WELLS — Someone showed up in Wells dressed as the Cape Elizabeth football team for the Western Class B semifinal game on Friday night. The problem was they didn’t play like them.
One season removed from a regional title and a trip to the state final, third-ranked Cape Elizabeth watched the 2010 season vanish in a haze of blue smoke as the second-ranked Warriors ran free and easy to a 47-7 victory at Memorial Field.
Facing 4th-and-inches at the 31 on the first series of the game, Cape Elizabeth (6-4) elected to go for it to the surprise really of no one. Coach Aaron Filieo established long ago the Capers prefer to be the aggressor and needing about three inches after picking up 18 yards on five carries it was a gamble, but a good one.
Struggling with his footing from the start, Cape Elizabeth senior running back Jack Barber still appeared to have got at least what he needed. But the official left his spot perhaps a bit early, dodged a few players and put the ball back right where it was. Inches shy of a first down.
Wells (10-1) punched it in on three running plays for a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game and never looked back. Senior J.T. Sherburne went in untouched from 13-yards out and the Warriors piled on three more touchdowns to take a 28-0 halftime lead.
“We have the best offensive lineman in the state,” said Filieo, in reference to junior Andrew Lavallee. “We have a good athletic fullback. We need to be able to get that yard. In my mind I was thinking of the risk/reward and it probably wasn’t there. For us, it’s another first down. At the same time I didn’t expect us to turn around and give up the touchdown. I had confidence in our defense. But I felt that even down 7-0, OK. We’ve been here before.”
Playing without injured senior Derek Roberts, the Capers turned to senior Adam Danielson to run the offense again for the third time this season. Late in the first quarter, the Warriors sacked Danielson from behind as he was set to throw and recovered the fumble at the Cape Elizabeth 10-yard line.
Three plays later, Wells senior quarterback Paul McDonough rolled to his right and threw high back across the field to the end zone for junior Josh Ingalls in single coverage. Ingalls went up and pulled down McDonough’s high heat for a 14-0 lead for the Warriors with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
“We didn’t show up to play,” said Danielson. “It’s tough out there when a couple of guys don’t show up. It’s hard to explain. I love being out here. I’m going to miss it. Being a captain you always want to try and make things positive. We had a lot of injuries this year but we had great effort. I’m happy with the effort.”
After playing a major role in Wells 14-7 regular season home win over the Capers on Oct. 8, McDonough exerted very little effort in the semifinal meeting. He threw only two passes all game and never had a rushing attempt. Normally the sign of some undisclosed injury, Wells has a good alibi for next week in the Western B Final at top-ranked Mountain Valley (10-0) after jumping out to a huge lead and turning early to the reserves.
Cape Elizabeth got the ball back and punted on the last play of the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Wells junior Louis DiTomasso broke a 69-yard touchdown run around right end to make it 21-0. DiTomasso ran twice for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the game.
Even so, the Capers still trailed just 21-0 with two minutes left in the second quarter. If they could hold the score, there was still hope for a chance to regroup at the break and chip away at the lead.
But the Warriors had different plans. After an exchange of punts, Wells had a first down at its own 15 and picked up six yards on a Sherburne run out to the 21. On second down, senior fullback Chad Whitten popped a trap in the spread offense and rumbled 79 yards down the numbers for a score and Wells led 28-0 to end the first half. Whitten ran tough in the team’s first meeting but in this one carried just four times for 92 yards.
Things went downhill for Cape Elizabeth from there. Wells senior Michael Moats-Carpenter took the second half kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and then intercepted Danielson’s next throw on the Capers next series.
Moats-Carpenter won a jump ball on the sideline and returned it 20 yards across midfield to the Cape Elizabeth 31 before he was forced out of bounds. Again DiTomasso went untouched around end on first down for the touchdown. Sophomore Joey Spinelli missed the point-after but at that point it didn’t really matter with Wells now leading 41-0 with 9:15 still left to play in the third quarter.
“In the grand scheme of things we ran out of bullets,” said Filieo. “This season we couldn’t find a way to cure the original problem. We made too many mistakes. That’s on the coaches. We worked hard. We prepared hard. They were physical. We just made too many mistakes.”
Danielson returned a fumble 52 yards for the Capers’ lone score in the fourth quarter. The Wells reserves ran in a touchdown late for the final score.
In the NFL they call it a Super Bowl hangover, the season after a team at least advances to the championship game. There’s no question Cape Elizabeth suffered a season after graduating a team that had a lot invested in it. The Capers lost a top-flight quarterback, receiver and tailback from the offense and several high-caliber players on defense.
Next year they will hope to reload while graduating 15 seniors including captains in Danielson, Barber along with Jack McDonald and John Harrison. Patrick Tyler, Cyrus Wolfinger, Connor McAleney and Paul Hansen also move on.