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BUCKSPORT, Maine — The Bucksport Golden Bucks played as advertised during their homecoming football game at Carmichael Field on Friday night — and a game Dexter team had no answers.
Freshman Jaxon Gross and sophomore Josh Miller combined to rush for 360 yards and six touchdowns as coach Joel Sankey’s club methodically pulled away to a 43-7 Little Ten Conference victory over the Tigers.
Gross amassed a game-high 210 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries while Miller contributed 148 yards and three scores on 13 attempts as Bucksport averaged 8.0 yards on its 56 rushes.
Bucksport (2-0) totaled 542 total yards, 453 on the ground, as yet another Golden Bucks’ running back, sophomore Ty Giberson, added 90 yards on just 11 carries. They ran behind a punishing line led by senior David Gross, who at halftime was honored as the school’s homecoming king.
“It’s a three-headed monster of young kids that are all just hungry,” David Gross said of the running backs, who all weigh more than 200 pounds. “They just run hard, and they’ve worked for this all spring and summer.”
The front — David Gross, classmate Dawson Eaton and juniors Gavin Billings, Owen Gaudreau and Julian Shook — not only controlled the line of scrimmage offensively but played dominating defensive roles as the Golden Bucks limited Dexter to 67 total yards.
“We all put in the work, and that’s why there’s no jealousy here,” David Gross said. “We see the work everyone puts in up in the gym and weight room. It’s all respect, and everyone deserves to have the best games of their lives because they all put in the work.”
Dexter (1-1) got most of its offensive production on senior Cameron Paige’s 54-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. That came after Bucksport had built a 14-0 lead on scoring runs of 1 and 14 yards by Jaxon Gross.
Paige had another run of 22 yards and a 52-yard kickoff return after Jaxon Gross’ first touchdown, as well as a touchdown-saving forced fumble to deny Giberson a touchdown after a long run to the brink of the goal line.
But the rest of the night belonged to Bucksport’s line in a game it considered an early test given Dexter’s own size up front and overall experience. The Tigers have 11 seniors compared to only five for the Golden Bucks.
“The kids work very hard, they push each other in practice, they push each other in the weight room and it’s paying dividends,” said Sankey, Bucksport’s 25th-year head coach. “They’re out there communicating the blocking assignments and always talking to each other, and then they get off the ball. They’re pretty physical.”
Bucksport extended its lead to 22-7 when Miller scored the first of his three consecutive touchdowns from 4 yards out with 6:27 left before intermission and senior quarterback Brady Findlay (6 of 14 passing, 89 yards) passed to Logan Stanley for the two-point conversion.
Bucksport forced Dexter into a three-and-out to open the second half, then marched 67 yards in six plays with Miller rushing the final 36 yards before Findlay passed to Tyler Hallett for the two-point conversion that extended the Golden Bucks’ lead to 30-7.
Miller added his final rushing touchdown (31 yards) to make it 36-7 with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Jaxon Gross powered in with his final score of the night from 1 yard out with 2:47 left in the game.
“All three of the backs are over 200 pounds, and we have a quarterback who can throw and kids who can catch the ball so we could spread people out and do that,” Sankey said, “But for us it’s line up and here we come.”