Falmouth keeps surging with win over Biddeford

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Falmouth sophomore Jake Rand and his teammates celebrate a touchdown during the Yachtsmen’s 27-18 home win over Biddeford Friday evening. Falmouth improved to 3-1 on the season.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Falmouth 27 Biddeford 18

B- 6 0 6 6- 18
F- 14 6 7 0- 27

First quarter
F- Reed 77 run (Pausman kick)
B- Kelly 24 pass from Edgerton (rush failed)
F- Reed 67 run (Pausman kick)

Second quarter
F-Lovely 62 interception return (kick failed)

Third quarter
B- Voccia-Hale 40 pass from Edgerton (pass failed)
F- Lovely 59 pass from Bush (Pausman kick)

Fourth quarter
B- Edgerton 8 run (pass failed)

FALMOUTH—The consensus hierarchy in Class B South football this fall is Kennebunk, Marshwood and everyone else.

You can remove the Falmouth Yachtsmen from the “everyone else” ledger.

That’s because the Yachtsmen are legitimate threats to the Hawks and Rams and the best news of all, is that Falmouth is only going to get better.

Friday evening on its turf field, Falmouth won its third game in a row this season, racing out to an early lead over visiting Biddeford and making enough big plays on both sides of the ball to prevail.

Just 4 minutes, 15 seconds in, senior standout Riley Reed broke free for a 77-yard touchdown run to put the Yachtsmen ahead to stay.

After the Tigers answered on a 24-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Carter Edgerton to sophomore Scott Kelly, Reed struck again, this time racing to a 67-yard score and a 14-6 lead after one quarter.

Biddeford, which moved the ball up and down the field all day, but had trouble finishing drives, couldn’t answer and when senior Evan Lovely intercepted an Edgerton pass and returned it 62 yards to paydirt, Falmouth enjoyed a 20-6 advantage at the half.

Momentum then turned the Tigers’ way, as Edgerton and junior Delano Voccia-Hale hooked up for a 40-yard score to cut the deficit to eight, but the Yachtsmen, after going conservative on offense when junior quarterback Nick Mancini suffered an ankle injury and was replaced by freshman Cooper Bush, got a big break with 3:41 remaining in the third period, as Lovely caught a Bush pass in circus fashion, then completed a 59-yard scoring reception to make it 27-12.

Biddeford again answered, as Edgerton scored on an 8-yard rush in the fourth period, but the Tigers couldn’t add the two-point conversion and never drew any closer as Falmouth went on to a 27-18 victory.

The Yachtsmen earned some key Heal Points, improved to 3-1 on the year and in the process, dropped Biddeford to 2-2.

“I thought it would take three, four weeks to know what kind of team we have and I’m happy,” said Falmouth coach John Fitzsimmons. “They’re great young men. They might work harder than any group I’ve had. They’re that special.”

Keeping pace

Biddeford and Falmouth feel they’re as good as anyone in the region this season.

The Tigers opened the 2018 season with a 26-12 win at Brewer. Following a 14-13 home loss to Cony, Biddeford took care of visiting Noble, 44-21, last weekend.

The Yachtsmen dropped a hard-fought 27-25 decision at Brunswick in their opener, then took care of visiting Brewer, 27-15, and last week, won at Gorham, 31-7.

Last year, Falmouth outscored host Biddeford, 42-30.

Friday, on an fall-like evening (62 degrees, but very windy) the Yachtsmen jumped out early and did enough to win again.

Falmouth won the opening coin toss, deferred possession to the second half, then kept the Tigers out of the end zone on the game’s first series.

Reed made an immediate impact by throwing junior Nick Lyons for a six-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage, but Edgerton countered by finding senior Cody Saucier for a 24-yard reception on a slant to the Yachtsmen 35. After sophomore Aidan Donovan ran for a yard, Edgerton rolled right and nearly connected with Saucier near the goal line, but Saucier couldn’t hold on, bringing up third down, where Lyons caught a pass, but was held to no gain, forcing a punt.

Falmouth started at its 13 and three plays later was on top for good.

After Reed ran for four yards on first down, Mancini kept the ball for six, but wound up just inches shy of the first down. Biddeford blitzed on third-and-inches and after Reed got through the line, he had nothing but clear sailing the rest of the way and he easily out-ran the pursuit to complete a 77-yard scoring run with 7:45 to play in the first period.

