FALMOUTH—Neither rain, nor wind, nor cold, nor Yachtsmen could keep the Mountain Valley football team from rolling to another victory.
On a Friday night when numerous games were postponed across the state due to weather, the show went on as scheduled on Falmouth’s turf field, though it was anything but enjoyable for the home team and its fans that braved the elements.
The visiting Falcons capitalized on a fortuitous bounce early on, then pounded away on the ground and used a suffocating defensive effort to rout the Yachtsmen 38-0 and improve to 7-0, remaining in the Campbell Conference driver’s seat. Falmouth fell for the third time in four games and sits at 4-3, needing wins in its final two games to secure the fourth and final playoff slot.
With a steady drizzle falling the entire game, temperatures dipping into the low 40s and a wind that ranged between aggravating and bone-chilling, it was not a good night for throwing the ball, as evidenced by the six passes the teams combined to complete in more than 30 attempts. The difference was Mountain Valley was able to chew up hunks of yardage rushing the ball — 334 yards on 54 carries — while the Yachtsmen were not. They mustered only 25 yards on their 24 attempts, with nine of those plays going for a loss. Three of those plays were fumbles, one of them a turnover. Falmouth also lost two fumbles on kickoff returns.
The Falmouth aerial attack wasn’t much more productive. Yachtsmen senior quarterback Zach Alexander was 4-of-20 passing for 46 yards with two interceptions. Junior Matt Kingry also threw a pass on a pitch-back that fell incomplete. Falcons senior quarterback Cam Kaubris struggled throwing as well, connecting on just a pair of his 10 attempts for 67 yards with one interception.
“Mountain Valley played a stronger, better game and they deserved to win,” said Falmouth coach John Fitzsimmons. “The bad conditions are tough on a team that is more balanced like we are — we need to run and pass. The inclement weather presented quite a challenge, especially in the fourth quarter when we were going into the wind and rain.
“You can’t take it away from Mountain Valley. They come every game and play hard. We’ll go back and look at the turnovers. The fumbles, a couple interceptions. We were playing them really well defensively, then letting them right back in the game. You leave your defense on the field that long and it’s tough. We weren’t moving the ball offensively.”
The Falmouth defense rose to the challenge early on after the Yachtsmen fumbled away the opening kickoff, giving Mountain Valley the ball on the Falmouth 23. But three short runs and an incompletion later, and the Falcons turned it over on downs. The Yachtsmen couldn’t get anything going on their first drive, and punted after three plays.
Taking over on their own 41, the Falcons got a first down after a pair of carries by junior Izaak Mills. A false start infraction pushed them back five yards, then two Kaubris keepers and a carry by senior halfback Taylor Bradley (who took direct snaps in the shotgun multiple times throughout the night) set up fourth-and-2 at the Falmouth 37. Mills got the call, and ran into a pack of Falmouth defenders. Before he went to the ground, the ball squirted out — straight to senior fullback Joshua Allen, who scampered 37 yards for the touchdown, his first of four.
Onlookers questioned whether Mills fumbled, or pitched the ball to Allen on a designed play. After the game, Mountain Valley coach Jim Aylward cleared up any confusion: “That was called, ‘Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.’ But it was the spark we needed. We had been struggling offensively. We’re trying different stuff, different combinations of kids on the line. It’s a nice break to get early in a big game, I’ll be honest. He fumbled. It came flying out. We do a lot of misdirection (plays), but that wasn’t one.”
“When you’re playing a team with such great tradition as Mountain Valley, you just don’t need anything to go wrong, and to their credit, they got that bounce and kept going,” Fitzsimmons said.
After the touchdown, Bradley rushed in for the conversion and the Falcons led 8-0 with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
Falmouth went three-and-out on its next two drives, forcing the Falcons to do the same in between. Mountain Valley took over again to start the second quarter and embarked on an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive that Allen capped with a 5-yard TD run. Kaubris found senior John Durland on the conversion pass to give the Falcons a 16-0 edge with 7:53 left in the first half.
Alexander’s 11-yard gain on a keeper finally gave the Yachtsmen a first down, but four plays later, senior David Goodrich was again forced to punt, pinning the Falcons in deep at their own 10. A couple big runs by Bradley and a 45-yard completion from Kaubris to senior Benjamin Higley got the Falcons down to the Falmouth 20, but Allen fumbled and the Yachtsmen pounced on it.
