PITTSFIELD — The Maine Central Institute football team had the top seed in the Class D North playoffs wrapped up. But the Huskies also had another game remaining, against playoff hopeful Mount View. And coach Tom Bertrand admitted that, for a while, he didn’t know how to play it.

“We struggled all week with what to do and how to handle this game,” he said. “We knew that they were going to compete … so we figured we needed to do the same thing.”

The scoreboard was evident of that. MCI seized control in the first half and never let go, cruising to a 37-7 win that bumped Mount View from the postseason race.

“Even though it was meaningless for our standings, it always means something when you’re playing football,” said Bertrand, whose team was up 21-0 at halftime en route to improving to 9-0. “That’s why we wanted to play. … It’s a game of rhythm, and these kids deserve to play.”

Mount View ended up 5-4, notching a second straight winning season for the first time in program history, but it wasn’t enough to extend the season another week. The Mustangs needed to win and get help to make the postseason, and D North’s fourth and final spot will instead go to Bucksport.

“We’re the only division in the state that doesn’t have six teams in the playoffs. We would have been back in the playoffs again,” coach Haggie Pratt said. “Instead, it’s too bad to walk off tonight feeling like we didn’t accomplish our goals.”

A Mount View mistake opened the floodgates for the MCI romp in the first half. The Mustangs crossed into Huskies territory on their first drive, but wasted the opportunity when James Thompson lost the ball on a carry at the MCI 45.

The Huskies seized the opportunity to take command. With Willie Moss (14 carries, 59 yards) and Adam Bertrand (10 carries, 74 yards) sharing carries, MCI marched down to the 8-yard line, and Bertrand beat the Mustangs defense around the left side for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 7:28 left in the first.

“They were moving the ball on fullback trap. We know we have to stop the fullback. To stop Mount View, you’ve got to start there. And we weren’t doing it,” Coach Bertrand said. “We made a play, took advantage of it and were able to capitalize.”

Mount View reached MCI territory on its second drive before the series ended with a punt, and the Huskies burned the Mustangs again, covering 80 yards in 12 plays, the last of which was an 11-yard completion from Josh Buker to David Young in the back corner of the end zone. It was Buker’s first recorded pass of the game, and it gave MCI a 14-0 advantage with 11:03 to go in the half.

“It takes very little for the wind to go out of our sails,” Pratt said. “When you’ve got that year-after-year losing mentality, sometimes you’re just waiting for things to go wrong.”

The Huskies weren’t done. A defensive stand gave MCI short field after a punt, and the Huskies needed only four plays to cover the 52 yards for the score. Bertrand’s 29-yard run got the drive started, and he finished it with a 4-yard run for a 21-0 lead with 3:19 left in the half.

MCI pulled its offensive starters after the drive, but the points kept coming in the second half. MCI forced a punt, and Moss took the ball before lateraling it to Buker, and the electrifying return man raced 73 yards for the touchdown, his seventh on punt returns, and a 29-0 lead with 8:09 to go in the third.

Mount View broke through on the scoreboard on the next drive on a 5-yard run on fourth-and-goal from quarterback Rayno Boivin, but Travis Brunette found the end zone from 2 yards out with 4:56 to play to round out the scoring.

“The other three games we lost were close, close games,” said Pratt, whose team got 77 yards on 14 carries from Darrin Cook. “I’m really proud of these kids. When we’re poised, our offense is fun to watch. They’re fast-paced and do a lot of good things. They’re good kids.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM


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