The much-needed rain began to fall about game time, which, ultimately, made for slick footballs and difficulty throwing and catching. However, that did not stop Oceanside and Belfast student-athletes from their appointed fun during another, much different installment of Friday night lights.

In the end, the visiting Lions enjoyed a bit more fun than the Mariners en route to a 24-0 victory at damp Wasgatt Field.

It was Belfast's second 7-versus-7 game of the fall, while Oceanside took the field for the first time for official play.

On Friday night, the rain fell hard at times, but there were pockets of air dryness. Despite playing under tough weather conditions and a variety of safety protocols — as well as an entirely different format — due to the pandemic, the young athletes appeared happy to be back on the field.

Watch video and see more than 70 photos below.

The scene was a bit weird, however, from traditional football. There were no pads and only game shirts, shorts and, often, face coverings, worn by the players. And there were no spectators, as fans of the teams watched from outside the field in their cars or sitting on or standing beside them.

The handful of parents allowed into the game were honored by their Mariner senior student-athletes in a pregame ceremony.

The typical electric atmosphere of a a high school football game with hundreds of spectators and hard-hitting action was not there and the overall scene was a bit subdued, but still a fun, competitive, athletic activity for the teenagers.

Ultimately, this was not your grandfather's, father's or even brother's football.

It is different. Much different. Many players got to play quarterback and even went out on pass routes to catch balls. The skill players came in all sizes, meaning, the larger stature players did not get relegated to line play because there was no blocking.

Once in a while there was a run play, but passing was the name of the game. And all players got involved. The 7-on-7 game is more inclusive instead of exclusive for those able to catch and throw passes — or enjoy playing the "skill" positions.

When the game started the opponents had a bit of trouble making connections, as the tough, wet conditions was not as conducive to passing the ball, which is what the majority of the 7-on-7 touch/flag football is about.

Belfast took a 6-0 lead into halftime and extended that over the course of the second half.

Keegan McGowan threw four touchdown passes to three receivers — two to Tanner Veilleux and one to Kaden Bonin and Drew Abelon — to lead the Lion offense.

McGowan, Abelon and Josh Fairbrother also had interceptions on defense for Belfast, while Hale Morris had one interception for Oceanside.

Belfast coach Brian Goff admitted “conditions were not ideal.” However, “Once we eliminated the excuses, we caught the ball better and got into the end zone before the half.”

“That's football,” he said. “And it was good training for our players to play in a wet, damp, and chilly environment. The defense was on point and didn't give up much yardage. In two games with starters on the field, opponents have not scored on us yet.”

McGowan found Abelon streaking alone in the back of the end zone for the lone first-half touchdown for Belfast. In the second half, Veilleux caught a deep post for a touchdown and also toe-tapped for another score before a circus touchdown catch by Bonin over two defenders rounded out the scoring for the visitors.

“I was pleased with the young group,” said Oceanside coach Wes Drinkwater. “Nate Thompson, a freshman tight end, had a real good night with probably seven or eight catches. Hale Morris had a very good defensive game with an interception and a few pass breakups. Matt Spear, Sam Miller and Austin Pagano showed great leadership. Overall, I’m proud of the kids for sticking together as a team and making the best of this.”

Drinkwater added it was “an excellent night for punter Gavyn Tower, who is said to be one of the top three punters in Maine.”

The Lions had played the week prior, losing at home to visiting Bucksport 13-12.

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