Staff Writer

The Gardiner football team is off to a strong start, winning its first two games by a combined score of 58-14. The Tigers beat Belfast 27-6 in their opener, then came back and beat Morse 31-8 on Friday.

The Tigers wasted little time putting away Morse, scoring on the first two series of the game — a Dennis Meehan 52-yard touchdown run and then a Meehan 55-yard interception return.

“We came out pretty fast and scored on our first offensive drive and then our first defensive one,” Gardiner coach Matt Burgess said. “That’s always nice.”

Meehan enjoyed his finest performance in three games, including an exhibition loss to Cony. He had 131 yards of total offense against the Shipbuilders.

“Our offensive line is finally settling in,” Burgess said.

Andrew Doody-Veilleuex and Jory Vermillion have plugged some big holes up front. Center Tyler Eldridge, as well as returning guards Mitch Chesley and Hunter Belanger, has also been steady.

“They are getting in a groove,” Burgess said. “These guys needed game experience and it’s starting to happen. We need them.”

The road is about to get a bit tougher for Gardiner (2-0). The Tigers play Waterville, Mt. Blue and Hampden in the next three weeks, respectively. Those teams are a combined 5-1.

• • •

Cony (1-1) scored a big win over Edward Little to keep pace in the competitive Pine Tree Conference Class A. Junior quarterback Ben Lucas enjoyed one of the strongest games of his career, throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for another.

And the Rams, coach Robby Vachon said, came out of the game healthy.

“We played well,” Vachon said. “We watched film (Monday) and found some things we can get better at. Ben saw some things he can do better at, too. But the defense played well, we forced some turnovers. Any time you can win that battle, it will bode well for you.”

• • •

Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette points to his depth at running back as one of the many strengths on the team. The Raiders will get five, even six players, touches in the backfield a game to keep everyone fresh.

That depth paid off Saturday in a 33-0 win over Telstar.

Senior running back Joel Wells suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener and didn’t play against Telstar.

“He has a slight shoulder problem but I think he’ll be OK,” Doucette said. “A lot of it is for precautionary reasons. But this is why we use a lot of running backs. We want to run the ball but we want to avoid too much contact.”

Alex Mace, Kyle Flaherty, Aaron Clark and Brandon Potvin each had at least five carries and 27 rushing yards against the Rebels.

The Raiders scored 33 points in each of their first two games. They’ve allowed just seven points in two games.

Caleb Provost led the defense Saturday, recording eight tackles and two sacks. Flaherty also returned an interception 80 yards for a score.

“We’ve been playing tough, physical defense,” Doucette said.

• • •

Maranacook has had little problem scoring in the early going.

The Black Bears have put up 84 combined points in two easy victories over Old Orchard Beach and Lisbon.

Maranacook’s defense has also been impressive, especially in the turnover department. Maranacook (2-0) has already recorded nine interceptions, including three by Logan Emery and Jesse Evans.

“We just have a lot of kids who want the ball,” Maranacook coach Joe Emery said. “Our defense is really strong. They want to be in on the tackling. We’ve been pounding it in their heads the last few years that everybody is chasing the ball. We want 11 guys by the ball when the whistle is blown.”

Maranacook will host two-time defending Class C state champ Yarmouth (1-1) on Friday night at Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams.

“Yarmouth has so much speed, but we’ll be ready,” Emery said.

• • •

Around the state: Westbrook has started 2-0 and has defeated the last two Class B state champions, Mountain Valley and Wells… Through two games, Brunswick’s Jared Jensen has 711 yards rushing. Through two games last season, Lawrence’s Shaun Carroll led the Pine Tree Conference Class A in rushing with 411 yards. No runner in the league went over 711 yards until Week 5 of the 2011 season. … The last time Bangor opened the season 0-2 was 2002. That year, the defending state champion Rams lost to Skowhegan and Gardiner to open the season. In losses to Brunswick and Lawrence, the Rams gave up 78 total points, almost half of what they allowed all of last season (164). … The only team in the state still unscored on is Traip Academy of Kittery. The Rangers followed a 45-0 win over Telstar with a 35-0 win at Winthrop.

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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