“I’ll take the blame for that,” said Tigers coach Brian Curit. “I shouldn’t have had a blitz on.”

Junior Sam Pausman added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Biddeford then went three-and-out, as Donovan ran for three yards, then was thrown for a four-yard loss by Reed before sophomore Matt Probert sacked Edgerton for a six-yard loss on third-and-11.

The Tigers then punted, but Yachtsmen junior Brady Douglas couldn’t handle the ball and sophomore Jack Smith recovered for the visitors at the Falmouth 46.

Biddeford would take advantage, marching 46 yards in five plays and 2:01 to get on the board.

After Kelly was held to a yard on a reverse, he caught a 10-yard pass from Edgerton for a first down at the 35. Donovan gained three yards before Edgerton passed to Saucier for eight more and a first down at the 24. On the next snap, Edgerton found Kelly over the middle and Kelly broke a pair of tackles before running into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown reception with 3:18 left in the first quarter. 

The Tigers went for two, but Kelly’s rush was stopped, keeping the Yachtsmen on top, 7-6.

Falmouth needed just 15 seconds to extend its lead.

On the first play of the Yachtsmen’s next drive, from the 33, Reed got the ball on a sweep to the left and broke through the line before outrunning the secondary all the way to the end zone for a 67-yard score.

“That was just my line opening stuff up,” Reed said. “Our scheme worked as well. The coaches know what works and they did a great job tonight. We have a ton of skilled receivers, but we’re working on balancing things out. You can’t be 100 percent run or 100 percent pass.” 

“Riley is a force on both sides of the ball,” said Fitzsimmons. “I couldn’t be more proud of how hard he works. He’s in such great condition. He just stays out there and makes plays.”

Pausman added the PAT for a 14-6 lead.

As the first period gave way to the second, Biddeford marched again.

Starting from their 20 after a touchback, Edgerton ran the RPO (run-pass option) to perfection, keeping the ball for 14-yards and a first down, gaining a yard, then five more before breaking a 40-yard run to the Yachtsmen 20. On the final play of the first quarter (which saw Falmouth hold a 154-114 advantage in yardage), senior Coleman Allen dropped Donovan for a four-yard loss and on second down, Edgerton threw incomplete. On third-and-14, however, Edgerton found Saucier, who lunged at the sticks to set up first-and-goal from the 10.

The Tigers couldn’t complete the drive, however, as after Edgerton ran for a yard, then scrambled for four more, Donovan was held to a yard and on a fourth down reverse, Douglas ran down Saucier for a four-yard loss, giving Falmouth the ball back on downs at its 8.

The Yachtsmen went three-and-out, as Coleman Allen ran for a yard, Mancini kept the ball for five (he hurt his ankle on the play) and Douglas picked up one yard, forcing a punt.

After a 26-yard punt, Biddeford started at the Falmouth 41, but again, couldn’t take advantage.

After Saucier caught a 14-yard pass to move the chains, Edgerton threw incomplete and was called for intentional grounding, a false start backed the Tigers up five more yards and after Edgerton gained nine yards, senior Chase Kelley sacked Edgerton for a 13-yard loss, setting up fourth down.

Falmouth got the ball back at its 21 with 5:06 left in the half and Bush, the “quarterback of the future” got thrown into the fire.

Bush handed off to Reed for a one-yard gain on first down and after Douglas was held to no gain, Bush attempted his first pass, but it was incomplete and the Yachtsmen had to punt.

Biddeford had good field position again, at its 48, but on the first play of the next series, Edgerton’s pass was off-target, Lovely snared it at the Falmouth 38 and he took off down the left sideline, riding his speed and good blocking to the end zone to complete a momentum-turning 62-yard interception return.

“I saw the quarterback looking my way and I saw the receiver running a slant and luckily, he overthrew the ball,” Lovely said. “I just had to wait for it and go up and get it. My blockers on that were insane. (Senior) Jackman (Graiver-Webber) took a big hit for me and that helped me score the touchdown.”

Pausman missed the PAT wide left, but the Yachtsmen had a 20-6 lead.

Biddeford hoped to answer, but after a pair of incompletions, with another intentional grounding mixed in, set up third-and-18, Edgerton’s pass to Kelly was only good for 14 yards and the Tigers had to punt.

