(Ed. Note: For the full Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth game story with additional photos, please visit theforecaster.net)
The midway point of the 2010 high school football season is upon us and three local teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt.
The most exciting game of last weekend came Friday night in Cape Elizabeth where Falmouth proved once and for all that it’s a legitimate contender, but the Yachtsmen couldn’t hold a 21-7 second half lead and fell to 3-1 after a 24-21 setback.
Greely is also 3-1 after its third successive victory. The Rangers blanked host Lake Region, 26-0.
In Western C, Yarmouth easily improved to 4-0 with a 62-0 win at Sacopee. The Clippers next face a huge test at Lisbon Saturday.
Freeport fell to 1-3 after a 56-14 home loss to Lisbon.
Falmouth, 5-4 a year ago with no postseason, earned a statement-making 34-25 victory at York in its first game, then easily dispatched Fryeburg (44-0) and Lake Region (47-14). Friday, the Yachtsmen visited 3-0 Cape Elizabeth, last year’s Western B champion, a team they’d never beaten and lost to, 28-0, at home in 2009.
Falmouth got the jump when junior Ryan MacDonald fielded the punt at his 37 and was off to the races, running untouched down the left sideline thanks to some stellar blocking en route to a 63-yard touchdown to put the Yachtsmen on top. Senior David Goodrich’s extra point made it 7-0 with 3:50 to go in the opening quarter.
The lead lasted all of 11 seconds as Capers junior Derek Roberts received the ensuing kickoff at his 10 and rumbled untouched up the middle of the field 90-yards to paydirt.
The Yachtsmen’s offense then came to life as on second-and-10 from the 31, senior quarterback Zach Alexander dropped back and launched a rainbow down the left sideline for junior Jack Cooleen, who used his size and leaping ability to make a jumping catch over Cape Elizabeth senior Cyrus Wolfinger before breaking a tackle and rumbling 69-yards for the score.
Goodrich’s kick made it 14-7 Falmouth with 3:19 to go in the first, capping a run of three touchdowns in 31 seconds.
Just five seconds into the second period, Alexander and Cooleen hooked up for a 4-yard TD, capping a seven-play drive. Goodrich’s extra point made it 21-7.
“Nobody had scored on them, but we put up 21 points and proved we could move the ball,” said Falmouth coach John Fitzsimmons.
Cape Elizabeth began its comeback late in the third quarter with a passing touchdown to make it a 21-14 contest. With 7:56 left in the game, Falmouth had to punt from deep in its territory and a bad snap led to a safety making it 21-16. Then, with just 1:28 left to play, senior Jack McDonald (who didn’t even handle the ball in the first 24 minutes) scored on a 1-yard TD run. The Capers added the two-point conversion and their defense denied one final Yachtsmen drive to win, 24-21.
“We got pinned down and it caused problems for us,” Fitzsimmons said. “Getting pinned gave momentum to them. You can’t leave your defense out there that long without something going wrong.”
Falmouth left the field in despair, but knows it made a positive statement and will be a factor going forward.
“That was a magnificent high school football game all the way to the final seconds,” Fitzsimmons said. “Cape played really well. I give them credit. I’m proud of my players. It was a wonderful team effort. What we learned is we’re ready to be a playoff team.”
The Yachtsmen got a solid performance from Alexander, who was 10-of-20 passing for 160 yards and two TDs (along with two interceptions). He also gained 29 yards on five rushes. Cooleen caught three first half balls for 92 yards and two TDs, but was held without a catch in the second half.
Falmouth will seek to rebound Saturday at 1 p.m., when it finally opens its new turf field against Wells (3-1). A year ago, the Yachtsmen almost upset the host Warriors, falling, 26-20.
“It will be fun to finally have a home game,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think (this loss is) just a speed bump. I feel it’s a good lesson. We know we can play with (Cape). We don’t feel like we’re out of their league.”
Greely eclipsed its 2009 win total Friday night. The Rangers put forth a dominant defensive performance at win-less Lake Region and had the victory all but sewn up by halftime. A short run from senior Justin Moore gave Greely all the points it would need and a 6-0 lead after one period. Senior Ethan Wyman doubled the lead with a 4-yard run, Moore returned a punt for a TD and sophomore Svenn Jacobson scored on a 14-yard scamper to account for the 26-0 final score.
Greely can make a big statement Friday when it hosts York (2-2). The Wildcats were one of the preseason favorites, but have struggled. Last year, in York, Greely lost, 25-0. The Rangers still have games upcoming against Mountain Valley, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth and will have a lot to say about which teams make the Western B postseason.
Yarmouth faced an undermanned Sacopee squad Friday night on the road. The Clippers put it away after one quarter, scoring six touchdowns. Junior Anders Overhaug got the party started with a 13-yard TD run. Freshman Brady Neujahr threw a TD pass to senior Asa Arden to make it 14-0. Seniors Nick Prosica, Billy Clabby, Nate Pingitore and sophomore Caleb Uhl all added TD runs to make it 42-0 just 12 minutes in. Neujahr hooked up with junior Dennis Erving from 43 yards out to make it 49-0 at the break. Clabby and freshman Matt Woodbury added second half TD runs to give Yarmouth the 62-0 victory.
The Clippers go to 4-0 Lisbon Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Last year, Yarmouth had no trouble with the visiting Greyhounds, winning, 48-26.
“It’s going to be an enormous game,” said Clippers coach Jim Hartman. “Lisbon’s a very good team, very well-disciplined, extremely well-coached. They scheme to confuse the other team and force you to make choices. They have a good quarterback and tailback. Both were out of last year’s game early. It’s a game of matchups. Whoever makes the least mistakes should be in good shape.”
The winner will have the inside track on a high playoff seed and homefield advantage.
“We’re sitting pretty,” Hartman said. “It would be nice for the program to have a home playoff game.”
Freeport dropped two of its first three games, but put scares into defending Class C champion Dirigo (25-12) and Madison (26-24) in the process. The Falcons rolled, 34-0, at Sacopee, for their lone win.
Saturday, Freeport hosted Lisbon and only trailed the potent Greyhounds, 6-0, after one period, and pulled even at 6-6 early in the second on a long TD run from sophomore Cory Aldecoa, but the visitors pulled away with 30 points before the half. Lisbon added 20 points in the second half while Freeport accounted for the 56-14 final when freshman BenMcMillan scored on a late run.
The Falcons visit 0-4 Old Orchard Beach Friday night. Last year, Freeport fell at home to the Seagulls, 37-0.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com
Falmouth senior quarterback Zach Alexander finds momentary space amid the Cape Elizabeth defense Friday night. The Yachtsmen couldn’t hold a second half lead and suffered a 24-21 setback.
Cape Elizabeth senior Vin Dell’Aquilla is swarmed over by Falmouth seniors Andrew Kowalsky (76) and Storm McGovern.