Winslow players celebrate a touchdown run by Jared Newgard during the second half against Nokomis in a Class C North football quarterfinal game Saturday in Newport. The Black Raiders won the game 27-12 to advance to the regional semifinals. Mike Mandell/Morning Sentinel

NEWPORT — This is what Winslow football is supposed to look like.

Five yards and a cloud of dust on offense; hard hits on defense; complete control of time of possession. It was all happening for the Black Raiders on Saturday as Winslow claimed a 27-12 road win over Nokomis in a Class C North quarterfinal showdown.

“That’s what we like to do, if we can,” said Winslow head coach Wes Littlefield. “Our game is to be physical and control the clock. Our kids really bought into the mentality of grinding it out this week, and we were able to do that.”

Matt Quirion returned from injury for Winslow to register 127 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries on offense and two sacks on defense. The No. 5 Black Raiders (4-5) also got 84 yards on 19 carries from Pedro Garcia, 61 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries from Liem Fortin and 34 yards and a touchdown on eight carries from Jared Newgard.

Fourth-ranked Nokomis (5-4) scored first in under two minutes, using a 25-yard pass from Grady Hartsgrove to Seth Bowden to set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Oakley Prescott on first-and-goal. Winslow responded on the next drive as Fortin capped off a nine-play, 55-yard drive with a 4-yard score that put the Black Raiders up 7-6 with 4:51 left in the first quarter.

Winslow then forced a three-and-out and scored again with 8:55 left in the half on a 4-yard run by Quirion. Nokomis had a chance to respond late as it drove inside the 10, but a Gavin Chambers interception stopped the drive dead in its tracks as the Black Raiders went into the break up 14-6.


“At halftime, I said, ‘Hey, we were in this situation last week, and we gave it up,’” said Littlefield, referencing a 28-14 loss to Maine Central Institute last Saturday in which the Black Raiders led by the same 14-6 score at the break. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t give it up like that again.”

Winslow ensured that by mounting a drive that would have made Black Raiders teams of old beam with joy. Taking the ball to begin the third quarter, Winslow went 68 yards on 20 plays and ate up 11:55 of game time with Quirion scoring from 5 yards out to stretch the visitors’ lead to 21-6.

It was a drive in which Winslow converted three times on third down and twice on fourth down. The Black Raiders, who ran the ball on each of their 20 downs, didn’t have a play of longer than 9 yards — a slow, ball-dominant style of football that Nokomis hadn’t seen all season.

“That style of football, it’s hard when you don’t see it, and it’s hard to replicate it during practice,” said Nokomis head coach Jake Rogers. “They really executed it at a high level today. … They just played at a higher level today than we did, and that’s the way it is.”

Nokomis pulled within 21-12 on the ensuing possession as Hartsgrove found Madden White for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 9:16 left to play. Winslow answered right back as a 1-yard plunge from Newgard capped off an 11-play, 60-yard drive that ate up more than seven minutes of clock and put the game out of reach.

Hartsgrove finished 10 of 20 for 154 passing yards, three interceptions and the opening touchdown pass to White, who finished with four catches for 47 yards. Nokomis also got two receptions for 43 yards from Seth Bowden. The Warriors rushed for 82 yards as a team.


“We thought going in that we we had a good defensive game plan against them,” said Littlefield, whose team snapped a four-game losing streak with the win. “We were mixing some things up, and I think we confused them a little bit on the back end, which was our goal. I’m really happy with how the kids played back there today.”

Winslow got a major boost with the presence of Quirion, one of Class C’s top running backs and one of the team’s emotional leaders. The standout junior had been sidelined since leaving the Black Raiders’ Week 1 win over Old Town with a wrist injury but returned Saturday with a club on his left arm.

“I definitely missed playing football; it’s one of my favorite things in the world,” Quirion said. “I feel like I’m at 100 percent. At first, (the club) felt a bit weird at first, but I just had to get adjusted to it. It feels like a third hand.”

Winslow controlled the ball for nearly 36 minutes of game time in its time-of-possession dominance. The Black Raiders ran the ball 63 times while throwing just one pass play, an incompletion in the second quarter.

Winslow will face either No. 1 Medomak Valley (6-2) or No. 8 Belfast (1-7) in next week’s regional semifinals. The Panthers and Lions will face off this evening in Waldoboro.

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