Lawrence Program Cover: For the Lawrence game, the program cover was illustrated by a freshman
football player Don Cash
Inside pages of the Lawrence program: apart from the names of the players, the number of players participating in the high school
football in both teams 50 years ago is remarkable
Project Bleacher: Oxford Hills Booster Club volunteers unload bleacher sections before installing them
in time for Lawrence’s game played on October 1, 1971
This is the sixth installment in a series recapping the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Oxford Hills 10-1 football season.
Oxford Hills took a 27-0 advantage in the first half, then withstood a fierce rally from Lawrence High in the second half to claim a 34-12 win in the Pine Tree Conference in front of 2,800 fans at the Viking Field. Morse having lost last week to Winslow by the same 13-12 tally that took the Vikings to the Black Raiders in the conference opener, the win put OH atop the Coastal Division with a score of 4. -0, 5 -0 in total. Skowhegan remained the leader in the indoor division, also at 4-0.
As usual, the Hillsmen were largely passed in advance, but managed to poke enough holes to blow up half-back Larry Durgin and full-back Peter Brown. Quarterback Brad Cummings got the time he needed to connect on four of the seven passes for 83 yards.
The Vikings’ defense dominated the game in the first half, limiting Lawrence to 37 rushing yards and just six passing yards. Middle linebacker Ron Somers started the defense again with two crucial interceptions in addition to 20 tackles (eight unassisted and 12 assisted).
The Hills scored the second time they took possession. From the L-43 after a Bulldog punt, Cummings hit Billy Brooks on a 38 yard L-5. Half-back Reggie Olmstead tallied three yards, followed by Brown who blew up the end zone to two yards. Dave Daniels missed the extra point but came back to strike on his next four attempts.
After Brooks intercepted a pass from Paul Cairnie at the OH-22, the next practice only lasted three games as Durgin took a third pass and electrified the home crowd with a 73-yard jaunt, securing a good interference from Brooks over the last 25 meters. It was Durgin’s second longest race of the year. Three weeks ago, he landed a memorable 80 yards against Winslow after catching a Cummings pass in the apartment.
Lawrence gave the next kick off on his 34-yard line, but things quickly turned from bad to worse. End Blane Morse broke through to abandon Cairnie for a 17-yard loss, followed by linebacker RIck Micklon who abandoned winger Lenny Cole for another loss in the next game. limits of L-24. On the first down, winger Hal Edwards ran 24 yards for the scoring end play.
The Vikes weren’t finished scoring points in the first half on their newly installed electric dashboard. After the defense held Lawrence at L-46, OH put up a 12-game drive, with Durgin scoring from four yards to end the half at 27-0. Somers landed one of his interceptions to stop a drive just before half-time.
The second half looked like a complete turnaround. From his own 15-yard line, OH was backed by both. Durgin’s quick kick was blocked and picked up by Mark Redman in the end zone for a Bulldog touchdown. The failed conversion try made it 27-6. OH returned the ball to the visitors a series later at L-48. Ron Waldron ran for 21 yards on two carries, and two plays later Cole hit Cairnie for a 30-yard strike on an optional play to make it 27-12.
The Vikes failed to move onto the next drive and the Bulldogs came back roaring. A pass from Cole to Cairnie gained 20 yards in midfield. The same combination got 20 more yards on the next play, but Cairnie escaped after being tackled by winger Roby Baker, who also recovered at OH-30. This set the stage for OH’s lone second-half goal, an effort marked by a pair of 24-yard passes, one to Durgin to get the team through to midfield and the other to Brooks. to reach the end zone. Daniels finished at 34-12.
Next stop: back on the road, this time in Farmington for another PTC outing against Mt. Blue.
Bob Moorehead covered the Oxford Hills football team in 1971 as a general reporter for the Portland Press Herald and the Sunday Telegram. He then served Guy Gannett newspapers as sports editor, city editor, editor and managing director. Paul Ricci and Brian Partridge (both from the OHHS class of 1972) conceived the idea for the series and provided extensive research. Readers who wish to share their favorite memories or stories from the 1971 season are encouraged to email any of them at [email protected] Where [email protected]
Player’s point of view:
By Paul Ricci (senior center and defensive tackle in the 1971 squad)
While the 1971 season is easy to remember because of the success we had on the pitch, it was also memorable in how local fan interest continued to grow week after week, resulting in a huge crowd for games, both home and away. While the Bob Moorehead article above put the number of spectators at Viking Field at 2,800 for the Lawrence game, another newspaper article estimated it to be between 3,500 and 4,000. Oxford Hills football became the center of attention that fall, and in hindsight, the Oxford Hills Booster Club deserved much of the credit. Until two seasons ago, the Vikings’ home games were played in broad daylight on Pine Street in southern Paris, on what was the grounds of Oxford Hills Junior High School. At the time, although the school was relocated to its current location on the Norway-Paris line, it had no land of its own. This situation changed dramatically in 1970, when the Vikings unveiled a new grill with lights, thanks to the efforts of the Booster Club led by Bob Hobbs.
The main drivers of the new terrain and new lights were larger crowds and better crowd control. In freshman and sophomore, I went to every home game, and I remember many fans just standing on the bluff next to the AC Lawrence leather tannery overlooking the pitch, few of them were buying a ticket. While this was a great place for spectators, it was not particularly good for generating door revenue !!
With the move to the high school, many more fans were able to attend because of the additional bleachers that had been installed. Another Booster project that ended just in time for Lawrence’s game included not only the new electric dashboard mentioned in this week’s article, but also another expansion of the bleacher seats.
The previous Sunday, after the Vikings’ victory over Madison the day before, two flatbed trucks traveled from Norway-Paris to Ellsworth and back, arriving in the late afternoon around 4:30 p.m. Within an hour and a half, a team of 20 Booster volunteers had erected all of the new seats, helping to achieve the club’s goal of creating one of the best football setups in the state. As one of the players who benefited from Booster’s efforts, I now realize how lucky all of us in the community were to be part of such an atmosphere 50 years ago. Exciting moments indeed !!