NEWPORT — In the air, on the ground, on special teams and on defense. The Waterville football team scored early, often and nearly every possible way Saturday in a 54-8 rout of Nokomis.
Brian Bellows threw two touchdown passes — both to Jordhan Levine — and rushed for another to lead the Purple Panthers (2-0), who led 19-0 after the first quarter and 47-0 at the half.
Dalton Denis rushed for two touchdowns and returned a punt 55 yards for a TD as well.
“We worked hard for this,” Levine said. “When we had our opportunities, we took full advantage.”
Nokomis (1-1), which played without a handful of players who violated school rules, made just five first downs — two in a dreadful first half — and struggled on both sides of the ball for much of the game.
Senior Jake Winslow caught four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown to lead the Warriors. Backup quarterback Josh King completed 6 of 19 passes for 62 yards.
“That is as good a team as we’ll play all year,” Nokomis first-year coach Matt O’Connell said. “That is a very good football team. Honestly, that is what we’re trying to get to. They do what they are supposed to do.”
This one was over before many spectators had settled into the bleachers or their folding chairs.
Jared Spear rushed for a 40-yard touchdown just 1 minute, 23 seconds into the game and the Panthers were off and running.
About five minutes later, Denis found a seam and returned a Nokomis punt up the middle for a 55-yard touchdown that extended the lead to 13-0.
Then, with 3:02 left in the quarter, Bellows hit Levine for a 53-yard touchdown strike to make it 19-0.
“Bellows put it right where it needed to be,” Levine said. “The corner bit and I sprinted down the field and waited for the throw. It was a good play.”
Added Bellows, who split the quarterbacking duties with Aidan FitzGerald: “I was rolling out to my left and I saw Levine go. I had to get it to him.”
Bellows and Levine hooked up again, this time from 11 yards out, just 1:46 into the second quarter that helped Waterville grab a 26-0 lead.
“We threw the ball a lot (Saturday), which was great,” Bellows said. “It felt really good.”
Nokomis muffed a punt on its ensuing possession and Waterville took advantage, with Denis rushing for an 8-yard touchdown with 7:43 left until halftime.
“We haven’t played well up here recently,” Waterville coach Frank Knight said. “This was a challenge for us. We are three deep in the backfield and have two quarterbacks. We just rotate everybody and keep everyone fresh.”
Junior lineman Ben Cox recovered a fumble off another bad punt snap and rumbled in from 2 yards out before Bellows rushed for a 7-yard touchdown to cap the wild second quarter for Waterville.
Nokomis finally got on the board when King hit Winslow for a 16-yard touchdown with 4:08 left in the fourth quarter.
“It was a tough day,” McConnell said. “Hopefully, there are brighter days ahead. Well, I know there will be brighter days ahead. It’s just hard to see right now when you get thumped like that.”
Editor’s note: This story was edited at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16 to correct Dalton Denis’ name and the number of touchdowns he scored.