Coming off a winless season in 2021, Orono shocked everybody with an electrifying postseason run final 12 months.
After beginning the common season 2-3, the Purple Riots gained their subsequent 5 video games by a median margin of 25 factors and superior all the way in which to the eight-player small state title sport.
The Purple Riots fielded a high-octane, pass-first offense that scored a median of 55 factors throughout these 5 wins.
“All of it clicked. We have been scary good,” junior quarterback Jack Brewer mentioned.
Lastly, within the state championship sport, the Purple Riots had their successful streak snapped by the Outdated Orchard Seaside Seagulls in Augusta. Outsized, the Purple Riots couldn’t get right into a groove offensively, finally dropping 46-22.
However the championship loss hasn’t dampened the arrogance or momentum Orono constructed up for itself final season. Spending this offseason creating a stronger floor sport and persevering with to construct chemistry, the Purple Riots are locked in on a collective objective of turning into state champs.
“We kinda received pushed round at states,” Brewer mentioned. “The storyline final 12 months was our velocity, our athletes, my throwing, however persons are going to see this 12 months that we will be robust too. Everybody right here desires a hoop, and is aware of what it takes to get it.”
Fostering this toughness takes place within the minds of the Purple Riots as a lot because it does within the weight room.
“There’s been a significant enchancment in our mentality. Simply being canine, for certain,” senior operating again Ben Francis mentioned. “We knew what we may do, what we could possibly be, and our guys simply put the items collectively. It’s been a workforce effort in development in all elements.”
The Purple Riots have come a good distance since 2019, when the college canceled its soccer season attributable to an absence of obtainable gamers.
In 2021, Orono returned to motion as an eight-player soccer workforce, however the rising pains hit exhausting because the Purple Riots didn’t win a single sport.
Orono solely graduated three seniors final 12 months, so its starters will have the ability to reap the advantages of the chemistry they’ve developed over the previous two seasons.
“Now we have nice chemistry. A few of us have been taking part in collectively since fifth and sixth grade,” senior broad receiver Pierce Walston mentioned. “All of us have that one objective, to get that gold ball.”
Head coach Bob Sinclair has a barely extra modest perspective towards this season’s prospects than his gamers do, however he removed from doubts their potential to go deep into the playoffs once more.
“Our focus is one week at a time. Now we have to be affected person, and perceive we’ll make some errors,” Sinclair mentioned. “The most important factor about these youngsters is how shut they’re. With that recipe, we are able to win.”
This upcoming common season, Orono will play 4 video games at residence, together with its opener towards Houlton on Sept. 1, and a extremely anticipated rematch with Bucksport on Sept. 22.
Bucksport beat Orono 36-15 within the common season final 12 months earlier than the Purple Riots retaliated with an exhilarating 51-46 victory within the first spherical of the playoffs. Each video games have been performed in Bucksport, so the Purple Riots are trying ahead to taking part in the Golden Bucks on their residence turf.
Orono may also play Ellsworth and Mattanawcook at residence, and Dexter, Stearns and Fort Kent away. Dexter, the No. 1 seed within the North area final 12 months, was undefeated till Orono upset the workforce within the regional semifinals, 61-22.
“We’re going to have a goal on our backs,” Walston mentioned. “All people’s going to be giving us their greatest video games.”