READFIELD — The Maranacook football team seemed a play away Friday night from pulling off an upset against Dirigo.

Those plays generally came from quarterback Riley Robinson or wideout Gavin Arsenault, senior buddies who have carried the Cougars to success for three seasons.

Robinson rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 54 and a score to Arsenault in Dirigo’s 29-20 victory at the Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams.

It was the regular season Class D Campbell Conference finale for both teams. Dirigo (6-2) took over second place in the conference while Maranacook (4-3) will hit the road for the first round of the playoffs, likely against rival Winthrop/Monmouth.

Robinson rushed the ball 24 times behind a big efficient offensive line. Ninety four of those yards came in the first half, although the Black Bears led 12-7 at intermission.

“He just wants to carry the ball,” Dirigo coach Jim Hersom said. “He says ‘give me the ball, give me the ball.’ He’s a good kid and he can handle it.”

The game turned in the third quarter when the Cougars scored twice to take a 21-12 lead. Robinson rushed both scores from 4 yards out.

“Our line was great,” Robinson said. “They were the men tonight and just made it easy on me.”

The Cougars went up 29-12 midway through the fourth quarter when Robinson hit Arsenault on a fade route to the right pylon on fourth-and-goal from the 15. Arsenault made an acrobatic catch for the two-point conversion.

“I’ve been playing with Gavin since second grade and I trust him,” Robinson said. “I see him man to man and I’m going to him every time.”

The Black Bears didn’t go quietly. Brandyn Michaud returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the Dirigo 24. Six plays later, Zach Lacasse rushed in from the 4 and quarterback Kyle Morand bulled his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 29-20 with 5:35 left.

Maranacook would get the ball back two more times after forcing Dirigo punts. The first drive ended when Arsenault intercepted Morand for the third time in the game and the second when the Black Bears simply ran out of time.

“I thought the effort was great,” Maranacook coach Joe Emery said. “The kids played their hearts out for four quarters. We had a couple of unfortunate breaks.”

The Black Bears and Morand kept the ball on the ground in the first half and out of Dirigo’s hands. Michaud scored on fourth down from 21 yards out in the first quarter, breaking off right tackle and going in untouched. Lacasse caught a 35-yard swing pass from Morand in the second quarter to set up the second score a 2-yard plunge from Ty Smith.

The Black Bears just didn’t have the ball in the third quarter. Morand was picked off twice, both times by Arsenault, as they ran just seven lays from scrimmage. Once the fell behind, the Bears were forced to throw. Morand had his moments, completing 11 or 23 passes for 124 yards.

“He did good,” Emery said. “I thought he had a great game. We tried some different stuff tonight and they executed pretty well.”


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