The very successful seasons of the Falmouth and Yarmouth football teams came to a close Friday evening on the road.
The Yachtsmen, the No. 3 seed in Western Class B after a 7-1 regular season, had no trouble with sixth-ranked Morse in the quarterfinals (48-6), the program’s first playoff victory, but Friday, at No. 2 York, Falmouth’s run came to an end with a 34-19 setback in the semifinals.
Not that the Yachtsmen didn’t play well.
They took a 7-0 lead on Connor Aube’s first quarter 9-yard TD run. After the Wildcats tied things up, Aube broke free for a 41-yard score, but the extra point was no good and York added a touchdown and managed to take a 14-13 advantage to the break.
Early in the second half, Aube (173 yards on 23 carries) scored his third TD, from the 3, but that would be Falmouth’s highwater mark. The Wildcats retook the lead, 20-19, later in the third period and they tacked on two fourth quarter scores to end the Yachtsmen’s season at 8-2.
“It was a terrific high school football game,” said Falmouth coach John Fitzsimmons. “We gave up three leads, but I was really pleased with the performance of our players. The offensive line created big holes. On defense, we shut their running game down completely. The problem was, we let the quarterback get around the edge and he gained a significant amount of yardage. The quality of play and fire in our boys couldn’t have been better. I couldn’t be prouder of any team I’ve coached.”
The Yachtsmen lose quarterback extraordinaire Noah Nelson and other key contributors, but they’ll be starting from a position of strength in 2015 and should be in the hunt for a title.
“We’re excited for next year,” Fitzsimmons said. “We feel good we’ll be a contender again. We return a lot of very good players, a very strong line and running backs, some who will be playing their 4th year of varsity ball. We’ll have some challenges, but any coach in the league would be thrilled to have the talent back that we have. Our goal is not just to win the first round of the playoffs, but to go all the way to the Gold Ball.”
Yarmouth, meanwhile, the No. 5 seed in Western C, was coming off a 14-12 win at fourth-ranked Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals, but had to go to top-ranked Leavitt for the semifinals Friday. The Clippers played the host Hornets tough in the regular season, falling, 20-12, but this time around, Leavitt rolled, 30-6.
The Hornets took a 16-0 lead after one period, stretched that to 24-0 at halftime and 30-0 after three periods. Yarmouth got on the board with a John Thoma to Jack Snyder TD pass in the fourth, but that was all the Clippers could muster and their season ended at 6-4.
“Friday night was just not our night,” said first-year Yarmouth coach Jason Veilleux. “We were mentally prepared for their passing attack and had the right defensive plan in place, but in the end I think our lack of depth hurt us. We simply were not able to replicate the Leavitt passing attack in practice with our low numbers and younger players. Practice speed and game speed are two very different things, which we learned the hard way. You have to give Leavitt credit though, they have a very impressive passing attack that will probably help them win another state championship this year. They also play tough defense which caused us to struggle executing our offense. Our kids never quit and continued to fight right to the final whistle, which is what I love about them. I’m very proud of the dedication and effort our players and coaches put into this season.
“We had a good year. We went further than anyone thought we would with a young team and a first year coach, so I’m pleased with the progress the team made this season. We laid the foundation for 2015. We installed a new offensive system that the boys are really starting to understand and enjoy. We added a lot of new looks on defense, which allows us to make changes more easily in games to better defend our opponents. We also started an in-season weight training program which really made a difference in keeping our players stronger and less prone to injuries. So overall, we really have made a lot of progress as a program this season. The boys now believe that they can compete with the top teams in our conference. I’m hoping that next year we will play with a little more confidence against those better teams right from the start of the game.
“The 2015 season can’t get here soon enough. I’ve already begun planning for 2015. We will have 20 starters returning with a good number of eighth graders coming up, so I’m very excited. We will have all of our skill positions back on both sides of the ball, but we need to replace our two seniors, Ned Pennoyer and Caleb Moore who did a great job for us this year. I’m confident we will be a much stronger team. Our goal for next year will be getting back to states. We will have to wait and see what happens with our conference though, there could be some changes coming which could affect us, so for now all we can do is wait and begin planning.”
Yarmouth’s Jack Snyder defends a pass during the Clippers’ 30-6 loss at Leavitt in Friday’s Western Class C semifinal.