Dexter holds off Ellsworth to win 2023 opener

DEXTER — A pair of touchdowns in the third quarter pulled Ellsworth High School to within two of host Dexter Regional High School, 30-28, during a mutual 8-man football Small School North opener on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 2. The 2-point throw to tie was knocked incomplete by the Tigers and the team would then score twice in the fourth quarter to put the game away at 44-28.

The visiting Eagles trailed 30-14 at the half before scoring on the first possession of the third quarter to make play 30-22. Later in the quarter Ellsworth forced Dexter into a 4th-and-16 and the Tigers’ first punt attempt of the day. 

The Eagles blocked the punt and got the football at the Dexter 21-yard line. Four plays later Eagle senior Matt Carney ran three yards up the middle to put his team within two points of the tie with about a half minute to go in the quarter (Carney had run the ball in from three yards out earlier in the third).

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
TOUGH TO BRING DOWN — Dexter senior Zakary Adams gains 14 yards on a reception into the redzone during the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 2023 8-man opener vs. Ellsworth on Sept. 2. The play helped set up a touchdown for a 38-28 Tiger lead, helping the team win by a final score of 44-28. In the opening quarter Adams had a 6-yard touchdown run.

A flag for a false start moved the 2-point try back five yards to the Tiger-8 as Ellsworth went for the pass. The short throw was knocked to the ground by Dexter senior Will Spratt to preserve the team’s small lead — between conversions and timed downs Eagles failed to complete a single pass all game.

Seven plays on the ensuring drive moved the football from the Tiger 32 to the opposition’s 10 for a 1st-and-goal. Senior quarterback Blaine Gould took the shotgun snap and completed his pass to Spratt in the right corner of the endzone. Gould followed by running the conversion play in for two more points, to give Dexter a multiple possession, 38-28 advantage.

Ellsworth got a first down at the team’s 49 after getting the ball back. On 1st-and-10 sophomore signal caller Thomas Jude threw a short pass over the middle where Dexter junior Tyler Gould picked it off just inside his team’s territory.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
LEAD BLOCKER — Tiger senior Holdyn Guenther gains nine yards early in the second half as senior Beau Talbot clears Ellsworth senior Isiah Corson out of the way.

One play would be all the offense would need as on the first down from the Tiger-47, Blaine Gould took the snap and faked a handoff. He then ran down the left sideline 53 yards for the endzone for the 44-28 lead — the 2-point rush failed on a fumble.

Gould ran the football 12 times for a team-high 136 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for another on a 7-of-10 for 67 yard performance, and caught a 21-yard pass for 224 total yards of offense.

The kickoff after Gould’s final touchdown would roll out of bounds, setting Ellsworth up at the Dexter-44. The Eagles could not take advantage of the field position as the Tiger defense backed the team up into a 3rd-and-11. An incompletion set up fourth down and here junior Jason Bowden made a play on the throw for another incompletion and allowed Dexter to take over on downs at the team’s 46-yard line.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
FOOT RACE TO THE ENDZONE — Senior quarterback Blaine Gould outruns Ellsworth sophomore Cameron Connors for a 33-yard touchdown late in the first half on Sept. 2. Gould would find the endzone three times on the ground and throw for another.

Dexter did have a three-and-out, but Ellsworth would not get the ball back until the clock ticked down to 3:46 and the Eagles could not put any more points on the scoreboard as the Tigers held the team scoreless for the entire final quarter 

Dexter ended up scoring 20 points off three Ellsworth turnovers, part of four turnovers overall. In addition to the touchdown after the fourth quarter interception, senior Holden Guenther had a 38-yard touchdown run soon after his team recovered a first-quarter fumble and Zakary Adams ran the ball in from the Eagle-6 after the visitors lost a fumble two plays after getting the ball back.

Ellsworth took advantage of miscues too, getting 22 points off two fumble recoveries and the blocked punt.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
DUAL TACKLE — Dexter senior Will Spratt, left, and junior Tyler Gould limit Ellsworth senior Jo James-Chin to just a single yard on a rush early in the third quarter.

Dexter will play next at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln at 7 p.m. on Friday. Sept. 7. Mattanawcook won at the Valley Mustangs cooperative team of northern Aroostook County in Madawaska 62-14 on Sept. 2.


Dexter 44 Ellsworth 28

ELL 0 14 14 0 — 28

DEX 14 16 0 14 – 44

First: D — Guenther 38 yds (Spratt from B. Gould); D — Adams 6 yds (pass fail)

Second: E — Jude 3 yds (Carney rush); D — B. Gould 19 yds (B. Gould rush); E — James-Chin 57 yds (rush fail); D — B. Gould 33 yds (Adams rush)

Third: E – Carney 4 yds (Jude rush); E — Carney 3 yds (pass fail)

Fourth: D — Spratt 10 yds from B. Gould (B. Gould rush); D — B. Gould 47 yds (rush fail)

Passing: E — Jude 0-of-9 Int; D — B. Gould 7-of-10 67 yds TD; Spratt 1-of-2 21 yds; Kimball 1-of-1 12 yds

Receiving: D – Guenther 2, 22 yds; Spratt 2, 22 yds TD; Cooper 2, 18 yds; B. Gould 1, 21 yds; Adams 1, 11 yds; Kimball, 1 6 yds

Rushing: E — James-Chin 14, 143 yds TD; Carney 10, 86 yds 2 TD; Strout 9, 55 yds; Jude 5, 21 yds TD; Rowell 1, -2 yds; D — B. Gould 12, 136 yds 3 TD; Guenther 8, 90 yds TD; Spratt 8, 63 yds; Adams, 5 14 yds TD; Cooper 1, 7 yds; Bowden 1, 0 yds

Records: E 0-1; D 1-0

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
AMBUSH OF TIGERS — Senior Beau Talbot makes the fumble recovery amidst a group of Dexter players during the opening quarter against Ellsworth. The Tigers made three fumble recoveries and had an interception, scoring 20 points off three of the turnovers.

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