The Mount View of Thorndike football program remains a work in progress.
The Mustangs are playing their home games in neighboring Belfast for one final season, and without goalposts their practice field isn’t conducive to developing the kick game — though that didn’t stop Mark Bennett from booting the first field goal in school history last weekend.
Yet no side issues could take away from the satisfaction coach Jack Brady and his team felt after Mount View defeated Old Town 45-14 for its first victory since becoming a varsity program in 2007.
“It was great, said Jon Shaw, a senior fullback and linebacker. “The stands were packed, that was the most people we’ve had at a game. I’ve been starting since I was a freshman, and we’ve never played as a team this good. It was so emotional. There were people I didn’t even know coming up and shaking my hand. It was the best feeling in the world, really.”
There were plenty of heroes in the historic victory, particularly senior Tyler Rednour, who rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns and had two interceptions on defense.
“It’s definitely great to finally get the first one,” said Rednour. “You can’t win them all without winning the first one, so it’s nice to start out with a win.”
But this victory was more a tribute to team perseverance.
The first two years of varsity play produced a 0-17 record. Two different head coaches meant two different systems to learn, all while trying to comprehend the intensity of varsity football in Eastern Maine.
When Brady, a longtime assistant at Belfast, took the Mount View job last fall, he knew the Mustangs weren’t quite ready — but that just makes the progress made since then all the more rewarding.
“Last year we were a JV football team playing a varsity schedule,” he said. “We knew that going in, but the boys didn’t really understand that.
“This year we are a varsity football program. The kids have done a lot of hard work, and we’re already as sharp offensively as we were at any point last year. They’re very excited about what’s going on.”
The players also are excited about establishing a football foundation for this school that draws from 11 rural Waldo County communities.
“We think about that every day,” said senior end Tristen Ripley, “that we need to go out on the field and set a good example for the younger kids who are playing football.”
Many of the varsity players also volunteer once a week helping out with the local youth football program.
“The older players understand what it’s going to take to make this work,” said Brady. “They also understand the difference it would have made for them had this been there for them.”
This Saturday’s game against Rockland involves more bad memories the Mustangs hope to erase. Rockland defeated Mount View 61-0 last fall, a defeat so humiliating a team meeting was called for some collective soul searching.
“We were crushed,” said Shaw. “We were 0-9 the season before that, and then we come in last season and lost to Old Town in the first game and then went into Rockland and it was 61-0 and guys were getting carted off in the ambulance.
“We had to sit down and have a talk and rethink everything we were doing, but since then it’s been going much better.”
The 36-player Mount View roster will enter its rematch against Rockland with a much different attitude than a year ago — an attitude that comes in part from finally experiencing that winning feeling.
“It’s going to be a high-intensity week,” said Shaw.