MADISON — The heavy rains didn’t come until midway through the second quarter, but, in truth, it started pouring on the Hermon Hawks much earlier than that.

Madison/Carrabec scored twice on its first four offensive plays from scrimmage and the Bulldogs were off and running, posting a 68-8 victory over Hermon in a Big Ten Conference game Friday night. Senior tailback Nick Morales ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns and junior quarterback Evan Bess threw for 167 yards and two scores as the Bulldogs likely earned a first-round bye in the Class C North playoffs on the strength of more than 600 yards of total offense.

Madison/Carrabec (7-1) will earn the No. 2 seed in the region if Winslow beats winless Waterville in the Battle of the Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

“You’re going to have to put ‘bye’ in quotes, because coach is going to chew us apart for all the fundamental things all season that we missed on,” Morales said. “But a bye will be different for us. We haven’t had one of those since probably the last time we won the state title (in 1994), but it’s playoffs — so, anything can happen.”

One thing that happened Friday night was that the Bulldogs refused to give Hermon (2-6) any momentum. Madison/Carrabec started the game with an onsides kick and needed just three plays to punch the ball over the goal line on Sean Whalen’s 15-yard run just 51 seconds into the first quarter.

After the Hawks then turned the ball over on downs near midfield on their ensuing possession, Morales took a handoff on the very next play and ran 49 yards untouched for a 14-0 lead before the game was even five minutes old.


The Hawks got little going after that, with Bess intercepting a Connor Magliozzi pass at the Madison 38-yard line to thwart one drive and another fourth-down turnover on the next. The Bulldogs took over on their own 36 and once again needed just one play — as Whalen scampered 64 yards for a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Though Whalen wasn’t featured as widely in the second half, the junior fullback had a week’s worth of numbers in a huge first two quarters — he carried the ball four times for 105 yards and two rushing touchdowns. And he still wasn’t done.

Following a Hermon punt, Whalen — who’d dropped a sure touchdown catch in the first quarter — hauled in a 48-yard Bess pass over the middle for another score, making it 26-0 with over eight minutes left in the half.

“That’s kind of what we do. We’re a tempo offense,” Carrabec/Madison head coach Scott Franzose said. “The great thing is that we have athletes across the board. We’ve got six guys that can all make plays, and we get the ball to them. That’s a lot of assignment football, and it causes problems for people. It’s just kind of doing what we do, and they do a great job executing it.”

The rout, and running time for the second half, was ensured when Bess ran it in from 12 yards out on a quarterback draw with just six seconds remaining in the second quarter. The score gave the home team a 40-0 lead, and with the heaviest of rain starting to fall and rapidly deteriorating field conditions, that lead was insurmountable.

“It all starts with the offensive line. They did a great job tonight,” Bess said. “The backs make it really easy. Reading the defense is something that we practice, and the backs read the defense, as well. Everybody’s on the same page.”

Even running time did little to slow Madison/Carrabec. Morales added a touchdown run that covered 51 yards, while Steven Ouellette also had a six-yard TD run. Bess hit Mitch Jarvais for a 66-yard strike through the air as time expired in the third quarter, and Josh Savage went 30 yards in the final period to cap the Bulldog scoring.

“We don’t take anyone lightly,” Franzose said. “That’s what I love about this group. They stay focused on the task at hand, winning every down. Obviously, a big part of it is that we missed one at MDI… Now, we’ve got to control what we can control, and holding onto that home field (advantage) is a big thing.”

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