WATERVILLE — On a special night with a festive homecoming atmosphere under the lights at Drummond Field, Belfast made itself feel right at home.

The Lions got off to a lightning-quick start and never looked back, keeping their playoff hopes alive with a 34-0 win over Waterville in a Big Ten Conference football game Friday night. Fullback Grey Dinsmore scored three touchdowns and tailback Stan Sturgis ran for 172 yards and a score in a surprise start in the backfield to pace Belfast (2-4).

“This is huge,” Belfast head coach Chris Bartlett said. “I told the guys that with five losses, you’re not going to be able to get into the playoffs. We’re just taking it one day at a time. This was the first one.”

Dinsmore got to work early scoring all of his touchdowns in the first quarter.

On consecutive possessions, Dinsmore scored on runs of 8 and 2 yards to build a 16-0 lead with 1:42 remaining in the first quarter. But Dinsmore wasn’t done yet, as just three plays after his second scoring run he recovered a Waterville fumble and returned it 22 yards for a 22-0 lead in the final seconds of the opening period.

“Honestly, only about five percent of that play was on me. Connor Hartford made an amazing play to get that strip. All I did was I heard ‘Fumble!’ and I just ran to the ball. It just happened that it was me. I didn’t do anything special on that play. I was just the right guy in the right spot.”

The early lead was exactly what Belfast needed.

“It really helped to get out and get up early to keep us into the game and kickstart everything,” said Dinsmore, who finished with 92 yards rushing. “We knew we had to come out, we had to win and we had to play to our potential. To put up 28 in the first half was just perfect.”

“The last few weeks has been a struggle for us to get things going,” Bartlett said of the fast start. “Last week, we got an early score and then we kind of had some mental mistakes and let up. We really preached all week that once we get that first one through to just keep on pushing.”

Belfast kept its foot on the gas pedal in the second quarter, capping a 13-play scoring march with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Akles into the arms of Tristan Roberts, who tipped the ball to himself to out-muscle Panther defensive back Kody Vallee for possession of the ball in the end zone. The first 12 plays of the drive were runs.

“(Starting tailback Tyler) McLeod rolled his ankle with about five minutes to go in practice (Thursday),” Bartlett said. “We’ve got Stan who is obviously very talented, and we’ve got a freshman who’s pretty talented, too. With Grey in front of them, we figured we’d be all set.”

With just under five minutes remaining in the second, Belfast was off to an insurmountable 28-0 lead.

“It’s sort of a common theme for this season, we’re moving people around due to a whole host of reasons,” Waterville head coach Matt Gilley said. “It’s sort of ‘next guy up,’ and it becomes trial by fire for the younger guys. They’re playing hard every single down. You really can’t fault them. They’re giving it everything they’ve got.”

It was a first half to forget for Waterville (0-6), which was out-gained in total offensive yards by a margin of 239-7 over the first 24 minutes. A steady diet of Sturgis and Dinsmore contributed to the massive advantage for the Lions, as did an effective 3 of 4 passing half for Akles that covered 67 yards.

Waterville didn’t get its first first down of the game until the third quarter. Belfast continued to dominate the time of possession and yardage statistics, but three second-half fumbles limited the Lions’ onslaught to just a two-yard touchdown run from Sturgis midway through the fourth quarter after halftime.

“What we’re looking at from this angle is young guys played hard, our boosters organization again put on a pretty special event for Homecoming,” Gilley said. “Our football support is just absolutely outstanding, and as we’ve said before, we’re building for the future. This is part of it.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.