Falmouth a surprise regional finalist, Greely falls in semis

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Falmouth’s Garret Aube breaks free for a touchdown run in the Yachtsmen’s 32-20 upset win at Kennebunk in last weekend’s Class B South football semifinal. Falmouth will meet top-ranked Marshwood in the regional final Saturday.

Photo courtesy Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Press Herald.

The 2017 high school football season lives on, for at least another week, thanks to a big upset victory by the Falmouth Yachtsmen Friday night.

Greely, meanwhile, wasn’t as fortunate, as its season came to an end.

Getting defensive

Falmouth went 6-2 in the regular season, largely on the back of a prolific offense, led by standout quarterback Jack Bryant. The Yachtsmen defense gave up its share of points, but entering play Friday, that unit had allowed a measly 14 points total in the last three outings and in the semifinals, the defense rose to the occasion again.

Falmouth, the No. 3 seed in Class B South, which opened the playoffs with a 48-8 home win over Westbrook in the quarterfinals, had the daunting task of visiting second-ranked Kennebunk Friday, a team which beat the visiting Yachtsmen in a shootout, 51-34, back on Sept. 15.

In the teams’ first-ever postseason encounter, Falmouth turned the tables, despite a rocky start.

The Yachtsmen fumbled away the opening kickoff and the Rams capitalized, scoring  a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead, but Falmouth roared right back, getting on the board on Garret Aube’s 52-yard touchdown scamper. The Yachtsmen missed the extra point, however, and trailed by one. Bryant and Emilio Micucci then twice hooked up for long TD passes, the first 76-yards and the second 66-yards, to put Falmouth ahead, 19-7. Late in the second quarter, Kennebunk scored to pull within five at halftime and the Rams added a third period TD to go on top, 20-19, but Aube scored on a 66-yard touchdown scamper to put the Yachtsmen ahead to stay and Aube iced the victory by returning an interception 75-yards for a TD.

“They had been running the same (pass) play and I just stepped in,” Aube said. “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

That brought the curtain down on the Yachtsmen’s inspirational 32-20 victory, just the program’s second all-time in the semifinal round.

“We were thrilled for the kids,” said Falmouth coach John Fitzsimmons. “We went there with confidence. I thought we could win because we scored 34 points the first time and we made a lot of errors in that game. We opened up with the fumble, but the kids stepped up. Sometimes you learn a lot about a team in a big game. We came together as a unit. We scored on some big plays, so we were on defense a long time. They moved the ball, but we bent and didn’t break. We stopped them several times.”

Aube rushed for 128 yards and scored three times with his interception return factored in.

Bryant completed just 3-of-6 passes, all to Micucci, for 149 yards and two scores.

The Yachtsmen take an 8-2 record to 10-0 Marshwood, the top seed, Saturday at 12:30 in the Class B South Final. Falmouth lost, 42-19, in South Berwick Oct. 6. The Hawks won the two prior playoff meetings: 57-0 in the 2013 Western B quarterfinals and 48-22 in the 2015 Class B South Final.

“There’s a reason Marshwood’s undefeated,” Fitzsimmons said. “But we’ll go into that game with the same level of confidence as we did at Kennebunk. If we don’t make errors, we can win. We’ve had a tough schedule and we’ve played tough games on the road and that’s prepared us. We’ll be ready.”

Another memorable season

Greely, meanwhile, managed to overcome small numbers, injuries and a slow start to reach the semifinals for the third year in a row.

The Rangers, who began the season 0-2 before finishing 5-3 and earning the No. 4 seed before eliminating fifth-ranked Biddeford, 7-0, in the quarterfinals, went to top-ranked Marshwood Friday and even took a quick 7-0 lead when Nolan Anderson returned a fumble for a 19-yard touchdown. The Hawks then erupted to go up, 21-7, after one quarter, 24-7 at halftime and 38-7 after three periods. Greely got fourth quarter touchdowns from Tim Coyle (3-yard run) and Nick Male (1-yard sneak), but Marshwood went on to a 45-19 victory, ending the Rangers’ season at 6-4.

“The kids kept on fighting, we were just outnumbered,” said Greely coach David Higgins. “We knew we couldn’t make mistakes. We were excited going up, 7-0, but they started to pick on where we were deficient and they wore us down. They’re a very good team.”

The Rangers extended their postseason streak to seven years.

“I hope that trend continues,” Higgins said. “It was a very interesting group. We had only seven seniors and just 31 kids, but they bought into our program. The kids fought through adversity and we had another successful season. It was fun.”

Greely figures to again be overlooked in 2018, but don’t be surprised if the Rangers surprise the pundits once more.

“The seniors played a big role in our program and will be missed,” Higgins said. “Coyle was a beast. He was our emotional leader. He loves football. We were a different team when he played.

“We always have concerns about numbers, but we’ll have some good players return next year.”

Press Herald staff writer Kevin Thomas contributed to this story.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.