ORONO, Maine — The Wells High School Warriors showed why they went into Saturday night’s Class D championship game against Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft with 27 consecutive wins and back-to-back state championships.
Senior running back Tyler Bridge ran for 201 yards and five touchdowns on 15 carries, and he also threw a touchdown pass to junior backfield mate Payton MacKay to lead the Warriors to a thorough 55-20 victory on Morse Field at Alfond Stadium.
MacKay rushed for 170 yards on 14 carries as Wells racked up 471 yards of total offense, 429 of it on the ground on 40 carries, to complete a second straight 12-0 campaign.
Wells won the Class C title two years ago and beat Foxcroft 48-0 in the Class D final last season.
Foxcroft Academy (10-1) produced 213 yards of offense.
Wells scored the game’s first 34 points, 27 coming in the second quarter including three touchdowns in a span of 5 minutes, 16 seconds.
“That’s as good a team as we’ve seen,” Foxcroft senior cornerback and wide receiver Hyatt Smith said. “Everyone on their team is disciplined, you can tell they all put in the work in the weight room and they all work as one. Hats off to them.”
“They’re the three-time state champs for a reason,” Foxcroft coach Danny White said. “They may be the best team I’ve ever seen two years in a row.
“I’m really proud of our team. They worked hard every single week to get better and they did that for the most part,” White added.
Bridge, who had rushed for 2,132 yards and 37 touchdowns this season going into the contest, scored on runs of 1, 58 and 60 yards in the first half and he threw a 42-yard halfback pass to MacKay.
Bridge added runs of 32 and 4 yards in the fourth quarter.
“This was awesome,” said Bridge, a powerful runner with impressive speed for a 205-pounder. He broke a lot of tackles and made smart cuts in the open field.
“The line did a great job again as they have all season. You couldn’t ask for any more from them,” Bridge said.
“Tyler and Payton are awesome rushers but you don’t rush for over 4,000 yards without having a decent offensive line,” Wells head coach Tim Roche said. “They want to go out and smack you. They took it to them.”
The line was made up of center Cam Barker, guards Whitney Dylan and Joshua Martinez, tackles Morgan Welch-Thomas and Nathan Curtis and tight end Matt Ouellette.
“We have great communication in the line,” Welch-Thomas said.
“They are really good at what they do,” MacKay said.
The 190-pound MacKay, another bruising runner who is tough to bring down, opened the scoring with a 24-yard run at the 7:22 mark of the first quarter. That finished off a four-play, 52-yard drive.
Bridge’s 1-yard plunge 46 seconds into the second quarter capped an eight-play, 62-yard match and, only 2:45 later, Bridge took a handoff from Matt Sherburne, cut outside and dashed 58 yards.
Brian Roberts’ interception set up the Warriors at the Foxcroft Academy 42-yard line and Sherburne pitched the ball to Bridge, who rolled out right and found a wide-open MacKay behind the secondary for a TD and a 26-0 lead.
“We ran that earlier this season and we put it back in this week,” Bridge said.
Following a short Foxcroft Academy punt, Bridge rambled 60 yards to make it 34-0 before Ponies quarterback Matthew Spooner (11-for-21, 121 yards) made a perfect throw to an open Logan Martin to slice the lead to 34-7 with 26 seconds left in the half.
Wells scored on its first possession of the second half on Devin Chace’s 33-yard run to conclude a six-play, 48-yard drive.
The Ponies answered on Martin’s 2-yard TD run, but Wells responded immediately by going 62 yards on six plays, with Bridge reeling off his 32-yard TD run eight seconds into the fourth quarter.
His 4-yard run made it 55-14 before Foxcroft Academy’s Jeremy Richard raced 72 yards for the game’s final touchdown.
The Warriors held Foxcroft to 92 rushing yards on 23 attempts behind ends Welch-Thompson and Matt Tufts along with linebackers Dylan and Jonah Potter.
“They threw the ball on us a little bit but they couldn’t run on us and that was awesome,” Roche said.
Richard (31 yards) and Smith (26 yards) each caught four passes. Richard ran the ball three times for 74 yards.
Smith and Martin turned in stellar defensive efforts.
“Everyone really wanted this win. We worked our butts off to get this,” MacKay said.