With 2:28 left in the half, Falmouth started at its 10 and went three-and-out, as Reed ran for a yard, then lost five yards, and Douglas gained three yards, forcing a punt.

After just a 19-yard Pausman punt, Biddeford started at the Yachtsmen’s 28 with 1:32 left, but again, couldn’t score.

After a pass interference penalty on Falmouth moved the ball to the 14, Edgerton threw incomplete, Reed sacked Edgerton for a one-yard loss and after Edgerton scrambled for a yard, with Reed bringing him down, Edgerton tried to hit Saucier in the end zone, but Douglas knocked it down to give the ball back to the Yachtsmen, who milked the rest of the clock and took a 20-6 advantage to the break.

Falmouth had a slight 159-145 edge in first half yardage, as Reed gained 145 yards on six rushes. 

Edgerton completed 8-of-16 passes, good for 108 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw a pick-six.

The Yachtsmen got the ball to start the second half and remained stuck in neutral, as after an illegal shift penalty set up first-and-15, Reed ran for a yard, was held to no gain, then Coleman Allen only picked up one, forcing a punt.

Biddeford started at the 40 and moved into Falmouth territory, but couldn’t cut into the deficit.

After Donovan ran for three yards, then three more, Edgerton hit Saucier on a slant for 13 yards to the Yachtsmen 41. Edgerton scrambled for two yards and Donovan picked up one, but after a bad snap, Reed threw Edgerton for a two-yard loss, necessitating a punt.

Falmouth got the ball back at its 20 after a touchback and again went three-and-out, as Reed was thrown for a five-yard loss by Donovan, Allen picked up four and Bush kept for no gain.

With 4:27 remaining in the third period, the Tigers started at the Yachtsmen 40 and 13 seconds and one play later, they rediscovered the end zone, as Edgerton hit Voccia-Hale wide open down the middle and Voccia-Hale out-ran the pursuit to the right pylon for a 40-yard score. Again, Biddeford couldn’t get the conversion, as Edgerton’s two-point pass was incomplete, leaving the score 20-12 with 4:14 to play in the frame.

And just as quickly as the Tigers closed the gap, Falmouth opened things back up.

After Bush twice threw incomplete, he dropped back again on third down, stepped up and threw to Lovely, who was closely defended by Saucier. Somehow, Lovely managed to not only wrestle the ball away from the defender, but he pinned it to his hip in the process, kept his feet, then took off down the field and left the defense in his wake en route to a 59-yard score with 3:41 on the clock.

“(The defender) went to swat it down and luckily I was able to hold on to it, and keep it on my leg,” Lovely said. “Then, I just had to out-run the defenders. Cooper did fantastic. For his debut, it was impressive. He didn’t make many mistakes.”

“Evan made some key plays, the interception and the big pass,” Fitzsimmons said. “He has great speed.”

Biddeford started its next drive at its 42 and Edgerton got the Tigers moving with a 13-yard run and a seven-yard scramble. Donovan then rumbled for 17 yards, moving the pile in the process, to the Falmouth 21. After Donovan ran for eight more yards, the drive stalled, as Shane Allen dropped Edgerton for a four-yard loss and senior Jake Ricker sacked Edgerton for a one-yard loss, setting up fourth-and-7 where Edgerton threw incomplete, giving the ball back to the Yachtsmen.

Falmouth started at its 18 and on the final play of the third period, Reed ran for a yard. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Coleman Allen lost a yard. Bush then threw an interception to sophomore Alex McAlevey, who returned the ball 12 yards to the Yachtsmen 10.

Three plays later, the Tigers were right back in it.

Donovan ran for a yard on first down and McAlevey gained a yard on a reverse, but on third down, Edgerton kept the ball, broke two tackles and got into the end zone for an 8-yard TD with 9:27 to play. Edgerton threw incomplete on the two-point conversion attempt and Falmouth was still up by nine, 27-18.

Again, the Yachtsmen went three-and-out, as Reed was thrown for a three-yard loss by Kelly, Coleman Allen ran for four yards and Reed gained five, setting up fourth-and-4.

Falmouth had to punt and Biddeford started at the 48 with 6:47 to play, with a great opportunity to make it a one-score game, but the Yachtsmen didn’t let it happen.

