The Mount View football team’s dream season came to an abrupt halt Saturday afternoon when Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft came to town and handed the Mustangs a 19-0 Eastern Class C quarterfinal playoff defeat at Larrabee Field.

Ultimately, the Mustangs had opportunities to score — and perhaps win — Saturday’s game, but the inability to convert offensive chances and too many turnovers hurt the hosts’ cause.

It was the first playoff appearance in the Mustang football program’s history. In the first four seasons of the program, the team totaled three wins. In the squad’s fifth year, it doubled that, finishing the 2011 season 6-2 and earned a postseason berth.

The ‘Stangs, who finished 6-3 overall, locked up the No. 4 seed in the region and hosted No. 5 Foxcroft Academy (6-3) Saturday in the quarterfinals. The Mustangs and Ponies do not play each other during the regular season.

While the Mustangs are relatively new to the football game, Foxcroft Academy has been toiling on the gridiron since 1893 and has seven state titles (2007, 2003, 1996, 1983, 1967, 1963, 1939) to its credit. The Ponies are regular participants in regional and state title games.

With Saturday’s playoff win, Foxcroft Academy moves on to play at No. 1 Bucksport (9-0) in the semifinals.

On Saturday, Mount View trailed 12-0 at halftime and appeared to grab the momentum several times during the final 24 minutes, but drives stalled or turnovers hurt the Mustangs’ chances to make a comeback. The Mustangs’ final six drives ended with a turnover.

Craig Nealley collected 79 yards on 20 carries to lead the Mustang offense, while also completing 3-of-4 passes for 40 yards and one interception. Additionally, Jalen Babin also finished 3-of-6 throwing the ball for 30 yards and one interception.

Also for the Mustangs, Taylor Reynolds snagged two catches for 33 yards, while Ryan St. Clair hauled in two passes for 14 yards; Justin Sigouin, one catch for 19 yards; and Bobby Porter, one catch for four yards.

For the Ponies, Don Boyer finished with 134 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on defense. He scampered into the end zone with 44 seconds left in the first quarter and ran 10 yards for a score with two minutes left in the game.

Foxcroft Academy quarterback Chris Shorey connected with Ryan Rebar with a 12-yard scoring pass early in the second quarter for the visitor’s other score. Shorey also hit Rebar on a 52-yard pass to set up the team’s score in the first quarter.

Leading the Mustang defense were Nealley (10 solo tackles, 5 assisted tackles, quarterback sack), Jake Blanchette (9 solos, 2 assists), Babin (6 solos, 2 assists) and Ben Korman (4 solos, 8 assists).

When asked the key difference in Saturday’s game, Mount View coach Jack Brady chalked it up largely to a lack of playoff experience for his team.

“When you go into the playoffs, it’s a whole new level of football,” he said. “And everybody kind of cranks it up a notch and we tried very hard to do that as well. I don’t think we were quite prepared for how big a step it really is. The boys played hard and worked hard, we were just unable to capitalize on a lot of potential turnovers.”

Mount View had the chance to score first after a long opening drive, but was stuffed on the goal line. Other first-half drives also stalled on downs or turnovers for the hosts.

That was the case in the second half, as well, for the frustrated Mustangs. Trailing 12-0, the Mustang defense held the Ponies in the visitor’s first possession of the third quarter but a long Mount View drive ended with 3:13 left when Don Boyer intercepted a pass to take the wind out of the hosts’ sails.

In another indication of how things went for Mount View, with 37.1 seconds left in the third quarter, the Mustangs blocked a punt on the Ponies’ 15-yard line, which would have put the hosts in strong scoring position. But Foxcroft Academy recovered the ball after the block and ran for a first down to maintain possession.

Ultimately, it was a day of missed opportunities for the Mustangs and cashing in on chances for the Ponies. However, Brady expressed gratitude to the team’s 14 seniors — Jake Aitken, Babin, Mark Dolloff, Jordan Fowler, Andrew Gibbs, Korman, Tyler McCormick, Nealley, Porter, Reynolds, Mike Robinson, St. Clair, Sigouin and Joe White — for their hard work the past four years.

“They brought the program to a whole new level, and it’s our hope that the younger kids can continue and pick up where these seniors have left off and continue to move the program forward,” Brady said.

VillageSoup’s sports staff can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.