Another memorable football weekend is in the books.
Friday night, Falmouth hosted perennial power Mountain Valley and lost its third game in four outings, 38-0.
Saturday’s story was much rosier as Freeport rallied for a heartstopping 26-24 win over Boothbay, Greely held off defending regional Cape Elizabeth, 21-14, in a two-overtime jawdropper and Yarmouth stayed perfect by pummeling host Madison, 67-0.
Entering the 2010 football season, nowhere outside of a certain locker room in Cumberland did anyone predict big things for the Greely Rangers. Now, it’s starting to look like the Rangers will not only crash the playoff party next month, but they might just be in the thick of the title chase.
Greely hosted defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth, a team that routed the visiting Rangers, 41-7, a year ago. After three-plus quarters of virtually no action (84 combined yards), the teams put on a show.
The Rangers finally broke the ice with exactly eight minutes to play when sophomore Svenn Jacobson (19 carries, 60 yards, TDs) scored on a 4-yard TD run, but with 53 seconds left, the Capers tied the score, when junior quarterback Derek Roberts barreled in from 2-yards out.
In overtime, Greely went ahead on a 10-yard Jacobson run, but again, the visitors pulled even, this time on a 1-yard score on fourth down from senior Jack McDonald.
Finally, in the second extra session, sophomore Nick Maynard stepped into the hero’s role, catching the go-ahead touchdown pass from first-time starting quarterback sophomore Andrew Hodge, then ending the game with an interception as the Rangers improved to 5-2 on the year with a 21-14 victory, one of the biggest in program history, which dropped Cape Elizabeth to 5-2 in the process.
“It was kind of a broken play,” said Maynard, of his go-ahead TD. “It wasn’t even supposed to go to me, but (Andrew) saw me at the last second and I was open and he threw it in a perfect place. I knew I was in.
“(On the interception), the middle linebacker let his man go and I was staying in the zone. I saw the ball coming in and just snagged it and ended the game. It feels awesome. There was so much pressure, but our whole team stepped up. It’s a great win. Overwhelming. With all the seniors, we got together and realized we had to step up and win. It’s one of the biggest wins we’ve had in awhile.”
“We’re not a very good kicking team, so we went for it,” Greely coach David Higgins said.. “Our third-team quarterback stood up great. Nick was absolutely awesome. It was a great catch.”
Greely mustered only 100 yards of offense, turned the ball over three times, fumbled on several other occasions and was penalized six times for 46 yards, but somehow found a way.
“It was a great game,” Higgins said. “This is really huge. I can’t say enough about how big this is. It’s just a great experience. We’re very fortunate.”
The Rangers can’t rest on their impressive laurels. After going to 1-6 Fryeburg Saturday, they host Falmouth in the “Battle of Route 9” in the finale.
“We thought we’d be good enough to make the playoffs,” Higgins said. “That was our goal. We really believe in ourselves. We do have some business to take care of, but we’re very excited.”
For good reason.
Falmouth, on the other hand, is struggling.
The Yachtsmen won their first three contests, but couldn’t hold a second half lead at Cape Elizabeth, then lost decisively at home to Wells. After bouncing back with a 47-0 win at Gray-New Gloucester, Falmouth hosted undefeated, perennial Class B power Mountain Valley.
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 Falcons went ahead, 8-0, after one period, 18-0, at halftime, then tacked on 20 points in the fourth quarter to cruise, 38-0, dropping the Yachtsmen to 4-3 on the season.
“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.”
Falmouth hosts 1-6 Poland Friday, then visits Greely for the season finale, which could be a de facto play-in game for the playoffs.
Season of firsts
Freeport struggled to compete in its initial varsity season a year ago, winning just once, over fellow first-year program Sacopee. The 2010 campaign has been something else entirely as the Falcons have been competitive throughout.
Entering Saturday’s Homecoming Game versus Boothbay, Freeport had two wins to its credit (including a first over an established program, Old Orchard Beach). The Falcons would add another feather to their cap, but it wasn’t easy.
A year ago, Freeport lost, 70-40, at Boothbay. This time around, the Falcons led 6-0 after one period on a long TD pass from sophomore James Purdy to senior Jake Deppmeyer. The Seahawks rallied to lead 16-6 at halftime and 24-12 after three periods (sophomore Cory Aldecoa’s TD run kept the hosts close), but Freeport responded in the final period, getting a TD run from Aldecoa, then tying the score in scintillating fashion on a 92-yard Purdy-to-Deppmeyer TD pass with 40 seconds to go, followed by a two-point conversion pass from junior Jared Knighton to Deppmeyer, as the Falcons eked out a 26-24 triumph.
“(Boothbay) really dominated the game,” said Freeport coach Rob Grover. “We stole one. We had a couple taken away from us before. We had a hard time moving the ball. Only 39 rushing yards, but the kids hung tough and never quit.
“We’re still very young, but we’re making strides and learning a lot. The kids work hard in every practice and game.”
The Falcons (3-4) could make the playoffs if they win their finale Friday, but that’s an incredibly daunting task as they go to 7-0 Yarmouth.
The Clippers made it seven straight Saturday night in Madison by scoring in the 60s for the fourth time this fall and the second straight week. TD runs from seniors Nick Proscia and Nate Pingitore gave the visitors a 13-0 lead after one period. Junior Anders Overhaug (7 carries, 118 yards) and freshman quarterback Brady Neujahr had TD runs for a 27-0 advantage at halftime. Pingitore returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a score, sparking a 26-point third quarter (Overhaug and senior Billy Clabby ran for scores and Neujahr (6-of-8 for 75 yards) hooked up with junior Carter Dorsett through the air). Junior Eric Deerwester and freshman Matt Klepinger had fourth quarter TDs to account for the 67-0 final score.
“Madison was much better than I thought, but they don’t have our speed,” said Yarmouth coach Jim Hartman. “Our kids played really hard. I’m very pleased with our defensive effort. We held them to just 50 yards, six rushing. Brady did a tremendous job. His two misses were drops. He’s certainly come a long way throwing the ball. Anders had another good night. (Junior) Ben Weirich did a great job on defense. (Junior) Dennis Erving is our most improved player. He had an interception and a good punt return.”
Yarmouth is hoping to earn the top seed in Western C for the playoffs and should finish no lower than second. Last year, in the regular season finale, the Clippers handled Freeport, 56-6.
“Yarmouth’s the fastest team I’ve ever seen,” Grover said. “Offensively, they execute well. They’re the team to beat, in my opinion.”
“Rob’s done a fantastic job at Freeport,” Hartman said. “He’s really molded that offense. They’ll be tough. The Freeport kids always come to play.”
Freelance writer Tom Minervino contributed to this story.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Falmouth senior linebacker Storm McGovern wraps up Mountain Valley senior quarterback Cam Kaubris Friday night. The Yachtsmen fell to 4-3 after a 38-0 home loss to the Falcons.
Greely sophomore Svenn Jacobson picks up some tough yards Saturday. Jacobson rushed for two scores and helped the Rangers upset defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth, 21-14, in two overtimes.