Falmouth junior quarterback Jack Bryant is pressured by Marshwood senior Matt Cooper during Friday night’s contest. The two-time defending Class B champion Hawks beat the Yachtsmen in a regional final rematch, 33-8.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
M- 7 6 14 6- 33
F- 0 0 0 8- 8
M- Horton 1 run (Lindsay kick)
M- McDaniel 13 run (pass failed)
M- Horton 3 run (Lindsay kick)
M- Glidden 2 run (Lindsay kick)
F- Bryant 1 run (Martin rush)
M- Cartmill 50 interception return (rush failed)
FALMOUTH—There’s something about a trip to Falmouth that brings out the best in Marshwood’s football team.
Last November, the Hawks rolled to a 26-point victory at Falmouth in the Class B South Final en route to a repeat state title and Friday evening, they finally put it all together and reminded everyone that with the playoffs right around the corner that the road to the title still goes through them.
Marshwood made a statement in the first quarter, chewing up nearly six minutes in a 12-play drive which culminated with a 1-yard dive by junior Max Horton, putting the visitors ahead to stay, 7-0.
The Yachtsmen drove up and down the field in the second period, but couldn’t finish and after Falmouth junior quarterback Jack Bryant was intercepted by Hawks junior Sam Cartmill, a 13-yard TD scamper from senior quarterback Cole McDaniel made it 13-0.
Falmouth’s frustrating first half was fittingly capped by a field goal attempt which hit the crossbar at the horn, but the hosts were still very much in the game when the third quarter began.
Comeback hopes were quickly dashed, however, as Cartmill’s second interception was followed by a 74 yard burst from junior Kyle Glidden and one play later, a 3-yard touchdown run from Horton, which extended the lead to 20-0.
Later in the third, Marshwood drove 75 yards in 12 plays and over six minutes and scored again on a 2-yard Glidden rush for a commanding 27-0 advantage.
The Yachtsmen didn’t quit and early in the fourth period, got on the board on a 1-yard Bryant run and a two-point conversion rush from senior Brandon Martin, but after Falmouth got the ball back with the opportunity to rally, Cartmill intercepted yet another throw and this time took it 50 yards to the house for a clinching score and Marshwood went on to a 33-8 victory.
The Hawks got their first signature victory of the 2016 season, improved to 4-3 and dropped Falmouth to 5-2, handing the Yachtsmen their first regular home setback since 2013 in the process.
“It’s not what we wanted, but it’s a tremendous wakeup call,” said Falmouth coach John Fitzsimmons. “They just gave us a wonderful lesson tonight. I felt we’d wind up 7-1, but they just rolled us.”
Falmouth and Marshwood are both part of a deep, talented and balanced Class B South.
The Yachtsmen opened with a 56-30 shootout win at York, then beat visiting Westbrook, 37-13. A 17-14 loss at Biddeford followed, but Falmouth bounced back and downed visiting Mt. Ararat (22-6), rallied to win at Leavitt (38-27) and last week, prevailed at Morse, 25-8.
Marshwood was hard-hit by graduation after going back-to-back and has proved more mortal in 2016. After a 20-13 loss at Biddeford in the opener, the Hawks handled visiting Greely, 48-6. A 34-7 setback at Westbrook followed, but Marshwood defeated visiting Leavitt, 31-6, then blanked host Gorham, 42-0. Last week, however, the Hawks lost at home to undefeated Kennebunk, 27-22.
Entering play Friday, Marshwood held a 3-2 edge in the all-time series (see sidebar, below), including wins in both previous playoff encounters. Falmouth, of course, won an epic regular season decision at Marshwood last fall, rallying to force overtime before prevailing, 22-20.
This time around, only 48 minutes were needed as the Hawks put together a dominant and opportunistic performance.
Marshwood set the tone by selecting to receive after winning the opening coin toss and while the first drive didn’t result in points, the Hawks made their presence felt.
Starting at its 24, Marshwood moved the chains as McDaniel hit Glidden for seven yards on first down and after junior Joe Taran ran for two yards, Horton broke free for 11 and a first down. Glidden gained two yards and McDaniel’s keeper to the right resulted in a nine yard gain and a first down, even if the quarterback did bobble the ball before fumbling it out of bounds. A false start backed the Hawks up five yards and an incomplete pass was followed by a six yard pass from McDaniel to Horton, but on the next play, McDaniel’s pass was intercepted by Martin and Martin returned the ball to the Falmouth 45.
The Yachtsmen weren’t able to take advantage, however, although they did initially move the ball.
After Martin ran three times for eight yards, Bryant moved the chains with a four yard pickup. After an incomplete pass, Bryant ran for four yards, then threw incomplete, forcing a punt. Falmouth then botched the play, as the snap to junior punter Griffin Aube was low and Aube was brought down for a loss.
Despite a personal foul penalty, Marshwood took over at its 40 with 5:47 remaining in the opening quarter and 12 plays and 5:34 later, had the lead for good.
After Horton was held to no gain, McDaniel kept the ball, rolled left and picked up 18 yards to the Yachtsmen’s 42. Griffin Aube then sacked McDaniel for a 12 yard loss, but on the next play, McDaniel and junior Jayke Longarini hooked up for 16 yards. A bad pitch which was recovered by the Hawks lost four yards and set up fourth-and-10 from the Falmouth 42, but just when it appeared the Yachtsmen’s defense would get off the field when an ensuing pass fell incomplete, a pass interference penalty was called, giving Marshwood a fresh set of downs at the 27.
After Glidden gained eight yards on a screen and Horton ran for no gain, on third down, McDaniel again kept the ball and rolled left for 15 yards, setting up first-and-goal from the 4. Horton ran for three yards to the one, but on second down, he was stymied short of the goal line. The next try was the charm, however, and Horton’s 1-yard score with 13.1 seconds to go in the first period broke the ice.
