First-year Nokomis head coach Jake Rogers knows Saturday’s 15-14 come-from-behind win over Oceanside can be a springboard for his team, but only if it continues to put in the work at practice.

Down 14-7 with 1:17 to play, the Warriors put together a 66-yard drive that culminated in Andrew Haining’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Colby Pinette with 10 seconds remaining. The Warriors then ran a fake kick on the extra point try, with Haining throwing to Chance Graves for the go-ahead 2-point conversion. On the field, only Haining knew the Warriors would run the fake, Rogers said.

“I only told Andrew ‘call fire,’ and they went out and executed,” Rogers said. “I didn’t give them a chance to over-think the 2-point play.”

After a Week 2 loss at Maine Central Institute, Rogers said the Warriors needed to get back to basics. In the practices leading up to the Oceanside game, Rogers dusted off an old line drill he learned a decade ago from the late Wally Covell when both were assistant coaches at Lawrence.

“We ran that for two straight days,” Rogers said. “My guys looked a lot better up front than they did against MCI. Our counter game look jumped forward.”

After back-to-back 0-8 seasons in Class B North, Nokomis is now 2-1. Furthermore, Nokomis has a favorable schedule — its next four opponents — Medomak Valley (1-2), John Bapst (1-2), Houlton (2-1) and Belfast (0-3) — are a combined 3-8.

“We can’t take any of these teams lightly. We had great teams at Lawrence and we occasionally threw up an egg. We’re not good enough to survive thinking we’re better than anybody, because we’re not,” Rogers said.

• • •

Two of the remaining undefeated teams in the Campbell Conference Class D will face each other Friday night, when Madison plays at Wells. The Bulldogs and Warriors have one common opponent, Winthrop/Monmouth.

The scores of each game were similar. Wells beat Winthrop/Monmouth 46-0 in Week 1. Last week, Madison beat the Ramblers, 47-8. Winthrop coach Dave St. Hilaire said both teams are very talented, but use different approaches. Madison will spread the field, mixing the run and pass. Wells will try to run you over.

“It’s two totally different styles. It’s speed versus power next week,” St. Hilaire said. “If I had to pick a winner, maybe Madison in a shootout, but Wells is a tough, tough team. It’s going to be a good game… The first week against Wells, that was a physical game, and we’re still licking our wounds a bit from that.”

Neither Wells nor Madison played in the Campbell Conference Class D last season as each played in Class C. Madison played in the Big Ten Conference, Class C North, winning seven games and reaching the regional semifinals. Wells won the Class C state championship, 44-0, over Mt. Desert Island.

• • •

Saturday’s lopsided loss to Winslow was a setback for an improved Waterville team, but coach Matt Gilley said his team’s mistakes are correctable. It comes down to what every football coach at every level harps on every day.

“One guy can have the greatest day, but if all 11 aren’t on the same page, it doesn’t matter. It was literally one assignment. We saw it all last year. One blown assignment costs you a long play,” Gilley said.

After an 0-8 season in 2016, Waterville opened the season with back-to-back wins. While improved, the loss to the Black Raiders showed Waterville still has a ways to go to be considered a playoff contender. Each of Winslow’s touchdowns came on a play of 20 or more yards, and that’s a sign of the breakdowns Gilley said the team needs to fix.

“They know what they have to do, and it has to get better. It has to get more fluid. That’s the biggest thing,” Gilley said. “We have to stop thinking and just play. We have to get into that flow state where we’re playing and not thinking.”

Waterville’s next two games are on the road. This Friday, the Panthers play a conference game at John Bapst. On Sept. 29, Waterville travels to Lake Region for a Class C crossover game.

• • •

Around the state: Traip Academy has dropped football for the remainder of the season after injuries depleted an already thin roster, according to the Portland Press Herald. … Hermon is 3-0, but the wins came against Old Town, John Bapst and Ellsworth, which are a combined 1-8. The Hawks have stiff competition the next two weeks, with games against MDI and Winslow… Wells and Madison meet Friday in a showdown of undefeated Class D South teams. The third undefeated team in the region is Lisbon. The Greyhounds pulled out a 22-20 win over Mountain Valley on Friday. Lisbon plays at Sacopee Valley on Saturday… The long road trip in the state this week belongs to Washington Academy. The Raiders are scheduled to play in Bethel against Telstar. The drive from Washington Academy’s East Machias campus to Bethel is 458 miles and just under nine hours round trip.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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