Maine pigskin prognosticators picked Boothbay and Old Orchard Beach as the two teams likely to play for the first eight-man small conference championship game this fall. The two former Campbell Conference foes play twice this season. A third meeting would be in the postseason. But on Sept. 13, Boothbay won the first act with a 46-30 victory at Sherman Field.
It was the first meeting in three years for the two teams. OOB played last season in Class E, an 11-man high school football league designed for teams with small rosters with inexperienced players, but the two Class E teams didn’t play in 2018. And this year’s meeting renewed an old rivalry and marked the first time Boothbay and OOB played each other in eight-man football. The game had everything expected for eight-man football to bring: long runs, lots of touchdowns and key defensive stops.
The teams combined for 76 points. Boothbay halfback Michael Hollowell rushed for five touchdowns. Old Orchard Beach running back Jacob Payea ran for three scores. But it turned out the game’s most dominant player was a defender. Defensive lineman Kaeden Davis recovered two fumbles and made two tackles and assisted on 11 others. The first fumble recovery came as OOB was driving for a go-ahead touchdown on the Boothbay 8-yard line.
“Mike hit him pretty good and I recovered it,” Davis said. Boothbay coach Ed Crocker described Davis’ performance in the season’s first two games as the top Seahawk on the field.
“He’s our hardest hitter,” Crocker said. “When you break down his tackles on film, you track his eyes, his thighs and you see him going through and tackling the ball carrier. For two weeks now, Kaeden has been the best player on the field.”
Turnovers turned out to be a key factor in the game. Boothbay committed two, but forced four from OOB. The Seagulls lost three fumbles and had one interception. Hallowell noticed OOB only had one of its two receivers on the field when he picked off a long fourth quarter pass. “We talked about this play in practice. I saw that No. 3 wasn’t in, so I stepped back and looked for No. 82 on a short route,” he said.
Hollowell ran the interception back to the OOB 35-yard line. A few plays later, this time on offense, Hallowell scored his fifth rushing touchdown. Later in the fourth quarter, OOB countered with Payea’s third rushing touchdown, cutting the Seahawk advantage to 38-30. Boothbay scored the game’s final touchdown in the last minutes with Davis’ two-yard run.
Both teams are 1-1. Boothbay opened the season with a 14-6 loss to large school eight-man foe Maranacook.
Crocker thought his team played better this week after struggling mightily on offense against Maranacook. “Last game was ugly. Our offensive line struggled, and I told them if they didn’t play better then we would struggle. We ran the ball this week, and they really did a great job for us,” he said.
Boothbay’s next game is Sept. 20 against Traip Academy at Sherman Field. The Rangers are 2-0 with victories over Sacopee Valley and Yarmouth.