The Gardiner football team made its share of miscues and mistakes, and missed some opportunities when it lost its preseason game to rival Cony on Aug. 27.

The Tigers addressed many of them in a 27-7 victory over Belfast in the regular season opener Friday night.

“I thought we played much better defensively and were a little more in tune offensively,” Gardiner coach Matt Burgess said. “We still have to eliminate some mistakes but overall we played pretty good.”

The Tigers struggled up front against Cony but Burgess said his linemen improved against the Lions.

Also, senior quarterback Dennis Meehan also settled down after rushing a few passes against the Rams. He threw for 150 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Jamison.

“He was a lot more comfortable,” Burgess said. “We tried to do too much against Cony, particularly throwing the ball.”

The most noticeable change was the emergence of tight end/running back Seth Wing. The senior captain had just three carries against Cony. He more than doubled that total against Belfast, rushing eight times for 60 yards and two touchdowns.

“We wanted to get him more involved,” Burgess said. “We readjusted and were able to use Seth a lot more. In our offense, he plays a hybrid position for us. He had about six to 10 carries. It was good to see him get involved.”

• • •

Cony came up a bit short against Messalonskee in its Pine Tree Conference Class A opener, losing 21-19 in Oakland. The Rams also lost starting cornerback and receiver Tayler Carrier, who injured his shoulder in the game. Cony coach Robby Vachon said Carrier is “day to day.”

“He had a pinched nerve and we’ll keep having the trainers look at him,” Vachon said.

Should Carrier be unavailable for Cony’s home opener Saturday against Edward Little, Brandon St. Michel will step in at cornerback. St. Michel is the starting tailback but does not play on defense.

“He filled in nicely at corner,” Vachon said. “(St. Michel) is a good athlete. If Tayler can’t go, St. Michel will get a ton of reps at corner. He understands what we’re doing back there, but it’s a lot different to have to go out there and tackle.”

The Rams will have an extra day of preparation this week because the new lights at Alumni Field won’t be installed by Friday night. The game has been rescheduled to 1 p.m. Saturday.

“It gives us that extra day we can go in full pads,” Vachon said. “That extra day will help with our preparation.”

• • •

Winthrop (1-0) entered the season with a few question marks on its offensive and defensive lines. Slowly, coach Joel Stoneton said, things are starting to mesh up front.

“It’s coming together,” he said.

The Ramblers, who host Traip (1-0) on Friday, made a couple moves to help bolster their lines, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Junior John Sullivan moved from defensive end to tackle while junior linebacker Dom Cognata shifts to nose guard.

“We’re meshing,” Stoneton said. “Those were our two biggest moves. We’re starting to get the timing down.”

• • •

Maranacook opened with a convincing 42-0 victory over Old Orchard Beach. The Black Bears made ample plays on both sides of the ball, but coach Joe Emery said there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“I was pleased mostly with the defense and how we played aggressive,” Emery said. “But we were still lacking a little on our execution. It was mostly small stuff. We need to work on our route running. We threw the ball nine times and (quarterback) Caleb (Castonguay) was a little shaky on accuracy on his first couple of throws.”

Castonguay did throw two touchdown passes, both to Andrew Lachance on fourth down.

The road is about to get a little tougher for Maranacook (1-0), which will play at Lisbon (0-1) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Lisbon does not want to go 0-2,” Emery said. “We’re going to be in for a dog fight.”

• • •

The Oak Hill game plan for two-time defending Class C state champ Yarmouth wasn’t too complicated.

“We needed to come out strong and we needed to play physical,” Oak Hill first-year coach Stacen Doucette said.

The Raiders accomplished both Saturday in a 33-7 romp that snapped Yarmouth’s 24-game winning streak.

Oak Hill, which has been to the Western C Campbell Conference playoffs the last three seasons, is led by a strong line on both sides of the ball. The Raiders started five players up front who weigh at least 210 pounds — a decisive advantage in Class C football.

Brian Daniels, Richard Fillion, Luke Washburn, Chris Harlow and Mike Saunders all make their presence felt.

“We rotated nine offensive linemen,” Doucette said. “We were rotating guys in and out all game. We wanted fresh legs in there all the time.”

The Raiders (1-0) play Telstar (0-1) in Bethel at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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