PITTSFIELD — It didn’t take long for the Maine Central Institute football team to remind people that the defending Class C champions are not backing down.

In fact, all it took was about one half Friday night at Alumni Field.

Top-seeded MCI cruised to a 50-6 victory over No. 8 Belfast in a Class C North quarterfinal game in front of a packed crowd. The Huskies (8-1) —winners of eight straight — will host the winner of Saturday’s game between Nokomis and Medomak Valley in the semifinals.

“We needed to regroup after (last week’s 24-21 win over Nokomis); they kind of put it to us,” MCI head coach Tom Bertrand said. “We realized that we needed to make some adjustments, and we had a good week of prep. We knew we needed to sharpen things up a little bit, and that’s what we did.”

MCI was dominant on both sides of the ball against the Lions (2-7). Offensively, the Huskies racked up 409 yards, including 330 rushing yards.

Tucker Sharples led the starters with 90 yards on 11 carries, along with a touchdown. For Sharples and the offense, the game plan was simple.

“Win,” Sharples said. “We came in knowing we were going to win. That’s what we did.”

Sophomore running back Cole Steeves led the way for MCI in the second half, needing just seven carries to gain 143 yards, scoring three touchdowns, which included scoring runs of 61 and 52 yards, respectively.

MCI was just as successful on defense, limiting Belfast to 76 offensive yards.

“We talk a lot about swarming to the ball as a pack,” Sharples said. “I think we did that quite well tonight. When you saw a tackle, you saw 11 dogs on the ball.”

“(The defense) has been our heartbeat all year, and probably will be throughout the postseason,” Bertrand said. “As they go, we go.”

Though out-manned, the Lions continued to fight and avoided the shutout in the fourth quarter when quarterback Dylan Abbott connected with Tanner Veilleux for a 12-yard touchdown pass.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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