The late-season battle high school football between Medomak Valley and Belfast on Friday night, Oct. 5 featured a pair of opponents seemingly trending in opposite directions.

The Panthers, after dropping their first two games of the campaign, appear to be surging to the postseason, while the Lions, after splitting their first two games of the campaign, have dropped three straight.

At the conclusion of Friday’s contest, the Panthers continued their ascension up the Class C North ladder as they capitalized on a few Lion turnovers and emerged with a 36-14 win at Dennis “Bear” Bryant Field.

Watch video, and see more photos, below.

The foes were scoreless through the first quarter, while the Panthers scored 20 unanswered points in the second and led 20-0 at halftime. Medomak Valley then took a 28-6 lead after three quarters.

The Panther offense was led by running back Drew Severson, but also racked up important chunks of yardage on the ground from Colvin Standring and Jacob Light.

However, Severson was the key cog for the visitors on Friday as he rushed for 169 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns, while Standring (13 carries for 55 yards, TD), Light (9 carries for 44 yards), Eli Miller (8 carries for 14 yards, 3 2-point conversions) and Korbin Daniels (carry for 4 yards) also contributed for Medomak Valley.

Medomak Valley coach Ryan Snell said his team's 286 yards rushing on the night was largely due to the play on the offensive line, including tackles Erik Benner and Nick Viles, guards Garrett French, Ben Martin and Elijah Lash, tight ends Gabe Shellman and Jacob Weston and fullback Daniels.

Miller finished 4-of-10 under center for the Panthers for 30 yards and one touchdown pass to Brian Pollard, who had two catches for 21 yards.

Defensively, the Panthers were led by Dakota Nutter (6 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles), Pollard (6 solos), Lash (5 solos, 2 forced fumbles), Miller (3 solos, 2 assists, 2 fumble recoveries), Amos Hinkley (forced fumble, fumble recovery), Benner (fumble recovery) and Severson (interception).

The teams struggled in the first quarter, but the Lions’ struggles spanned into the second stanza as the hosts did not convert a first down in the game’s first 24 minutes.

The Panthers wasted little time to begin the second quarter as they forced and recovered a Belfast fumble on the first play of the stanza and Standring took a pitch for a 20-yard touchdown run with 11:44 to play in the half.

After Belfast went three-and-out and Medomak Valley got a nice punt return by Pollard, Severson found the end zone after two runs — and after a two-point conversion by Miller — the Panthers were up 14-0 with 9:16 to go.

Medomak Valley continued to pour it on when Miller found Pollard on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the visitors ahead 20-0 at halftime.

The hosts got on the board on the first possession of the third quarter after Dylan Abbott completed a pair of long passes and also racked up a chunk of yardage on a quarterback keeper to give the Lions a first-and-goal at the two-yard line.

Abbott found the end zone on a two-yard rushing touchdown with 8:43 to play to make the score 20-6.

The Lions then mounted a defensive stand and forced the Panthers to turn the ball over on downs, but fumbled the ball back to Medomak Valley on their next offensive play and put the visitors in business with a first-and-goal at the nine-yard line.

Severson found the end zone two plays later, and another two-point conversion rush by Miller put Medomak Valley on top 28-6.

Severson added a late score on a two-yard rush for Medomak Valley, while Abbott connected on a 70-yard touchdown pass up the right sideline to Jack Hansen as time wound down for Belfast.

In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class C North, Medomak Valley (3-3, 43.7500 points) is fifth, while Belfast (1-5, 17.1875 points) is eighth. Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (5-1, 110.9375 points) is first in the 11-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.