FARMINGTON — After his team’s 41-0 win over Gardiner on Friday night, Mt. Blue head football coach Gary Parlin named his team’s most valuable players for the week. Neither played a down.

Senior captains Nate Backus and Connor Farrington both missed the game with injuries, but Parlin said they were instrumental in getting their teammates ready for the game.

“They both came to practice every single day and were enthusiastic. They could have been hanging their heads, feeling sorry for themselves,” Parlin said. “I have so much respect for what those guys did. Before the game, they were the ones in the locker room, doing the pep talks.”

Mt. Blue snapped a three-game losing streak and improves to 3-3. Gardiner falls to 0-6.

With Farrington, an all-conference guard, out, running was a concern for Mt. Blue entering the game. It wasn’t a concern for long. The Cougars ran for 264 yards, led by JT Williams, who ran for 97 yards on 10 carries and scored on a 5-yard run late in the second quarter to extend Mt. Blue’s lead to 28-0.

“We worried about it, because Connor’s such a big part of our offensive line. But Hunter True, a junior, stepped in and played real well. We sort of piecemealed the line,” Parlin said. “JT Williams is a good running back. His carries are going to increase as we go deeper into this season.”

Added Williams, who gained 85 yards in the first half: “The line played great today. It’s pretty easy to get the run game going when you’re not getting touched until the second or third level.”

The Cougars scored their first touchdown just 1 minute, 17 seconds into the game, when Cam Abbott caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Pratt for a 7-0 lead.

Kindle Bonsall (five carries for 61 yards) scored on a 28-yard run with 2:06 left in the first quarter, and added a 6-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter for a 21-0 lead.

Alex Gilbert’s 18-yard touchdown run with 8:20 left in the third pushed the Cougars lead to 35-0. Austin Henault’s 5-yard run early in the fourth capped the scoring.

Gardiner struggled to move the ball for much of the game, and only crossed midfield once in the first half. Brad Weston led the Tigers with 65 yards on 16 carries.

The game was an improvement defensively for the Cougars, which had allowed more than 40 points twice during their three-game losing streak.

“It was great to be on defense and shut them out. I mean, 40 points (allowed) in two games. That was not Mt. Blue defense, and it was nice to get back to that Mt. Blue defense,” Williams said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com