Freeport’s football team celebrates in the rain Friday after beating Yarmouth for the first time to win the “Battle of the Bay” trophy.
Falmouth’s football team celebrates with the trophy it won for beating Greely, 14-0, in the “Battle of Route 9” Saturday night.
(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Greely game story, see theforecaster.net)
The high school football regular season came to a close last weekend with a pair of rivalry games and now, all four local squads are heading to the playoffs.
Freeport made history Friday night, winning at Yarmouth in the rain, 30-16, to take the “Battle of the Bay” for the first time. The Falcons earned the No. 5 seed in Class C South and dropped the defending regional champion Clippers to the No. 7 spot.
Saturday evening, with rain again making an appearance, host Falmouth broke open a scoreless tie with a pair of second half touchdowns to down Greely, 14-0, and regain the “Battle of Route 9” trophy. The Yachtsmen will be the No. 3 seed in Class B South and the Rangers are ranked sixth, meaning the squads will meet again this coming Friday in the quarterfinals.
Last season, Falmouth took a 7-0 record to Greely for the finale and was stunned, 16-6.
This time around, both teams came in 5-2, but the Yachtsmen were coming off a home loss to Marshwood, while the Rangers had won five straight games.
Greely had the ball in Falmouth territory almost the whole first half, but couldn’t score and that came back to haunt the Rangers when the Yachtsmen got the ball to begin the second half and they drove 91 yards in 16 plays and 7 minutes, 38 seconds to take the lead on an 8-yard run from Garret Aube. Greely had minus-6 yards of offense in the second half and never threatened again. Falmouth iced the victory with 5:06 to go in the fourth quarter, when Brandon Martin scored on a 1-yard run, and went on to a 14-0 win, improving to 6-2 in the process.
“I’m thrilled,” said Yachtsmen coach John Fitzsimmons. “It’s the Battle of Route 9 and now for 365 days, we have the trophy. We waited a whole year to get it back. What I love about this rivalry is how hard everybody plays. Credit to Greely. I expected they’d play hard and they played harder than even I thought.”
The Rangers (5-3) left feeling like they missed an opportunity.
“It was pretty frustrating,” said Greely coach David Higgins. “I did a terrible job making offensive calls. I thought we could do some things, but we couldn’t. They were just a better team than us tonight. They played well and deserved it.”
Friday’s Class B South quarterfinal will mark the first ever postseason meeting between the rivals.
“We’re in the playoffs and we just have to play hard,” Higgins said. “Hopefully we can pull some magic again.”
“It’s going to be very hard to play the same team one week later,” Fitzsimmons said. “There are no surprises and Coach Higgins’ teams always fight hard. The playoffs will test us all of the way. I’m thrilled to be home. I think we have a run in us. There’s enough in this group to shake up anyone we play.”
Freeport has long been in Yarmouth’s shadow, as the Clippers won a championship in just their fourth varsity season and added another the following year. Ever since the Falcons began playing at the varsity level, they had struggled with Yarmouth but that all changed last weekend.
Freeport took an 8-0 lead after one quarter, but the Clippers rallied to tie, 8-8. The Falcons led, 16-8, at halftime, but again Yarmouth answered with a touchdown pass from John Thoma to Caden Middleton and a two-point Thoma conversion rush to make it 16-16. Freeport wouldn’t buckle, however, and went ahead for good, 24-16, before adding another score to win, 30-16, and finish 4-4.
Max Doughty sparked the victory with three touchdowns.
“First time I’ve ever beaten Yarmouth in my eight-year career playing football for Freeport,” said Doughty. “This is unreal.”
“It’s such a great feeling,” said Freeport coach Paul St. Pierre.”I’m kind of at a loss for words right now. I’m just extremely, extremely pleased with my entire program. From all the volunteers, to my great assistant coaches, to all my players.”
As the No. 5 seed, Freeport draws No. 4 Spruce Mountain (5-3) in the quarterfinals Friday. The teams didn’t play this year. In the lone prior playoff meeting, the Phoenix won, 42-13, in the 2013 quarterfinals.
Yarmouth (3-5), ranked seventh, has the daunting task of playing at No. 2 Wells (7-1) in its quarterfinal Friday. The Clippers lost, 54-7, at Wells Sept. 30. The teams met in a memorable regional final last fall, where Yarmouth rallied from an early 14-point deficit to win, 17-14. That was teams’ lone prior playoff encounter.
Current staff writer Adam Birt contributed to this story.