After Donovan ran for three yards, Coleman Allen held Donovan for no gain and Edgerton threw incomplete, forcing a punt.

With 5:13 on clock, Falmouth took over at its 20 and after Reed ran for 11 yards and a first down, Reed was held to no gain, Douglas picked up three yards and after a fumbled exchange, Donovan fell on the pigskin at the Yachtsmen 36 with 3:11 remaining.

Despite the field position, the Tigers couldn’t take advantage, as senior Gibson Scott sacked Edgerton for a five-yard loss, Edgerton threw incomplete and Edgerton hit Lyons for 10 yards, but on fourth-and-5 from the 31, Edgerton threw incomplete, as Lovely came up big again, knocking the ball down, giving Falmouth the ball back at its 31 with 2:10 to go.

The Yachtsmen moved the chains, as Reed ran for nine-yards, then eight, for a first down at the 48. After a false start penalty, Reed gained two yards, then picked up six and was held to no gain.

Falmouth punted, but Biddeford had just 11 seconds to work with when it got the ball back at its 37 and after Edgerton ran for three yards, Donovan picked up six and the final horn sounded, giving Falmouth a 27-18 victory.

“Biddeford is one of the toughest and most technique-sound teams in the league and we had to keep the pressure on,” Reed said. “When we were pinned, we put everything we had into it. We knew the game was on the line and we just did it.”

“I’ll always take a ‘W,’ it doesn’t always have to be pretty,” Fitzsimmons said. “We made the plays we had to. Biddeford’s a good team and their quarterback is a challenge, but our defense hung in there. They put the ball in the air a lot, but we stood up to it. I have four returning starters and the rest are first-time varsity guys and I’m proud of them. They keep working hard.”

The Yachtsmen finished with 268 yards.

Reed gained 180 yards and had two touchdowns on 18 carries.

Bush went 1-of-5 for 59 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his limited action.

Falmouth turned the ball over three times and committed five penalties for 52 yards.

Defensively, the Yachtsmen sacked the quarterback five times.

Biddeford had 271 yards, but was hindered in part by a turnover, three penalties for 23 yards and three failed two-point conversions.

Edgerton went 11-of-23 for 171 yards and two TDs and ran for 98 yards and a score on 14 attempts.

Saucier caught five balls for 73 yards.

Kelley had three receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Lyons had two catches for 10 yards.

Voccia-Hale had one catch for a 40-yard score.

Donovan gained 42 yards on 15 carries.

“The guys didn’t quit and kept battling,” Curit said. “Carter is a great player and you can see what he can do, but I thought our effort up front was poor. Give Falmouth credit. John does a good job with his kids. They were more aggressive than us at the beginning. We had a boatload of chances that we couldn’t cash in on and that’s disappointing.”

Halfway home

Biddeford returns home next Friday for a key showdown versus Kennebunk.

“Two losses is two too many in a tough league, but I still believe that we’ll be a team that people won’t want to see at the end of the year,” Curit said.

Falmouth, meanwhile, welcomes defending state champion Marshwood in a rematch of last year’s thrilling Class B South Final. 

“We’re doing great,” Reed said. “We’re looking to compete with Marshwood and Kennebunk and I think we’ll stack up well with them with our speed and our toughness.”

“We have to work hard in practice like we’ve been doing all season,” Lovely said. “We have to keep up the momentum and pressure.”

“We’ll keep getting better,” Fitzsimmons added. “We’re getting closer. We’ll get in the film room and get ready for Marshwood next week. (Greely) held them to 22 points with low numbers and played them well, so we’ll watch that film. These kids rise to the level of who we play.”

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

Falmouth senior Riley Reed turns the corner on Biddeford senior Carter Edgerton. Reed ran for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Falmouth senior Evan Lovely returns a second quarter interception for a touchdown.

Falmouth junior Brady Douglas tries to escape Biddeford sophomore Scott Kelly.

Falmouth senior Gibson Scott closes in on Biddeford senior Carter Edgerton.

Falmouth junior Shane Allen brings down Biddeford sophomore Scott Kelly.

Falmouth sophomore Matt Probert (50) is congratulated by senior Jake Ricker after a sack.

Falmouth senior Riley Reed celebrates one of his two long touchdown runs.

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