Bucksport bests Dexter for Class D North championship

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HAMPDEN — Heading into the 2019 Class D North/Little Ten Conference championship on Friday, Nov. 15 on the artificial turf at Hampden Academy, second-seeded Dexter Regional High School had little room for error against No. 1 Bucksport High School. The Golden Bucks would tally more than 400 yards on the ground and take advantage of four Tiger turnovers, with three of these changes in possession leading to touchdowns, in a 46-8 victory.

The Golden Bucks (9-0) won the regional title for the first time since 2013 — falling to Foxcroft Academy in the 2016 and 2017 games as the Dover-Foxcroft school and now Class C North program Maine Central Institute had combined for the previous five Class D North crowns — and will face Class D South champion and second seed Lisbon High School (7-3) for the gold ball Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Dexter Bucksport football

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
REGIONAL RUNNERS-UP — Dexter senior quarterback Logan Perkins hoists the Class D North runner-up plaque following the game on Nov. 15 at Hampden Academy. The No. 2 Tigers fell 46-8 to top-seeded Bucksport, as the Golden Bucks were the only team to defeat 8-2 Dexter in 2019.

Before facing Bucksport for the second time in 2019 Dexter (8-2) had won seven games in a row, with the only other loss coming at Bucksport 43-7 in week two of the regular season. The berth in the Class D North championship was the first for Dexter since 2016 and only the second since 1991.

“They’re just so big and physical and they just do an excellent job at whatever they do,” Dexter head coach Andrew Shorey said. “They just execute and we couldn’t stop it, it’s what it boils down to,” saying the turnovers also hurt his team.

The Golden Bucks led 6-0 early in the second quarter when a punt by Dexter senior Gage Stone took a Tiger bounce to keep rolling for 62 yards all the way to the opposition’s 14-yard line. On first down Bucksport sophomore Josh Miller lost the football and Dexter recovered at the 17 to set the offense up in the redzone.

Bucksport Dexter football

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
WING IT — Dexter senior Justin Wing, with classmate Tyler Chapman looking on, tries to get out of the grasp of Bucksport junior Jacob Guty on a 6-yard reception during the fourth quarter of the Class D North championship at Hampden.

Dexter would gain seven yards but on third down the football fell to the turf and the Golden Bucks made the recovery at the 10-yard line. The team then drove 90 yards in 14 plays, capped off with a 19-yard touchdown run by freshman Jaxon Gross. He would rush 11 times for 91 yards on the drive, part of a very busy evening with 253 rushing yards in 36 attempts with a trio of touchdowns. More than 200 of these yards on the ground came via 25 first-half carries.

Gross’s older brother senior David and the rest of the offensive line helped pave the way. “The Gross kid is an unbelievable player but their entire line is just very, very good,” Shorey said as the elder Gross was joined by senior Dawson Eaton, juniors Gavin Billings, Owen Gaudreau and Julian Shook and senior tight end Cameron Soper in blocking duties.

On the ensuing possession Dexter took to the air on a second-and-12 from the team’s own 35-yard line. Golden Bucks sophomore Tyler Hallett came up with an interception near midfield and he brought the football back to the 31 with just under a minute to go in the half.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
DORMAN DOMINATING — Dexter junior defensive tackle Robbie Dorman brings Bucksport sophomore Josh Miller down for a 4-yard loss at the Tiger-19 on a fourth-and-1 during the second quarter. Golden Bucks senior quarterback Brady Findlay watches the play unfold.

The younger Gross kept getting the football and in three carries he led the offense to the Dexter-1. On first-and-goal he ran up the middle for the touchdown and 18-0 lead with the second score in the final 2:00 of the first half — the Tigers forced an incompletion on the second straight 2-point conversion attempt.

Just over halfway through the third Bucksport recovered another Dexter fumble, this one at the Tiger-31. Five plays later senior quarterback Brady Findlay and junior receiver Logan Stanley connected on a 15-yard touchdown with a Gross rush for two extending the lead to 26-0.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
NO-POINT CONVERSION — Junior Parker Ponte breaks up a pass on a 2-point conversion attempt by Bucksport in the second quarter, with senior Gage Stone running in.

Following a short squib kick return by senior Justin Wing, Dexter had the football at the team’s own 42-yard line. The offense then ran a counter with senior Cameron Paige running right and cutting left. He outran the Bucksport secondary for a 58-yard touchdown — picking up much of his team-high 81 yards on a dozen carries.

Senior quarterback Logan Perkins opted to tuck the football and run on the 2-point try and he fell across the goalline to make the score 26-8 with 2:30 to play in the third quarter.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
PAIGE TURNER — Senior Cameron Paige looks to turn around a block by classmate Gage Stone. Paige would later score on a 58-yard run.

A 50-yard touchdown run for Bucksport sophomore Ty Giberson came on the ensuing drive, and the team would find the endzone two more times in the fourth quarter to finish with 46 points, the most surrendered by Dexter this season with the 43 against Bucksport being the previous high.

Playing in their final game were Dexter seniors Eric Bennett, Tyler Chapman, Haedyn Guenther, Nick Hanscom, Cameron Paige, Logan Perkins, Parker Richardson, Gage Stone, Colton Tibbetts and Justin Wing.

Ernie Clark of the Bangor Daily News contributed to this story.

No. 1 Bucksport 46,
No. 2 Dexter 8
DEX 0 0 8 0 | 8
BUC 6 12 14 14 | 46
First: B — J. Gross 4 yds
(kick wide)
Second: B — J. Gross 19 yd
(pass fail)
B — J. Gros 1 yd (pass fail)
Third: B — Stanley 15 yds
from Findlay (J. Gross rush)
D — Paige 58 yds
(Perkins rush)
B — Giberson 50 yds
(pass fail)
Fourth: B — Stanley 48 yds
from Hallett (rush fail)
B — Miller 3 yds
(Hallett from Findlay)
Passing: D — Perkins
2-of-6 10 yds Int;
Paige 1-of-1 10 yds
B — Findlay 4-of-7
35 yds TD;
Stanley 1-of-1 48 yds
Receiving: D — Perkins 1,
10 yds; Ponte 1, 4 yds
B — Stanley 2, 16 yds TD;
Hallett 1, 48 yds TD;
Guty 1, 17 yds;
Giberson 1, 2 yds
Rushing: D — Paige 12,
81 yds TD; Perkins 5,
19 yds; Ponte 3, 16 yds;
Stone 3, 5 yds;
Wing 1, 1 yd
B — J. Gross 36, 253 yds
3 TD; Miller 14, 101 yds;
Giberson 5, 59 yds TD;
Stanley 3, 34 yds
Records: D 8-2,
B 9-0

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
DOWN TO THE TURF — Bucksport sophomore Josh Miller is tackled by Dexter senior Justin Wing for a 4-yard loss deep inside Tiger territory.

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