ST. JOHN VALLEY – For the first time since 2007, the Valley Mustangs have won the state championship in their league 18-0, but that’s only one of the impressing achievements the team has to boast about this year.
The Mustangs finished their undefeated season having scored a total of 306 points for the year and only allowing other teams to score a total of 21 points against them during the entire season.
Senior player Sam Thomas summed up the team’s feelings in one word. “Amazing,” he said.
“From four or five losing seasons in a row to an undefeated season is a big deal. I thank our coach for making this possible,” added Thomas.
On a blustery Sunday, November 4, family, friends, and fans of the Northern Maine Champion Mustangs gathered at Boucher Field on the Husson University campus in Bangor to watch their team vie for the State Championship in the Greater New England Youth Football League against the Central Maine Eagles. Curtis Daigle, the son of head coach Mark Daigle and a former Mustangs player, happened to be in the Augusta area for the weekend with the National Guard. He drove to see his brother Nick play in the game and to cheer on the home team.
“It’d be nice to see them win it all,” he said at the game start. By the time the game finished and as he was celebrating with the team, he added, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
The Mustangs scored their first touchdown of the game with 8:50 left in the first quarter when No. 3 Gabriel St. Germain threw a pass to No. 7 Sam Thomas who then ran the ball in.
Because of the lack of goal posts in the northern part of the state, teams who play in The County have little kicking experience when it comes to traditional field goals or extra points. Therefore, to score the extra point that rounds out a touchdown score, the team must make a play for the end zone. None of the extra point attempts in Sunday’s game were good, but that failed to slow the Mustangs on their quest for the championship title.
St. Germain scored for the Mustangs again in the second quarter when he ran in a touchdown to bring the score to 12-0 going into the half. The final score of the game came in the final quarter when St. Germain once again took the ball into the end zone for a touchdown with only 7:15 left on the play clock.
The defense was on fire, as they had been all season, keeping the game scoreless. Justin Hodgkin intercepted two balls in key defensive plays during the game. Hodgkin said there was only one thought going through his mind when he caught those balls.
“To run – take off,” he said.
As the game progressed, the excitement in the stands was palpable with the fans cheering and stomping their feet as they tried to stay warm with blankets and hot drinks. However, when the game ended, that excitement exploded from the stands to the field. The team was elated, singing Queen’s “We are the Champions,” and dancing “The Dougie Dance” on the field. Of course, there was the traditional soaking the coach with Gatorade, and plenty of speeches, tears, laughter, and revelry.
“It feels amazing. I’m just overwhelmed right now,” said senior player Micheal Gagnon just after the win.
St. Germain agreed, saying, “It feels great – the best thing in the world.”
“It feels great,” echoed Coach Daigle. “It’s been a long time coming. These kids deserve this win. They worked hard all season and today they just did their jobs. The defense was right on the ball and the offense – well, the score says it all.”
With St. Germain only a junior and expecting to return to play next season, and many of the players early on in their youth football career, Coach Daigle said he has high hopes for the future. “More of the same,” he said about what fans of the game can expect next season.
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