DEXTER, Maine — After more than two hours of playing football in the rain Saturday, the Dexter Tigers had no problem spending another 15 minutes in a postgame huddle on the field with coach Tim Wilson.
After all, they had something to talk about after defeating Mount View of Thorndike 34-0 in their regular-season finale — and not about when and where to drop off their uniforms.
Not yet. For the first time since 1995, the Tigers are going to the playoffs.
“It’s amazing,” said Dexter quarterback Tim Gustin. “Dexter hasn’t gone there since 90-something. It’s been a long time. It gives us a new standard to live up to.
“Playoffs, it gives you those tingles, you know what I mean?” he added.
Dexter, 4-4 after winning for the fourth time in its last five games, will enter the LTC Class C playoffs as the seventh seed, and will play defending state champion and second-seeded John Bapst of Bangor in a quarterfinal next weekend at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.
“When I spoke to the team after the game, the rain’s pouring down and some guys are laughing and some guys are crying,” said Wilson, who returned to Dexter four years ago in an attempt to rebuild a program he coached to two state championships during an earlier stint in Tigertown between 1966 and 1971.
“The idea is that they’ve done something, they’re 4-4. To some people that doesn’t mean anything. But to this town right now, 4-4 is pretty special. It’s pretty special.”
Mount View finished the most successful regular season in its three-year varsity football history at 2-6.
Dexter wore down the Mustangs with a relentless rushing attack that produced 399 of the team’s 413 yards of total offense behind the line play of Zac Poirier, Quinten Glidden, Nick Bell, Jamison Sherburne, Alex Harvey and tight end Hunter Ogden.
Senior running back Doug Richardson led the way, gaining 126 yards and scoring twice on 22 carries — with all but one carry coming during the first three quarters as the Tigers built a 27-0 advantage.
Richardson, who entered the game as the second-leading rusher in the LTC with 1,145 yards, scored on third-quarter runs of 18 and 4 yards as Dexter expanded a 14-0 halftime lead amid rapidly deteriorating field conditions.
“We played amazing,” said Richardson. “We came out with all we’ve got and pounded it at them like we wanted to.
“I knew we were going to win this game. I could feel it every day in practice. We practiced hard the whole week, and we never stopped in the game.”
Dexter’s ground game featured considerable balance beyond Richardson’s contributions.
Gustin rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown, junior halfback Jeremy Davis gained 71 yards, senior wingback Mike Rosetti rushed for 69 yards and senior fullback Kasee Wilson added 66 yards and scored his first varsity touchdown.
Gustin completed both of his passing attempts, including a 9-yard touchdown strike to Davis.
“We played pretty good,” said Gustin. “Once we got going they couldn’t stop us, and our defense stepped up and shut down their pass.”
Dexter’s defense limited Mount View to 70 rushing yards among its 157 total yards.
Mustangs quarterback Aaron Santana completed 7 of 17 passes for 87 yards.
Dexter scored on its first two possessions of the game.
Gustin capped off an 11-play, 63 yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run with 3:37 left in the first quarter, and passed to Davis to make it 14-0 on a fourth-and-6 play with 8:42 remaining in the first half.
The Tigers padded their lead with touchdowns on their first three second-half possessions. Richardson’s two scores finished off drives of 69 and 43 yards, and Wilson added his 37-yard scoring run with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter.
“That was amazing,” said Richardson. “It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time. We played hard, and that’s what you get for playing hard.
“I can’t wait for the playoffs, I really cannot wait. It’s been since ’95 since this team has been there, and I can’t wait to go.”