with 1:33 to go.
Senior wingback Sam Hebert also ran nine times for 53 yards as part of the aforementioned ball control offense.
Given the defensive efforts of the evening, the game was seemingly well in hand. However, a solid kickoff return by the Bears to the 40 yard line still left the door ajar.
The Camden Hills defense nailed it shut on a three-and-out effort, enabling the offense to take a couple of knees and head to the bus happy, but determined that this is not the high water mark of its season.
“We have some pretty lofty goals and mid-season represents a chance for us to assess where we are as a team and program,” said Marks. “This game in particular let us know that, one we still have a lot of work to do to get better, and secondly at the same time we have begun to understand what it takes to win and be a part of a winning culture.”
Homecoming events at Camden Hills kickoff on Thursday, with the football team's next contest scheduled for under the lights on Friday, September 28 at 7 p.m. against Traip Academy.
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