Valley Mustangs defeat Berlin Gladiators 38-6 to take Maine Independent Football League Championship

ORONO, Maine — The St. John Valley Mustangs defeated the Berlin Gladiators of New Hampshire 38-6 to win the 2021 Maine Independent Football League Championship. 

The Mustangs faced off against the Gladiators in the championship game Saturday, Oct. 30, at Alfond Stadium in Orono, home of the University of Maine Black Bears.

“For our league that often has no amenities (like field goal posts, and turf, and even state refs) it felt like it legitimized the event,” Mustangs Head Coach Jesse Pettengill said. “The kids were in awe as they pulled up to the stadium, and they saw the banner showing the UMaine player that had made it to the NFL. That kind of dreaming and energy is so positive and makes for great memories.”

The club level league canceled play last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was down to four teams this year, three in Maine and the Gladiators in New Hampshire.

Nicole Theriault, mother of Mustangs player Lucas Theriault, said her son was ecstatic about his team winning the championship game. 

“They started the season with barely enough players but he and some of the other players persevered and rallied to get as many of their fellow seniors to play,” Nicole Theriault said. “The football team has been like a second family to Lucas.This team has helped shape him into the leader he is today.”

Pettengill said despite the score, the Mustangs’ championship win did not come easy. 

“The Gladiators are a first class organization with great people that we have become friends with,” Pettengill said. “Coach Hendrich had his guys prepared, and we saw some new wrinkles from them, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They run a Wing T offense that has a lot of misdirection.”

“In the end the combination of our power run game in tight formations, and our spread offense was too much to stop,” Pettengill said. “We played as a team, and we won as a team.” 

The Mustangs were also Maine Independent Football League champions in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2014, and were Northern Division champions in 2013

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