ORONO, Maine — Christian Mowrer piled up 230 yards and three touchdowns to lead Orono over Stearns 34-14 in an LTC quarterfinal clash at the Red Riots’ home field on Friday night.
Orono (7-2) used a tight three running-back set to gain 380 yards. Junior fullback Collin Clement added 68 yards on 14 carries, and senior tailback Norton Revell ran for 67 yards on eight carries and chipped in a touchdown.
“At this stage any win is a good win,” said Orono head coach Bob Sinclair.
Orono wasted no time getting the run game going, using nine straight run plays to score on its first possession. Revell would finish the 68-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown, running right up the middle for the first score of the game. Mowrer would punch in the two-point conversion, giving Orono an 8-0 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the first quarter.
“We’re a run offense and we focus on getting four yards every play to move the chains,” said Clement.
On the next Orono possession, the Stearns defense would make a stand, forcing a fourth and inches at the Orono 18-yard line. The Riots elected to go for it, getting stopped short deep in their own territory and turning the ball over to the Minutemen with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
After an 11-yard scramble by senior quarterback Jordan Morrow put the Minutemen on the goal line, senior fullback Riley Whitney would punch one in from 1 yard out, cutting the lead to 8-6. Morrow would prove to be the offensive catalyst for Stearns, going 3-of-13 passing for 57 yards and adding 91 yards on the ground. He would leave in the third quarter due to injury.
“They [Stearns] played hard and they’re well coached,” said Sinclair.
Orono answered quickly, taking advantage of good field position as a short Stearns punt set them up at the Minutemen 39-yard line early in the second quarter. Two plays later, Mowrer took the handoff on a counter play and sprinted 23 yards for the touchdown. After a failed conversion, Orono led 14-6.
Orono’s next drive would be their best of the game. The Riots used a methodical, 19-play drive that lasted over eight minutes to take a 20-6 lead with 1:15 left in the second quarter. The highlight would come on a rare passing play for the Riots. Junior quarterback Chad Orn rolled out to his right, narrowly escaping the Stearns pass rush, and found Clement for 17 yards as he slipped behind the linebackers. It would be the only completion for Orn on three attempts. Mowrer would finish the drive with a 3-yard touchdown.
Stearns had one more run left in them. On their opening drive in the second half, the Minutemen found themselves looking at a fourth-and-goal from the 15-yard line. A pass interference call gave them a second chance deep in Orono territory. The Minutemen would come up empty-handed though, as they threw three incomplete passes and rushed the ball once for only two yards.
“Our defense played very well, including our secondary, and we needed them to step up,” said Clement, who had an interception late in the fourth quarter.
The Riots would take advantage of the turnover on downs, as Mowrer took a pitch 90 yards on the next play, putting the game out of reach at 26-6 with 7:26 remaining in the third quarter.
“It was a huge momentum swing,” said Sinclair.
The Riots will move on to play John Bapst next week in the LTC semifinals.