NEWPORT — The first playoff win in the Nokomis football program’s history passed — just as the Warriors had played their Class C North quarterfinal against Medomak Valley — with little fanfare.

The fourth-seeded Warriors were efficient — if unspectacular — in a thorough 38-6 win over the No. 5 Panthers on Saturday. Nokomis (5-4) advances to meet defending state champion Maine Central Institute in the regional semifinals next weekend.

Nokomis scored 24 points after halftime to pull away from the Panthers (4-5), who could get very little going on the ground after falling behind early.

Nokomis quarterback Andrew Haining passes the ball against Medomak Valley during a Class C North quarterfinal game Saturday in Newport. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

“It’s just another game and another box we had to check off, that’s all it is,” said Nokomis coach Jake Rogers, who implored upon his team in the end zone celebration to forget about Saturday’s win as soon as the players walked off the field. “We want to keep getting better, but it’s little steps. It’s baby steps.”

Alex Costedio was a multi-faceted option for Nokomis, running for 86 yards with a pair of second-half touchdowns while also catching five Andrew Haining passes for another 28 yards. Haining completed 11 of his 15 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

The most important player on the field for the Warriors, though, might have been David Wilson.

Wilson, who rushed for 30 yards, recovered a pair of Medomak fumbles in the third quarter — including one on a muffed punt return by Brian Pollard after Medomak had held Nokomis three-and-out on the first possession of the half.

That set the Warriors up near midfield, and they promptly orchestrated a 48-yard scoring drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Wilson.

“The ball just came out and I grabbed it. It wasn’t because of me,” Wilson said. “It got us going after we started out kind of slow.”

“He is not a ‘me’ guy, he’s a ‘team guy,” Rogers said of Wilson. “If you had 11 of those, you’d be dangerous. We have one, and we’re fortunate to have one. He’s a special player.”

The turn of fortune gave Nokomis a 22-0 lead with 7:58 remaining in the third quarter.

“We’re just not at the level yet where we can make mistakes and have turnovers and expect to stay in a playoff game,” Medomak coach Ryan Snell said. “They get the ball there and it put us in a tough spot.”

Wilson wasn’t done.

After Costedio’s first touchdown made it 29-0, Wilson pounced on a fumble by Drew Severson (85 rushing yards) on the ensuing play from scrimmage from Medomak. It changed the field position game dramatically, and the Warriors capitalized.

Quinton Richards later recovered a third Medomak fumble at the Panther 6-yard line, which the Warriors turned into a 6-yard Costedio score on the very next play.

Twice Nokomis downed punts at the Medomak 1, the second of which set up a safety midway through the fourth quarter when John Tucker sacked Medomak quarterback Eli Miller in the end zone.

Until Severson ran for a 34-yard fourth-quarter touchdown — set up by Miller’s 31-yard completion over the middle to Gabe Shellman two plays earlier — Nokomis held the Panthers to a net of zero yards of total offense in the second half.

“We knew we had to dial it up when we came out of the locker room,” Rogers said. “The kids definitely rose to the occasion.”

Nokomis’s Chance Graves (17) celebrates his touchdown against Medomak Valley with teammates during a Class C North quarterfinal game Saturday in Newport. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Nokomis opened the game with a 10-play, 57-yard march on its first possession to build a 7-0 lead early in the opening quarter.

The Warriors then dealt a big blow to Medomak in the final minute of the first half. Haining connected with Chance Graves for a 44-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead heading into the break.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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