The Star-Herald

Shires, Huskies meet on the gridiron

HOULTON, Maine — It was not the football season teams may have hoped for, but the Houlton Shires and Aroostook Huskies at least were able to play some games this fall, in an abbreviated manner.

Because the Maine Principals’ Association deemed football was unsafe for regular play due to COVID-19 concerns, teams were only allowed to hold seven-on-seven flag football games against neighboring squads.

Getting ready to make a pass is Dominic Poisson of the Aroostook Huskies during an Oct. 19 game against Houlton. (Joseph Cyr|Houlton Pioneer Times)

Rearing back to make a pass is Houlton quarterback Bronson Hanning during an Oct. 19 flag football game with the Aroostook Huskies (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

For the Houlton Shires and the Aroostook Huskies of Presque Isle/Caribou, that meant the two teams would meet on the gridiron for the first time in many years. The two squads last met when Houlton was part of the Aroostook Football League, going by the name of the Houlton Knights.




On Monday, Oct. 19, the two teams met in Houlton at the Maliseet Sports Complex to renew their friendly rivalry in a seven-on-seven flag football game. Teams were not allowed to wear traditional football gear and no contact such as tackling was allowed.

Making a spectacular of the shoulder grab for a touchdown is Zaylan Johnston of the Aroostook Huskies during an Oct. 19 game against Houlton. Defending is Shire Chris Caswell. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Houlton’s Chris Caswell, right, tries to get away from Dyllon Francis of the Aroostook Huskies during an Oct. 19 flag football game in Houlton. (Joseph Cyr|Houlton Pioneer Times)

Houlton held off a late rally from the Huskies for the 36-34 victory. The Huskies had trailed by 30-12 at halftime.

“I was very happy with the effort of the kids,” Houlton coach Jon Solomon said. “They have worked hard and made improvements every day. I am also thankful for the Huskies coaches, players and families for being able to make this opportunity for the kids in The County to play football like they are doing in other parts of the state.”

Under the rules of play, there was no rushing the quarterback, who had exactly four seconds to get a pass off. There were also no rushing attempts or kickoffs. Extra points were worth two points from the 10-yard line or one point from the five-yard line.

“I am very happy with the resilience the guys showed last night,” Huskies coach Taylor DeFelice said. “They won the second half and were very close on the comeback attempt. We are grateful to Jon (Solomon) and the Houlton Shires for giving us a few games, so the kids could get on the field and play the game they love.”

Angel Riopelle, right, of the Aroostook Huskies tries to make a catch while guarded by Houlton’s Logan Tapley during a seven-on-seven flag football game in Houlton Oct. 19. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Houlton varsity football coach Jon Solomon speaks to his team during a break in the action Oct. 19 in a game against the Aroostook Huskies. (Joseph Cyr|Houlton Pioneer Times)

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