Dexter, ME– The Dexter Tigers football team won one game total in the previous two seasons.
On Saturday, the Tigers defeated the Stearns Minutemen 17-0 to earn their third victory of the 2012 season.
“The spirit is great. The kids are chomping at the bit. It started in the summer. These kids just want to win football games. Hopefully we are giving them an opportunity to do that,” Tigers coach Kevin Armstrong said. “It is great to have three wins but I know this group is not satisfied with that. They want to build on it.”
Dexter senior Slade Mower added, “The confidence we have is by far way better then its ever been. With wins under our belt it helps to pick us up and it opens new doors for us. After winning against Stearns I feel like we can make the playoffs. Which hasn’t happened for three years.”
The Tigers dominated field position and time of possession. The Tigers ran 65 offensive plays for 360 yards. Stearns ran 33 offensive plays for 108 yards.
“I felt our offense made an improvement last week. We continued to play on that,” Armstrong said. “Our defense just feeds off the intensity on the field. They are a good group of boys. They play physical. We are tackling well.”
Stearns turned the ball over six times. The first of those came early in the first quarter when the Minutemen fumbled a punt.
“Field position dictated more than anything how the game went. They (Dexter) put us in positions in where we got more predictable which lead to turnovers,” Stearns coach Chris Preble said. “The first punt that we dropped established some of that. Those things happen in a game. Put your back against the wall but you need to respond to it.
“Those kids (Dexter) played hard and played physical. They created those situations. It is as much as what they did to us as what we did to ourselves that caused that to happen.”
Andrew Levensalor rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He ran one in from nine yards with 9:41 remaining in the second quarter.
Levensalor also scored on a 16 yard run with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter.
“Great blocking. I read my blocks, “Levensalor said. “The downfield blocking was awesome.”
Last week, the Tigers played even with one of the top teams in the league. Dexter fell to Orono 50-44. That gave the Tigers confidence coming into a week five match-up with Stearns.
“I think last week was an eye opener. We had a great week at practice the previous week. The kids really picked it up to the next level,”Armstrong said. “It carried the momentum into this week. Our practices were very physical.”
Preble added, “We knew they (Dexter) were a good football team. We watched them on film. He (Armstrong) has done a great job coaching those kids. They are playing hard. It is very obvious by listening to the sidelines and watching them play that they are having fun. When you are doing that, you want to play physical and get after it.”
The first drive of the game was the best of the day for Stearns. Jordon Morrow gained 16 yards on the drive.
The Tigers only allowed 75 yards the rest of the game. Trevor Fogarty sparked the defense with two interceptions. Michael Poulin intercepted one pass. Slade Mower, Dylan Hanscom and Kyle Lockhart each recovered a fumble.
“Defensive line did a great job penetrating and getting into the backfield. Corners and safety played great coverage,” Fogarty said. “We played a great defensive game today. Great job by all our defense today.”
Mower added, “Defense wins games and our defense has definitely helped us win several games.”
The Minutemen have now lost two straight after winning the first three games of the season. Stearns will travel to Hermon for a game against the Hawks on Friday, October 5th. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We are at a point that we need to find out which direction we are going to go to close the season out in the last three games. We have some kids that can play football,” Preble said. “We have winnable games remaining. We are not good enough to beat anybody just by showing up. We need to get back to the drawing board and have some good practices and get ready to go.”
Malcolm Mitchell finished with 71 rushing yards on seven carries for the Tigers. Matt Crane hit a 32 yard field goal in the second half. Fogarty finished with 39 yards passing and 30 yards rushing.
Dexter (3-2) will next play on Friday, October 5th when they travel to Washington Academy. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.