Freeport clinches first playoff spot in wild football weekend

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Rain and the threat of thunder and lightning made life difficult for local football teams last weekend, moving three games from Friday night to Saturday.

On the field, results were mixed, but the best news came from Boothbay, where Freeport, a third-year varsity program, earned its first ever playoff berth.

The Falcons, who had scored just seven points in their past two games, knew they needed to win Saturday with the specter of going to undefeated, defending Class C state champion Yarmouth in the finale.

Freeport rose to the occasion. Trailing 7-6 at halftime, the Falcons scored 12 unanswered points and improved to 5-2 with an 18-7 victory. Junior quarterback James Purdy scored on a 26-yard TD run late in the first half to get Freeport on the board. Senior Luke Lamagna then put the Falcons on top with a 42-yard run in the third period. He added a 22-yard TD scamper in the final stanza to account for the final score.

“We’re really excited,” said Falcons coach Rob Grover. “There were a lot of smiles. The kids played hard and they had to because Boothbay wasn’t an easy opponent. It was a very good game for the defense. (Junior Dan) Burke had nine tackles. (Senior Scott) Collins had 10 tackles and a sack.”

Freeport (sixth in the Western C Crabtree Points standings) hosts Yarmouth for the first time Saturday afternoon. If the Falcons could spring an upset, they’d be in line for a home playoff game.

“We’re proud of what we’ve done so far,” Grover said. “We finally get Yarmouth at home. We’re looking forward to it and hopefully, we can give them a good game. Offensively, we need to eat the clock and defensively, we have to contain their outside game, watch their counter plays and force them to pass.”

The Clippers were one of the very few teams statewide who played Friday and they had no trouble with visiting first-year Telstar, 47-6. Two touchdown runs from junior Caleb Uhl and another from sophomore Matt Woodbury made it 20-6 after one period. Scoring runs from sophomore quarterback Brady Neujahr, senior Dennis Erving and senior Bart Gallagher made it 41-6 at the half. Woodbury scored once more in the second half and Yarmouth improved to 7-0 with its 19th successive win.

The Clippers don’t have the top spot locked up. They need to close with a win Saturday (kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.). Last year, Yarmouth beat visiting Freeport, 57-0.

In Western B, both Falmouth and Greely went down to defeat Saturday.

The Yachtsmen went to new-to-Class B Westbrook and engaged in a down-to-the-wire affair. A 25-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Matt Kingry to classmate Ryan MacDonald gave Falmouth a 7-0 lead after one period. The Blue Blazes took an 8-7 lead at halftime, but a 10-yard TD run from Kingry (10 carries, 64 yards and a TD) made it 12-7 midway through the third quarter. After Westbrook regained the lead, 14-12, Kingry hit senior Jack Cooleen from 28-yards out to make it 18-14. The Blue Blazes then scored two rushing TDs in just over two minutes to seemingly put it away, 28-18. With 5:53 left, Kingry (4-of-11, 157 yards, 3 TDs and an interception) and Cooleen (2 catches, 90 yards, 2 TDs) hooked up on a 62-yard passing score, but the Yachtsmen could get no closer and lost, 28-25, falling to 5-2 in the process.

The Rangers, winners of five straight, met their match at defending Class B champion Mountain Valley. The Falcons scored on an 89-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, but Greely rallied to tie when senior Mike Leeman took a pass from junior quarterback Drew Hodge and raced 53 yards to paydirt. The rest of the game was all Mountain Valley. By halftime, the Falcons were up 21-7. Two more second half TDs ended the game, 35-7, as the Rangers fell to 5-2.

Friday night, in a game rife with playoff implications, Greely (fourth in the Western B Crabtrees) goes to Falmouth (which is fifth). The winner will likely get a home playoff game. A year ago, the Yachtsmen came to Cumberland and rallied late for a 15-14 victory which forced a three-way tie for the final postseason berth. A coin toss followed and the Rangers were the odd team out. This time around, Greely will qualify, but it would love nothing more than a win to avenge last year’s heartbreak.

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

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