The teams traded punts, with Falmouth taking over at its own 11 with less than two minutes left in the half. Unable to move the ball and the perpetrators of a delay of game penalty, the Yachtsmen soon faced fourth-and-15 from their own 5. A high snap gave Durland enough time to block the punt, sending it out of the back of the end zone for a safety and giving the Falcons an 18-0 lead entering halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, Allen broke a 43-yard scoring run, busting through the middle, they rambling down the left side. The conversion failed and it was 24-0 with 10:57 left in the game. Allen finished with 138 yards on 17 carries.
“He’s not the typical guy you hand the ball off to in high school,” Aylward said. “He’s a big, slow, heavy-footed kid, but, jeez, he’s tough.”
Allen’s power was complimented nicely by the swifter Bradley, who totaled 146 yards on his 20 carries.
Falmouth junior Aaron Rogers picked off a pass from Kaubris with 8:21 left, but four plays later, Kaubris returned the favor, snatching a pass Alexander had intended for junior Jack Cooleen, Falmouth’s standout receiver. Kaubris blanketed Cooleen throughout the game, sometimes getting help from Allen to bump him as he came off the line. Cooleen was held without a reception.
“I thought Cam did a great job,” Aylward said. “We came in with two things: You’ve got to stop Cooleen and you’ve got to stop (Alexander) from taking off out of the pocket.”
“I thought they did a very good job of staying on Cooleen,” Fitzsimmons said. “He’s a very good player, and they showed him respect by double-teaming him. But that doesn’t shut us down. We weren’t executing. The run plays weren’t getting what we needed and the passing wasn’t as strong as we wished.”
Allen added his final touchdown on a 2-yard run with 4:29 left and sophomore Jacob Theriault ran in the conversion to make it 32-0.
Mountain Valley’s final TD came on a 60-yard interception return by Kaubris with 3:04 left.
“You pick yourself up and get ready for the next one, next week against Poland,” Fitzsimmons said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs. So that means we’re going to have to win the next two.”
Falmouth hosts Poland on Friday, then visits Greely for the season finale, which could be a de facto play-in game for the playoffs, as Mountain Valley, Wells and Cape Elizabeth — not necessarily in that order — appear to have the top three spots in the four-team tournament pretty well locked up.
While Wells lost to Mountain Valley in Rumford 13-6 in Week 3, Fitzsimmons thinks the Warriors could be the team to beat this year, which would signal a changing of the guard in Western Maine Class B. For the last four seasons, Mountain Valley and Cape Elizabeth have met in the title game, with the Falcons winning each time until last season.
“With the deepest respect for Mountain Valley, I think it’s Wells,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think Wells has an awful lot to offer with a balance of running and passing, and (Paul) McDonough at quarterback. He’s a constant threat. But Mountain Valley plays with such heart and tradition, you know it will be down to the wire.”
Falmouth senior linebacker Storm McGovern wraps up Mountain Valley senior quarterback Cam Kaubris.
Falmouth sophomore Will Sipperly (10), junior Aaron Rogers (15) and senior Zach Alexander all converge to bring down Mountain Valley senior Taylor Bradley.
Falmouth junior receiver Matt Kingry and Mountain Valley senior Nicholas Sterling both leap to try to catch a pass.
Falmouth sophomore Will Sipperly tries to evade the tackle of Mountain Valley senior Cam Kaubris.
Falmouth senior quarterback Zach Alexander leaves a pile of Mountain Valley defenders in his wake as he scrambles for yards.
Falmouth senior David Goodrich narrowly gets a punt off past Mountain Valley senior Benjamin Higley. The Falcons did manage to block a punt in the first half for a safety en route to their 38-0 win.
More photos below.
MV- 8 10 0 20- 38
F- 0 0 0 0- 0
MV – Allen 37 run (Bradley rush)
MV – Allen 5 run (Durland pass from Kaubris)
MV – Safety (Durland blocked punt out of end zone)
MV – Allen 43 run (conversion failed)
MV – Allen 2 run (Theriault rush)
MV – Kaubris 60 interception return (kick failed)