The 2014 Winslow High School football team was coming off a pair of seasons in which it came close, but not close enough, to the pinnacle. In 2012, the Black Raiders lost a close game to Foxcroft Academy in the Class C state championship. In 2013, Winslow lost the state game again, this time to a Leavitt team that pulled away in the second half to win a blowout.

In 2014, everything came together for Winslow. A veteran team pulled away from the rest of the Big 11 Conference in the regular season, then easily won a pair of regional playoff games to set up a rematch with Leavitt in the state championship at the University of Maine.

“We had blood in our mouth from the year before,” said Dylan Hapworth, Winslow’s standout tailback that season. “I knew we weren’t going to let them beat us again.”

Winslow running back Dylan Hapworth looks for extra yards during the 2015 Class C title game against Foxcroft Academy in Portland. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

On a cold Friday night in Orono, Winslow dominated the state game before everyone was doing it, taking a 62-14 win. At the time, it was the most lopsided state championship game in 21 years.

As we look back at a decade of high school football in central Maine, the 2014 Winslow Black Raiders are the team of the decade.

Entering the season, the Black Raiders knew they were talented, but with strong conference opponents like Foxcroft and Waterville, they knew they’d be tested.

“We just were expected to win. We had the perfect guys at every position,” said Hapworth, who scored 50 points (seven touchdowns and eight extra points) to go with 300 all-purpose yards in the state championship game rout. “What really drove us was those two state championship losses in a row the two years before.”

The Black Raiders had just one game decided by less than 16 points, a 26-25 win at Foxcroft late in the regular season. After tough practices, games were easy.

“We had the best coaching staff. We were so prepared every week. All we had to do was play. We didn’t have to think,” Hapworth said.

2. 2013 Cony Rams. One of the most explosive offensive teams of the era, Cony was never held under 20 points. Led by quarterback Ben Lucas and wide receiver Jonathan Saban, the Rams averaged 42 points per game.

The Rams trailed Kennebunk in the Class B state championship game 16-0 in the third quarter before Lucas took over. Lucas’ 41st touchdown pass of the season, a 25-yarder to Saban, came with a minute left and gave Cony the lead for good.

The state championship was Cony’s first since 1932, an era in which championships were awarded, not won on the field.

3. 2012 Mt. Blue Cougars. In 2011, the Cougars gave Mt. Blue fans a taste of what was to come when they reached the Class B East championship game, falling to Leavitt in double overtime. In 2012, everything clicked for Mt. Blue.

The Cougars rolled through the regular season with little trouble, winning all but two games by at least 13 points. Mt. Blue was tested in the first round of the regional playoffs by an upset-minded Mt. Desert Island, pulling out a 14-13 win. The Cougars won a 44-42 shootout over Marshwood in the state championship, with quarterback Jordan Whitney running for 124 yards and throwing for 69.

The gold ball was Mt. Blue’s first since 1980. Zak Kendall was a finalist for the Gaziano Award, given annually to the top senior offensive and defensive linemen in the state.

Cony’s Anthony Moore celebrates with his teammates after the Rams sank Brunswick in an Eastern B playoff game on Nov. 15, 2013 in Brunswick. Portland Press Herald file photo by Gabe Souza

4.2012 Lawrence Bulldogs. In the final season of three classes in Maine high school football, Lawrence dominated the old Pine Tree Conference. The average margin of victory in the Bulldogs’ 10 wins was 29 points.

Lawrence’s offense was led by a senior class full of weapons. Backs Anthony Sementelli and twins Jake and Josh Doolan were breakaway threats every time they carried the ball. Quarterback/safety Spencer Carey was a two-way game changer who went on to play at the University of Maine.

Lawrence’s lone loss was to Thornton Academy in the Class A state championship game.

5. 2015 Winslow Black Raiders. The second of Winslow’s back-to-back undefeated Class C state champions, this version of the Black Raiders was built around a dominant defense.

Winslow posted seven shutouts in 11 games, including a five-game stretch over the end of the regular season into the playoffs. After beating a strong Old Town team 40-27 in the conference championship game, the Black Raiders defeated Yarmouth, 24-10, in the state final for their second straight title.

Senior Alec Clark led the team as a guard and linebacker, and won the Gaziano Award for offensive linemen.

6. 2015 Oak Hill Raiders. The third of Oak Hill’s three consecutive Class D state champions, the 2015 Raiders averaged just over 30 points per game.

The Raiders survived close playoff games against Winthrop/Monmouth, and Lisbon in the Class D South regionals to set up a rematch with Maine Central Institute in the state game. Quarterback Dalton Therrien had the game of his life against MCI, accounting for 422 total yards and five touchdowns in the Raiders’ 34-21 win. Levi Buteau forced a pair of turnovers in the final five minutes, two of the seven turnovers Oak Hill forced that night, to seal the win and cap Oak Hill’s undefeated season.

7. 2017 Maine Central Institute Huskies. After winning the Class D state title in 2016, realignment moved the Huskies up to Class C in 2017. MCI went 4-4 in the regular season, and in the playoffs showed it was ready to handle the step up in competition.

Three of MCI’s four postseason wins, including a 30-13 victory over Cape Elizabeth in the state championship game at the University of Maine, came over teams that had defeated the Huskies in the regular season. Two of those wins, over Winslow in the conference semifinals and Mt. Desert Island in the Big 11 Conference championship game, were on the road, further cementing MCI’s championship pedigree.

Andre Klokov hoists the Class D South championship plaque after Oak Hill beat Lisbon on Nov. 14, 2015 in Wales. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

8. 2016 Maine Central Institute Huskies. For a third straight season, MCI rolled through the Little Ten Conference. No conference opponent held the Huskies under 35 points, and the team rolled to a 41-0 win over Dexter in the conference championship game.

MCI trailed Lisbon 14-0 at halftime of the Class D state championship game before rallying and giving fans the craziest finish to a state final football game in memory. On a field goal try with 3 seconds left, Eli Bussell dropped the snap, but was able to run for the winning score with no time on the clock.

9. 2014 Oak Hill Raiders. The second of Oak Hill’s three straight state championship winning teams, the Raiders lost a close game to Dirigo early in the season but never lose again.

The Raiders avenged that loss to Dirigo with a 25-6 win over the Cougars in the conference semifinals. Oak Hill took a tight 7-6 win over Lisbon in the Campbell Conference championship game, then defeated MCI 41-21 to win its second straight Gold Ball.

10. 2018 Nokomis Warriors. Nokomis was considered a good team in the Big 11 Conference at the start of the 2018 season. The Warriors improved week by week, and when the playoffs began, Nokomis was a defensive force.

In four playoff wins, Nokomis allwed 24 total points, including a 13-0 shutout over defending state champion MCI. In the conference final, the Warriors held a Hermon team averaging just under 35 points per game to a touchdown in a 13-6 win. The state championship game 13-12 win over Fryeburg was sealed with Tyler Pelletier’s 68-yarrd punt return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.


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