BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School Trojans struggled through the first game of the regular season Aug. 31, losing to Waterville 36-14. Several MDI key players also sustained injuries.
“Waterville is a strong team and we knew that coming in,” said head coach Mark Shields. “We knew that they had strong backs and did the best we could to contain them.”
The Trojans began the first period with senior player and running back Trevor Alley bowling over the Waterville defense in a series of short rushes that came to characterize the Trojan’s offensive strategy.
Alley, who rushed for more than 65 yards in the game for the Trojans, was one of several veteran players, including quarterback Jon Phelps and running back Tom Reilly, who kept the Trojans from falling by a larger margin as they made key offensive and defensive plays. The first period ended with no score on either side of the ball.
The second period began amidst technical malfunctions on the home field, with the PA system going silent and some of the overhead lights shutting off. Unaffected, Waterville scored only 13 seconds into the second quarter, with wide receiver David Bailey slipping through the Trojan defense following a 25-yard completion. Waterville scored the point after to gain an early lead of 7-0.
“Injury is a part of the game. It’s just an opportunity for other players to get on the field.” – Coach Mark Shields
Subsequent plays in the second quarter saw the Trojans struggling to make first downs amidst several miscues that cost them possession. Waterville’s Bailey intercepted a pass from MDI quarterback Phelps to regain possession for his team. The Panthers once again exploited the sidelines for a score 9:17 into the second quarter when Waterville’s Thomas Cameron put his team firmly in the lead.
Waterville lengthened its lead with 57 seconds remaining in the second quarter with a field goal, bring the score to 16-0.
At halftime, coach Shields called for ice for Trojan co-captain Colton Sanborn, who suffered a wrist injury.
“Injury is a part of the game,” said coach Shields, who also saw another veteran player, Reilly, go down after taking a hard hit later in the game. “It’s just an opportunity for other players to get on the field.”
Early in the third quarter, the Trojans fell farther when Panther Jordhan Levine caught a 25-yard pass and hustled the remaining 20 yards into the Trojan’s end zone. Following a successful point after kick, the score was 23-0.
The Trojans were not to go scoreless as Phelps fought back with 7:22 left in the third quarter, intercepting a pass and running it back 92 yards for a touchdown. The Trojans gained additional points with a two-point conversion for a score of 23-8.
The fourth quarter saw scoring by both teams, with the Trojans struggling to close the gap and Waterville maintaining it. With 8:36 to play in the last quarter, Trojan running back Jalique Keene hustled 43 yards for a score and energized his team for the remainder of the game. The final score was 14-30, with the Trojans missing out on their final two-point conversion attempt.
“I told the players before this game that it’s not about the score. It’s about becoming better players and coming together as a team,” said coach Shields. “The big thing we are looking for tonight is leadership from the senior players, and we saw that.”