Work on the new turf field at Hoch Field in Gardiner is completed, and the football team played a scrimmage on it Friday night. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The season was over, but the Gardiner football team still had a field to break in.

Days after their season came to an end in the Class C South quarterfinals, the Tigers took to Hoch Field for an intra-squad contest, their first competition on the brand-new surface.

It was part of a school-wide event — the boys and girls soccer teams also played games on the field — and it gave the Gardiner seniors a chance to make their awaited debut on what will be the team’s new home.

Coach Pat Munzing said it was important for the players to get on the field after they thought they were going to be able to play the whole season on it. Delays in delivering the turf caused the project to be pushed back.

“The promise of turf this year just didn’t happen, so we really wanted to hold that true,” Munzing said. “Athletic director Nate Stubbert and I were talking, and he was like ‘Hey, let’s do this,’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, let’s get it done.’ It came together super quick.”

After practicing Thursday afternoon for their first action on the field, the Tigers played in a Black and Orange game Friday. The team went through the pre-game procedure it didn’t get to do at home this year, and even had a full crowd on hand to watch the game.


“It was neat. It’s a great way to end the season,” Munzing said. “For all but a handful of teams, everybody ends their season with a loss. So for us, we were like ‘Hey, I bet we win tonight!'”

Munzing said it was appropriate for the players to get that chance.

Work on the new turf Hoch Field is done — and the football team played an intrsquad scrimmage on it last Friday night. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It was really rewarding,” he said. “To see the community come back and support the kids, they’ve been there all along. But to see them in our own spot, our own field, and see our lights and our familiar stuff, it was so rewarding for all of them. Especially for our seniors. They can now say they were the first to play a game on the turf.”

As for the field itself, Munzing gave that high marks as well. Hoch Field will look different, with ads for the sponsors on the turf, but Munzing said the team takes pride in it.

“It’s really a great place for us to now call home,” he said. “We’re definitely going to have the advantage with the logos on there, because I think for some teams that’s going to be super distracting. … I told the kids, these things are a sense of pride for you guys. It’s businesses that really support you and your athletic mission.”



• • •


A midseason lull is feeling like a thing of the past for Lawrence.

The Bulldogs are back in the B North final after a 36-20 victory over Cony, and it’s an impressive accomplishment for a team that had a significant bump in the road along the way. Lawrence was banged up for the middle portion of its schedule, a stretch that saw it lose three of four games and fall to 3-3.

Since then, however, Lawrence has won three straight, and looked better with each passing week.

The Lawrence Bulldogs celebrate after a post game talk by coach John Hersom following a Class B North semifinal football win over Cony on Friday in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I think if you look back in history, Lawrence does that a lot,” running back Parker Higgins said. “We get better as the season goes on. Playoffs come, and we’re at our top.”


Injuries were the big reason the Bulldogs dipped, and health has been the reason they’ve been on the rise. They lost fullback and linebacker Matt Trombley in a loss to Thornton Academy and then quarterback Andrew Trombley in a loss to Cony, but Andrew came back for the playoff opener and Matt was back at linebacker for last week’s win against Cony. The offensive line is also at close to full strength, with only guard Storer Boyden still out.

Matt Trombley had no carries against Cony, but coach John Hersom said the team was being conservative working him back in.

“Just having the two Trombley twins healthy and being on the field is going to be a real motivating factor for us,” he said. “We felt kind of depleted when both Trombleys and Storer Boyden, all three captains, were out. We’re feeling a little bit energized with (the Trombleys) being back.”


• • •



Saturday was a good day for Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Logan Baird. A very good day, in fact.

Baird ran for 253 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries in the Ramblers’ 46-27 Class D quarterfinal win over Bucksport. According to coach Dave St. Hilaire, Baird’s performance set a program record for rushing yards in a playoff game, and was the third-highest total on record for any game.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Logan Baird runs the ball up the field during Saturday’s quarterfinal game against Bucksport in Winthrop. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Baird has now run 97 times for 764 yards (a 7.9 average) and 11 touchdowns for the Ramblers. Saturday was his first 200-yard game of the season and fourth time topping 100 yards, he also reached the number in wins over John Bapst (125 yards), Madison (100) and Freeport (114).


• • •



After a strong first half in which he nearly pulled Cony out of a three-score deficit, Rams quarterback James Presti struggled to find that success in the second.

Turns out, there was a reason.

Presti tore his medial collateral ligament on the second to last play of the second quarter, coach B.L. Lippert said Saturday evening. Lippert said Presti didn’t tell coaches anything was wrong.

After Cony fell behind 28-7, Presti ran for a touchdown and then threw another to Sam Flannery. On the last possession of the half he completed a 44-yard pass to Derek Totten to the 2-yard line with Cony down 28-20, and seemed to throw another touchdown pass to Ashton Dennett. An offensive pass interference call wiped out the score, however, and Presti threw three incompletions to end the drive.

Affected by the injury, he went 3-for-9 for 38 yards after going 17-for-34 for 228 yards in the first half.

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