(Ed. Note: For the complete Freeport-Gray-New Gloucester game story, with a box score and additional photos, see theforecaster.net)
The gridiron news was good for local teams presuming they played at home last weekend.
Freeport continued its resurgence with a 27-0 win over Gray-New Gloucester to improve to 2-1.
Greely got in the win column and is now 1-2 after downing Noble, 26-0.
Defending Class C South champion Yarmouth made it three straight victories this fall with a 45-18 victory over Poland.
Only Falmouth fell short, as the Yachtsmen dropped to 2-1 after a frustrating 17-14 loss at Biddeford.
One year after failing to win a single game, Freeport came into the 2016 campaign full of optimism and through three games this fall, the Falcons’ have proved to be very competitive.
Freeport downed Poland in its opener, 22-8, then lost at powerhouse Wells, 53-0. Saturday afternoon, in their Homecoming Game at Pownal Road Recreational Field, the Falcons got back in the win column.
Late in the first half, after Connor Dostie blocked a Patriots’ punt, the Falcons got the only score they would need when quarterback Josh Burke scored on a 4-yard rush with 1:57 to go.
While the game appeared in doubt at halftime, Freeport promptly put it away in the third quarter. After Gray-New Gloucester fumbled the ball away on the first snap of the second half, the Falcons drove a short field for another score, this one a Burke TD run from 3-yards out. After Freeport appeared to shoot itself in the foot on its next possession by fumbling at the Patriots’ 1, the Falcons’ defense came up huge, as Dostie, who committed the fumble, pounced on a loose ball in the end zone to give Freeport a 21-0 lead.
“I think our defense is our biggest improvement this year,” said Burke. “I thought we’d get a safety, but I wrong, we got a touchdown.”
“That play was huge,” Freeport coach Paul St. Pierre said. “Our attitude is reflected by our leadership. They have an ‘I don’t quit attitude.’ They treat every play like their last. If something bad happens, get them back the next play.”
The Falcons’ defense was terrific throughout and never allowed Gray-New Gloucester to generate any hopes of a rally and with 3:42 to play, Burke and T.J. Morrill combined for a 39-yard touchdown pass and Freeport went on to an emphatic 27-0 victory.
“It’s magical right now,” said Burke, who rushed for two TDs and threw for another. “We can go to Homecoming happy. This is so much more fun this year. “I’m just having a blast playing, being on the field. It definitely beats losing, I’ll tell you that.”
“We haven’t turned the corner, but we’re heading for it,” St. Pierre said. “The scores are reflecting our improvement, but more importantly, the quality of play we’re getting is showing the work. We’re not a one-trick pony. We’re a team by committee. If everyone pulls their weight, we’ll be alright. All the kids have a positive attitude and want to come to practice. They don’t have the fear of getting their butts kicked on Saturday. They know now, no matter who we face, we’ll give our best.”
The Falcons held the Patriots to a mere 44 yards and forced three turnovers.
Freeport will be a road underdog the next two weeks, at Cape Elizabeth (who won last year’s meeting, 56-13) and Fryeburg Academy.
“Last year at this time, we were 0-3, but now, we’re 2-1,” Burke said. “Not too many people thought it could happen, but it’s all about heart and determination and that’s what we’ve got.”
“Darn right we talk about playoffs,” St. Pierre said. “We have a goal to get there. We know we won’t contend for a state championship, but we want to get in, by whatever route we can make it.”
Defending Class C South champion Yarmouth won its first two games away from home: 45-13 at Lake Region and 27-25 at Mountain Valley. The Clippers rolled in their home opener Friday, leading Poland from start to finish.
The Clippers got touchdown runs from Noah Eckersley-Ray and Remi Leblanc to lead 14-0 after one period. By halftime, the score was 35-6, thanks to a TD pass from John Thoma to Jack True and scoring runs from Leblanc and Ben Gleason. Leblanc added a touchdown run in the third period and Michael Hagerty, who had five extra points, kicked a field goal to account for the 45-18 final score.
Yarmouth hosts 1-2 Fryeburg Academy Friday as the regular season reaches the midway point. Last year, the Clippers won at Fryeburg, 48-12.
Greely, which also started slowly a year ago before making a spirited run to the Class B South semifinals, dropped its first two games in 2016: 12-0 to visiting Kennebunk and 48-6 at two-time defending state champion Marshwood. The Rangers righted their ship Friday against a Noble squad they lost to, 33-13, last year in North Berwick, winning by a 26-0 margin.
Greely got the only points it needed in the first quarter, when Nolan Anderson scored on a 2-yard run and Nick Gauvin added the two-point conversion. Joey Casella added a 5-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 advantage after one period. Gauvin added a 1-yard run and Gauvin hit Shawn DeWolfe from 20 yards out in the second quarter and the Rangers went on to the 26-0 victory.
Greely hopes to even its record at 2-2 Friday when it goes to 0-3 Gorham. Last year, the Rangers beat the visiting Rams, 41-8.
Falmouth cruised in its first two games this fall, winning a shootout at York (56-30) and handling visiting Westbrook, 37-13, but Friday, at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford, the Yachtsmen suffered their first setback.
The Tigers scored first, but late in the first period, Falmouth drew even at 7-7 on a long touchdown pass from Jack Bryant to Brady Douglas. Biddeford then grabbed a 17-7 lead at halftime. In the fourth quarter, Bryant made things interesting with a touchdown run, but the Yachtsmen lost, 17-14.
Bryant was intercepted four times and Falmouth couldn’t score late in the game despite having the ball inside the Tigers’ 10. A Biddeford fake punt also helped send the Yachtsmen to defeat.
Falmouth plays host to 2-1 Mt. Ararat Friday. Last year, the Yachtsmen beat the host Eagles, 26-7.
Freeport’s Will Gormley falls on a fumble during the Falcons’ 27-0 home win over Gray-New Gloucester Saturday.
Freeport’s T.J. Morrill, right, is congratulated by Max Doughty after scoring the final touchdown of the Falcons’ 27-0 win over Gray-New Gloucester Saturday afternoon.