‘Helicopter’ play brings back fond memories for UMaine with James Madison rematch at hand

Posted Nov. 02, 2012, at 11:55 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 02, 2012, at 3:52 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — It was the play that helped the University of Maine football team believe it belonged last season.

Backup quarterback Chris Treister took a direct snap on a conversion play and dove into the end zone, hit simultaneously by two James Madison defenders at the goal line. His body was spun around in the air like the blades of a helicopter.

The decisive play, which came in overtime, lifted the Black Bears to victory and helped propel them to a Football Championship Subdivision playoff spot in 2011.

“That was very exhilarating. I can’t even describe it,” said UMaine senior center Garret Williamson. “Hearing that stadium go silent when Treister goes flying into the end zone was something I will never forget.”

Today, the teams meet again — this time in Orono on Saturday.

James Madison Dukes (6-2, 4-1 CAA) at Maine Black Bears (3-5, 2-3 CAA), 3:30 p.m., Alfond Stadium, Orono: There isn’t nearly as much riding on the outcome this time for coach Jack Cosgrove’s UMaine squad, which has been eliminated from postseason contention.

However, the Bears fully expect ninth-ranked James Madison to have revenge on their minds as they attempt to continue their march toward the playoffs and a possible Colonial Athletic Association title.

UMaine hopes to build on its well-rounded performance during last Saturday’s 24-10 victory at William & Mary, which halted a two-game skid.

The Bears’ defense, which is keyed by senior linebackers Donte Dennis and Troy Russell, encounter a high-powered JMU ground game that is averaging 215 yards per outing behind Dae’Quan Scott (96 ypg).

The Dukes are trying to adjust with a freshman quarterback in Michael Birdsong, who replaced injured starter Justin Thorpe (knee). UMaine will likely gang up in an attempt to stop the run and try to keep pressure on Birdsong.

Scott also heads up the JMU receiver corps.

The Bears continue to strive for good offensive balance with junior QB Marcus Wasilewski at the helm. He threw for three touchdowns at William & Mary and has now completed 166 of 274 passes for 1,816 yards and 13 TDs with eight interceptions.

Maurice McDonald (49 rec., 397 yds, 2 TDs) and Damarr Aultman (23-310-5) have been among the most productive receivers, while junior Rickey Stevens (64 ypg) heads the ground assault.

JMU’s defensive standouts include Stephon Robertson (9.4 tackles per game) and Jakarie Jackson (8 tpg).

Castleton State Spartans (6-2, 5-0 ECFC) at Husson Eagles (2-6, 1-4 ECFC), 1 p.m., Winkin Complex, Bangor: Coach Sean Murphy’s crew is looking to post an upset on their home field against the Spartans, who are battling with Mount Ida for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference crown.

Husson went on the road last Saturday, and edged SUNY Maritime College 17-14 in overtime on freshman Reece Attard’s 43-yard field goal.

It will be the final home game for Husson’s small group of seniors, which includes QB Kash Keezer of Veazie, Godfrey Taylor, Dellon Douglas, Michael Farrell of Lincoln and Todd Steward of Norridgewock.

The Eagles are likely to have their hands full against a Castleton contingent that has put up 35 points and 450 yards per game this season, including an average of 377 passing yards. QB Shane Brozowski leads the ECFC in almost every passing category, including 29 touchdowns overall.

Maine Maritime Mainers (0-8, 0-6 Bogan Division) at Coast Guard Cadets (4-4, 3-3 Bogan), noon, New London, Conn.: The Mariners take to the road intent on trying to put an end to a 10-game losing streak that dates back to last season. It also marks the final contest of 2012 for coach Chris McKenney’s squad.

MMA has struggled to hold its opponents in check and has not manufactured the kind of consistent, productive offense out of its triple option that made it a league power a few years ago.

Playing their final game for the Mariners are seniors Wade Severance of Hollis Center, Brock Lawrence of Benton, Thomas Drouin of Albion, Tyler Chamberlain of Eddington, Joel Chadbourne of Westbrook, Matthew Hebert of South Portland, Jon Thoms of Orrington, Aaron Toussaint of Kennebunkport, Zach Lacroix of Jay and Tom Houle.

Saturday’s other games, 12:30 p.m.: Bates (3-3) at Bowdoin (1-5), Colby (1-5) at Tufts (0-6)

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