WATERVILLE — Some plays were as violently basic as the offensive line pushing forward and the ball carrier following behind. Some plays were fancier, like inside counters, wide runs, and the always effective, “Give the ball to Jonathan Santiago and let’s see what he can do” play.

All of them, in some way or another, gained Maine Central Institute a few bits of yardage. In contrast, Mattanawcook had trouble moving forward all night.

MCI held the Lynx to one first down the entire game. The Huskies put the game away in the second half on their way to a 20-0 victory in an Eastern D football semifinal on Friday night at Seaverns Field on the campus of Colby College.

“We came out and we set the tone early,” MCI’s Eric Hathaway said. “We set on a goal on the defense, the D-line. We said, ‘We’re gonna win it at the line of scrimmage.’ We kept that up all night. We held each other accountable.”

With the win, MCI advances to the Eastern D final against Bucksport. That game will be played at Maine Central Institute. The Huskies’ field was unavailable this weekend because of recent rains.

“It was just like playing in Pittsfield,” Hathaway said. “Everybody came down from town. We’ve got a great community surrounding us. We just feed off their energy, so it was just like playing at home. It was nice.”

Santiago and Hathaway each surpassed 100 yards rushing on the night. Santiago finished with 137 yards on 25 carries, while Hathaway added 111 yards on 18 attempts.

The two halves were remarkably similar statistically. MCI outgained the Lynx, 193-13 in the first half, and 194-13 in the second half.

The Huskies scored on their first possession, with Santiago polishing off an eight-play, 56-yard drive with a 14-yard run with 8 minutes, 26 seconds left in the first quarter.

MCI had a 17-play drive later in the first half, but lost the ball on downs at the Mattanawcook 33-yard line. On their next possession, the Huskies drove from their 32 before throwing incomplete on fourth down from the Mattanawcook 18.

“I think it ended the way it should have been,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said. “We stalled some drives in the first half, but they were playing hard, tough-nosed defense. They’re better than a No. 4 seed in our league. They’re a really good football team, and they battled us hard.”

The Lynx recorded their only first down with five minutes left in the first quarter on a 19-yard run by Holden Kimball. Otherwise, Mattanawcook’s longest drive was 6 yards.

“We knew that we were going to have our defense step up and play big, because they’re able to move the football,” Bertrand said. “We knew that they were a physical football team defensively, but we felt like we could move the ball on them. So we knew our defense had to step up.”

MCI scored on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter. Santiago ran one in from 9 yards out, and Hathaway went over on a 2-yard dive. The Huskies limited Mattanawcook to 14 offensive plays in the second half.

“We knew that in order for us to play in Pittsfield next week that we were going to have to win down here,” Bertrand said. “We just couldn’t play on our field. We would have torn it up. So we just said, ‘We’re gonna come down here and this is gonna be our home field for the night.’ Colby’s been great to us, and it’s a nice place to play football, but we’re excited to go back to Pittsfield and play football there.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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