NEWPORT — It was the air raid that saw Nokomis football become one of the state’s vastly improved teams a year ago.

A year later, the Warriors started off a new season by once again getting what they needed through the air. It would be their physicality up front and prowess on the ground, though, that delivered a 38-12 victory over Maine Central Institute on Saturday afternoon.

Nokomis ran for an impressive 320 yards in the win with Seth Bowden (144 yards on eight carries) and Oakley Prescott (120 yards on 27 carries) both eclipsing the century mark. Defensively, the Warriors limited MCI to just a few big pass plays in what was a solid all-around victory.

“We’ve tried to emphasize playing to our strengths, and I think we were able to do that today,” said Nokomis head coach Jake Rogers. “We don’t have the bodies we did last year when we could sling it around, so we have to run the ball. When we can’t run the ball, our offense is going to be limited, and today, we were able to run it.”

Although a long drive by Nokomis to begin the game ended in a punt, the Warriors (1-0) got the ball back in plus territory after MCI turned the ball over on downs. Four plays later, Bowden scored on a 14-yard run to put Nokomis up 8-0 with 2:35 remaining in the opening quarter.

Instead of kicking away, Nokomis successfully executed an onside kick and was in the end zone two plays later as a 31-yard pass from Logan Washburn to Bowden set up a 1-yard score by Prescott. The onside kick, Rogers said, was one made out of necessity rather than to try and catch MCI (0-1) off guard.


“We’re just terrible at kicking,” Rogers said. “If we kick off, we’re giving it to them on the 40 anyway, so why not go for it? It’s something we’ve worked on for years — when it works, you look smart, and when it doesn’t, you look like a fool — and it just worked for us today.”

After an MCI three-and-out, Bowden ran 86 yards to the end zone to make it 24-0 with 11:34 remaining in the half. It was a play that looked destined to be just a short gain but instead saw the standout sophomore evade defenders before sprinting his way down the sideline.

“I’ve got to give it to the boys up front,” said Bowden, who also had five receptions for 123 yards as well as an interception on defense. “Every play, they made it happen. They’re the reason I got all those yards.”

MCI answered on the following drive as a 12-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Kennedy to Jaxson Foster got the Huskies on the board. Nokomis, though, had a response of its own as Washburn (7 of 14 for 142 yards) found Bowden for a 58-yard touchdown pass with 6:14 left in the opening half.

The visitors would score their second touchdown midway through the third quarter on a 6-yard run from Kennedy. But Nokomis would intercept the MCI junior quarterback three times in the second half to stifle further threats before a 2-yard run by Washburn provided the game’s final points with 3:52 to play.

Most of MCI’s offensive threats came through the air as Kennedy passed for 160 yards on an inexperienced Nokomis secondary. Still, Rogers’ deeper team ultimately won the battle in the trenches against an undermanned Huskies team that suited up just 18 players and tired as the game went on.

“Our front seven was flying around and making plays all over the field,” Rogers said. “We expect from them; that’s where our older guys are. … Our secondary, we’re very green back there, and it’s a challenge these days when everybody runs a different offense, but they’re starting to get those reps in.”

It’s a Nokomis team, then, that might be better suited to physical games played closer to the line of scrimmage than pass-happy shootouts. Bowden, though, stopped short of calling the Warriors a run-first team on the offensive side of the ball.

“We’ll have to see,” Bowden said. “I really don’t know. We’re just going to play how we play.”

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