Winslow shuts down Dirigo
WINSLOW — One minute after he came close to returning an interception for a touchdown, Winslow´s Justin Martin got the biggest second chance of his football career.
Martin, a 6-foot-5 defensive back, leaped to snag a pass by Dirigo quarterback Brett Whittemore at the Winslow 27, then ran down the visitors´ sideline while his teammates cleared the way for a 73-yard touchdown return.
The play came just over a minute after Zach Guptill scored Winslow´s only offensive touchdown, and it gave the Black Raiders some breathing room midway through the fourth quarter. Winslow held on for a 17-6 win, taking the Western Class C title in just its second season in the league.
"We had great blocking when I was running," Martin said. "They just got everybody out of my way and I just ran."
Winslow (10-1) will face Foxcroft Academy in the Class C state championship game Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium. It will be Winslow´s first trip to a state championship game since the Black Raiders lost to Mountain Valley in the 2006 Class B final.
Dirigo ends the season at 8-3.
"Turnovers were really key," Winslow linebacker Brock Deschaine said. "Our defensive line got pressure on (Whittemore) and everybody did their job."
All three of Winslow´s scores came off turnovers. Martin´s first interception, with 9:50 left, set up Guptill´s 6-yard touchdown run that gave Winslow a 10-0 lead. Martin grabbed that Whittemore pass at the Dirigo 29 and was pushed out of bounds at the 6. Guptill scored on the next play.
"Since I´m really tall, I just jump up for the ball. Hopefully you catch it and I just run back," Martin said.
Dirigo committed four turnovers, two in each half. Adam Pelletier´s interception midway through the second quarter led to Dylan Hapworth´s 26-yard field goal with 2:29 left in the first half. Hapworth´s line-drive kick was right down the middle, minutes after a 40-yard attempt was short and right.
Winslow´s ability to stop the run forced the Cougars into throwing situations, Dirigo Coach Dave Crutchfield said.
"We had to take some chances. We had to get out of long-yardage situations so we had to throw the ball. We couldn´t seem to find it," Crutchfield said.
The Black Raiders focused on trying to contain Spencer Trenoweth, Dirigo´s 1,000-yard running back. Trenoweth gained 70 yards on 10 carries and had two catches for 23 yards.
"Trenoweth, he´s so dangerous, every time he touches the ball he can go," Winslow Coach Mike Siviski said. "I don´t think anybody´s really stopped him this year. We slowed him down. I don´t know that we stopped him."
Dirigo gained 219 yards to Winslow´s 188, and the Cougars held Winslow´s strong running game to 147 yards on 42 carries. Joe Hopkins, who has more than 1,200 yards on the season, gained just 38 yards on 13 carries.