June 22, 2018
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Oxford Hills rallies behind ‘flexbone’ to upend Bangor

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Oxford Hills’ “flexbone” offense is predicated on handoff fakes and the ability of senior quarterback Ryan Godin to read the defense.

The Vikings executed their option attack so well at times Friday night that even the officials couldn’t tell who had the ball.

Oxford Hills of South Paris methodically marched down the field on a 15-play, 66-yard fourth-quarter drive that culminated in Godin’s 2-yard touchdown run with 36.1 seconds remaining to rally for a 22-15 Pine Tree Conference Class A football victory over Bangor at Cameron Stadium.

Coach Mark Soehren’s Vikings (3-3) shrugged off a 10-play, 70-yard scoring drive by the Rams (2-4) on the previous possession to pull out their second straight win.

“We had confidence,” Godin said. “I told everyone to look at me in the eyes, I was like, ‘play this football game with no regrets’ and they didn’t. They all played hard.”

Godin found plenty of holes in the Bangor defense while rushing 19 times for 133 yards and two scores. Sophomore halfback Malik Geiger netted 118 yards on 13 carries, including a 62-yard, second-quarter touchdown, as Oxford Hills rolled up 302 rushing yards on 52 attempts (5.8 yards per carry).

“They had really good fakes, so sometimes we didn’t know who had the ball,” said Bangor senior safety Matt Cosgrove, who was in on eight tackles.

“You might see your teammates tackle a guy, but he may not have the ball,” he explained. “You have to keep going until the whistle blows and you have to make sure you make the tackle.”

Cosgrove (10 catches, 113 yards) made a leaping grab of a Carl Farnham pass to the end zone to give Bangor a 15-14 lead with 7:13 to play.

“I knew we needed to take the lead and win this game, so I went up and got it,” Cosgrove said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.”

The Vikings limited the Rams to 95 rushing yards on 32 attempts, but Farnham completed 15 of 25 passes for 152 yards and the TD.

The Vikings refused to let the Rams have the last word.

Oxford Hills went to work, eating up more than 6 1/2 minutes off the clock. By the time Godin punched it in from the 2-yard line, the Rams had only 36 seconds and no timeouts left.

“You have to play assignments,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “We had some guys that gambled and you can’t gamble. “They were good at it. They beat us.”

Cody Chapman was in on eight tackles and Garrett Strout seven for Bangor. Oxford Hills was led by 10 tackles from linebacker Jordan Croteau and six each from Wolfe Raasumaa and Tony Taylor.

Bangor jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the game’s first four minutes.

The Rams got on the board on the Vikings’ first series when Strout and Nick Ashey tackled Nick Bowie in the end zone for a safety at the 9:21 mark.

After the ensuing free kick, Bangor went 39 yards on four plays. A 4-yard TD run by Zeb Tuell (19 carries, 67 yards) and Farnham’s PAT kick made it 9-0 at the 8:04 mark.

The Vikings received a big boost 1:02 into the second quarter when Geiger burst through the middle and sprinted 62 yards for a TD. Davis Turner’s conversion rush made it 9-8.

Oxford Hills scored again on its next possession, taking over at the Bangor 37 after punter Farnham was forced to scramble under pressure from Dexter Turner.

Godin’s 1-yard plunge gave the Vikings a 14-9 edge with 6:29 left in the half.

Oxford Hills’ offensive execution duped even the officials, who twice blew plays dead, thinking a running back had the ball — as Godin ran into the secondary headed for potential touchdowns.

That occurred on consecutive plays during the opening series of the third quarter.

“In pregame, they asked me if I had any trick plays and I said we don’t have any trick plays, but we ride the fullback a long time and I don’t even know where the ball is,” Soehren said.

Bangor had a chance to extend its lead in the third quarter after moving from its 31 to the OH 21. However, a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

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