NEWPORT — Speed killed Nokomis the first two weeks of the season, so head coach Matt O’Connell decided it was time to try the power switch for game three.

The Warriors caught Madison/Carrabec off-guard with a new power-I formation and controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage to pick up their first win, 28-8, on Saturday.

Noah Kershner (98 yards, touchdown) and Caleb McFarlin (94 yards, two touchdowns) led Nokomis’ power running game, which picked up all 289 yards of offense.

“We’ve been struggling with team speed the last two weeks,” O’Connor said. “I think (power-I) just suits us better. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done.”

Defensive tackle Jacob Nichols led a strong defensive effort with an interception return for a touchdown as the Warriors’ defense limited the Bulldogs, who scored 46 points in a win over Old Town last week, to just 105 total yards through the first three quarters.

The defense started the game with a three-and-out, then, after Nokomis’ first drive ended with an interception in the end zone, got the ball right back by forcing a fumble at the Bulldogs’ 21.

On first down, Kershner took a handoff and powered up the middle, running through at least three defenders, for the game’s first touchdown

“We came out hungry for a win,” said Kershner, who also powered the two-point conversion in to make it 8-0. “We came right out on defense and smacked them, stopped them, and then we came out with a new offense. Our linemen pushed five yards at a time and we marched right down the field.”

“The power-I was something that we weren’t expecting, but coach O’Connell did a good job game-planning,” Madison/Carrabec coach Scott Franzose said. “That was our game plan. We wanted to use our speed. They took it away from us early and did a good job using their size advantage.”

Nokomis’ defensive line pressured Madison/Carrabec QB Chase Malloy for much of the day. With six minutes left in the half, McFarlin chased him down and batted Malloy’s attempt to get rid of the football into the air to an alert Nichols. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior stiff-armed the only Bulldog standing between him and the end zone as he rumbled 30 yards for a touchdown which, after Kershner’s second two-point run, made it 16-0.

“I saw the ball in the air and I grabbed and I didn’t look back,” Nichols said.

“First of all, he understands the game well,” O’Connor said of Nichols. “Usually when you’re that big, you don’t really move all that well at this age. He is a terrific athlete and he is probably the most physically dominating player I’ve ever coached.”

Madison/Carrabec’s best drive of the half stalled at Nokomis’ 13 thanks to Alex Chipman’s sack of Malloy on 4th-and-8.

The Bulldogs managed just three yards net rushing on the afternoon.

“We knew that they had a few kids on their offense that they like to get the ball to,” O’Connor said. “We keyed on three different kids all week, watched a lot of film and saw them live last week at Old Town. I just thought we prepared well and the kids bought into what we were trying to sell.”

The Bulldogs (1-2) did better against the run but couldn’t get out of neutral on offense in the third quarter. That kept them pinned back deep in their own territory until Malloy (9-for-20, 218 yards) found Derek LeBlanc deep down the right sideline for a 77-yard touchdown with 11:09 remaining. Malloy’s two-point pass to Briar Edgerly made it 16-8.

Nokomis (1-2) responded with a 14-play drive, all on the ground, with Kershner, Dylan Thibodeau and Joey Marriner doing the bulk of the work before McFarlin busted up the middle for a 19-yard touchdown with 4:45 left.

The Warriors recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Bulldogs’ 36 and needed just four plays to get another TD run from McFarlin, this one from 18 yards.

“This win is going to set the tone for the rest of the season for us,” Kershner said. “I think this win will give us confidence to go into the rest of the season and win some more games.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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