PITTSFIELD — After a pregame fireworks display, the Maine Central Institute football team put forth an impressive showing of its own Friday night at Alumni Field.

It just took a little longer than some may have expected.

After a slow start, the Huskies hit their stride to capture the Class D North championship for the second straight season with a 45-0 win over Mattanawcook Academy. The Huskies will face the winner of Saturday’s Class D South final between Oak Hill and Lisbon.

“It means everything. I’d do anything to get back there and we made it,” MCI senior lineman Curtis McLeod said. “We’ve got our ticket and it’s time.”

For MCI, making a return trip to the Class D title game will be a shot at redemption after it lost to Oak Hill in last season’s final, 41-21. This year’s game will be played Friday at 7 p.m. at the University of Maine.

“We came up short last year and it’s not a very good feeling, but we’re going back,” MCI senior Alex Bertrand said. “We’ve got a second chance and we’re going to take it.”

By halftime Friday night, MCI (10-0) had put the game away up 37-0 behind a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. The Huskies outgained Mattanawcook 315 to minus-16 in the first half thanks in part to a big performance from Willie Moss.

The junior running back rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries — with only three rushes for 4 yards in the second half – while quarterback Greg Vigue completed 7-of-12 passes for 135 yards, one interception and one touchdown. Bertrand chipped in with six carries for 26 yards and a touchdown.

“My O-line is just great. They really just provide the heart of our offense for us,” Moss said. “They get things done and they make my life easier.”

Both teams got off to slow starts Friday night, with Mattanawcook opening with a three-and-out on its first possession and Vigue throwing an interception two plays into MCI’s first offensive series.

Mattanawcook and MCI alternated punts on the game’s next three possessions before Moss and the Huskies began to hit their stride. Moss gave MCI a 7-0 lead with 2:57 remaining in the first quarter on a 10-yard run, which was set up by a 42-yard scamper by the tail back two plays earlier.

From there it was all MCI, as the Huskies scored touchdowns on their final five possessions of the first half — including a 23-yard strike from Vigue to Josh Buker as time expired in the first half.

“We just want to show our dominance in the league and show that we don’t give up,” Moss said. “…We like to go for it all.”

John Haliburton capped off the game’s scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter for MCI, which outgained Mattanawcook 380 to minus-13 in yards for the contest.

“Really, we just played our game,” McLeod said. “We played hard-nosed, Husky football. We came out and we did it. It worked.

“All our guys pulled together and we’re 11 dogs flying around the field. There’s nothing else like it.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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