WinslowWINSLOW — It was closer this time. A lot closer.

But in the rematch of the Battle of the Bridge, the Winslow football team’s offense once again proved too much to handle.

Able to move the ball at will all game, the Black Raiders held off a challenge from rival Waterville, 46-28, in the Class C North quarterfinals at Poulin Field on Saturday afternoon.

“We did a little bit of everything there. Some nice yardage totals, both passing and rushing,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said. “We’re pleased with our effort. It was a nice team win, (contributions from) different people.”

Ben Dorval led the effort, rushing for 193 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, but he wasn’t alone. Isaiah Goldsmith ran for 34 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another, Marek Widerynski had four catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns and Alex Demers ran for 36 yards on five carries to help put the game away.

Winslow gained 402 yards of total offense. The Black Raiders never punted, and were kept out of the end zone only once.

“A lot of us played with a lot of emotion, knowing there are four seniors on this team that weren’t going to step on this field after this game,” said Dorval, one of those seniors. “Every play, we’d be like ‘Four more yards, boys. Four more yards.’ ”

This time, however, there was pushback. Unlike in the teams’ first matchup in September, a 54-13 Winslow victory, Waterville kept answering. Quarterback Jack Thompson (19 carries, 100 yards, touchdown) and backs Nicholas Wildhaber (15 carries, 83 yards, touchdown), Anthony Singh (10 carries, 36 yards, two touchdowns) and Trafton Gilbert (seven carries, 38 yards) led an offense that coach Matt Gilley said was determined to have a different showing with a second crack at its neighbor.

“I think it’s well-known that our team has had a little bit of a mental block when we come over across the river. We had been talking about that non-stop this week,” Gilley said. “We’ve been talking … ‘It can go that way again, or you can all get together and you can make it a game.’ And early on this week, we saw the tone change.”

The teams went back-and-forth in the first half. Winslow struck first, getting a 47-yard return of the opening kickoff from Dorval and finishing the drive with a 21-yard pass from Colby Pomeroy (6-of-9, 94 yards) to Widerynski that the sophomore leapt up and pulled away from a defender.

“He’s a crazy good athlete. He’s like 6-4, 200 pounds,” Goldsmith said. “He’s a real big guy, and he can go up and get the ball.”

Waterville answered with a 66-yard drive, finishing the series with a 9-yard run from Wildhaber to tie the game at 7. Winslow scored on its next two drives, on runs of 13 and 5 yards by Goldsmith, but Waterville got a 5-yard run from Singh to make it 19-13 with 1:26 left in the half.

There was still enough time for the Black Raiders. Tyler Brockway returned the ensuing kickoff from the 21 to the Waterville 20-yard line, and though the Purple Panthers forced Winslow into a 3rd-and-goal from the 17, the Black Raiders converted when Goldsmith took a carry right and, with the defense closing in, lofted a pass to an open Widerynski for a 25-13 lead with 20 seconds to go.

Gilley said the defense forgot its responsibility for a second, and paid the price.

“We’ve got a few really aggressive guys on the edge that, the second they think it’s run, they want to fly up the field,” he said. “Which is great, but this week we tweaked a few things on defense, and that wasn’t their role. … You could see the wheels turning. He knew, the second he took a step inside, ‘Uh oh, that’s not what we were supposed to do this week.’ ”

Winslow turned the ball over on downs on its first series of the second half, but cashed in on its second, with Dorval — who ran for 157 of his yards after halftime — running in from 5 yards out for a 32-13 lead with 2:27 to go in the third quarter.

Waterville answered on the next series, with Singh scoring from a yard out, but the Purple Panthers couldn’t get the stop they needed. Dorval capped the next drive with a 3-yard touchdown, and after Thompson brought Waterville down the field on the next series and scored on a 10-yard run, Dorval dove in from a yard out to cap a 50-yard drive, make the score 46-28 with 3:05 left and seal the victory.

“Ben ran like crazy,” Siviski said. “He ran really tough, and that helped us out a lot.”

“We knew it would be a lot tougher,” Dorval said. “(And) they did have a chance. But we just answered every time.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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