Sophomore placekicker Jake Lindsay added the extra point for a 7-0 Hawks’ lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the ball went over Falmouth’s deep man and was picked up by sophomore Riley Reed, who only managed to get out to the 10.
On the final play of the first quarter, junior Garret Aube was held for no gain and Marshwood had a 92-0 advantage in yardage in the first 12 minutes.
The Yachtsmen’s offense would rack up big yards in the second quarter, but couldn’t score.
On the first play of the new stanza, Garret Aube broke free for 20 yards and a first down at the 30. After a false start penalty backed the hosts up five yards, Bryant hit freshman Brady Douglas for eight yards, then the quarterback scrambled for 14 and a first down at the 47. After Bryant hit sophomore Jack Kidder for 14 yards, then found Kidder for nine more to the Hawks’ 30, Bryant kept the ball for three yards and a first down, but consecutive incomplete passes were followed by back-to-back false start penalties, setting up third-and-20 from the 37. Bryant then showed his patience and touch, waiting for junior Emilio Micucci to get open before connecting with him for 25 yards and a first down at the 12. Falmouth wasn’t able to finish, however, as after Bryant ran twice for six yards, a sure touchdown pass was dropped by a back and on fourth down, Bryant was pressured by Horton and threw incomplete, giving Marshwood the ball back on downs at its 6.
The Hawks were able to flip the field by gaining a pair of first downs.
First, Glidden ran for nine yards and McDaniel kept the ball for two more to move the chains. After Glidden ran for 12 more and a first down at the 29, the Yachtsmen’s defense bore down, allowing Glidden two yards, Horton seven and on third-and-1, stuffing Horton for no gain, forcing a punt.
With 4:51 to go in the half, Falmouth started at its 24 and quickly drove into Marshwood territory, only to be flummoxed again.
A 14 yard run by Martin got things started and after Bryant found senior Brock Welch for eight yards, he hit Welch again for five and a first down at midfield. The drive stalled there, however, as Bryant’s pass to senior Will Blum was just a little bit long and Blum deflected the ball to Cartmill, who returned the interception 10 yards to midfield, setting his team up for another score.
With 3:17 remaining before halftime, Marshwood took over at midfield and Glidden immediately rumbled for 18 yards. After McDaniel was held to no gain, Glidden broke a pair of tackles en route to a seven yard pickup and after Glidden was held to no gain, on fourth-and-3, McDaniel kept the ball, ran left and gained five yards to the 20 to move the chains. A seven yard pickup by Glidden was followed by a Hawks’ timeout and on the next snap, McDaniel kept the ball again and this time, ran to his right, broke through the line and didn’t stop until he crossed the goal line 13 yards away with 1:07 left in the half.
McDaniel was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for “dabbing” and Marshwood’s two-point conversion attempt was backed up as a result. McDaniel passed the ball to Horton, but he was stopped short of the goal line, keeping the score 13-0.
The hosts then raced down the field, looking to regain a little momentum before the break.
Starting at its 35, Falmouth got a six yard pass from Bryant to Welch, then a pretty 21 yard connection from Bryant to senior Max Fortier, who made a fingertip catch on the right sideline. After an incomplete pass, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Hawks put the ball at the 23. Bryant threw incomplete, then found Welch for 14 yards, setting up first-and-goal at the 9, but the clock was stopped with 0.1 seconds showing, forcing the Yachtsmen to try a field goal on the final play.
Junior John Walker tried a 25-yarder out of a timeout, but his kick was low and it bounced directly off the crossbar and back on to the field, leaving Marshwood ahead, 13-0, at halftime.
“There’s an emotional turning point at this level and that was a backbreaker,” Fitzsimmons lamented. “That would have been a nice morale lift.”
In the first half, the Hawks had a mere 174-166 edge in yardage, but enjoyed a 13-point lead.
Not much improved for Falmouth in the second half.
The Yachtsmen started at their 34 and got a first down as Bryant ran for five yards, then hit Garret Aube for 21, but on his next throw, Bryant was intercepted again by Cartmill at the Hawks’ 23.
Two plays later, Marshwood added to its lead.
Glidden got the call on the first play and he broke through a hole on the right side and broke free and wasn’t brought down until he reached the Falmouth 3 after a gain of 74. Horton then finished off the drive with a 3-yard burst with 9:40 to go in the period. Lindsay’s PAT extended the advantage to 20-0.
The Yachtsmen got the ball back, but after a three yard run from Garret Aube and an incomplete pass, Bryant was sacked by senior Loukas Coussoule, necessitating a punt.
Marshwood got the ball back at its 25 and started a long drive, which would eventually chew up 6:06 and a dozen plays before ending in the end zone.
Glidden ran for 25 yards and a first down and after a two yard run from freshman Justin Bryant picked up two yards, McDaniel gained 10 more for a first down at Falmouth’s 38. Horton ran for five and two yards and Glidden gained just one, but on fourth-and-2, McDaniel’s keeper was good for two yards to move the chains. After Glidden ran for three yards, McDaniel picked up six and a personal foul penalty on Falmouth was tacked on, setting up first-and-goal from the 10. After Glidden ran for three yards and Taran picked up five, Glidden capped the march with a 2-yard run with 2:22 left in the third period. Lindsay added another extra point to extend the lead to 27-0.
The Yachtsmen would finally find paydirt on their next drive, an eight-play, 68-yard, 2:43 march, which chewed up the remainder of the third quarter and bled into the fourth.
A 12 yard pass from Bryant to Blum got things started. After Bryant scrambled for seven yards, he was sacked for a five yard loss by seniors Holden Jackman and Matt Cooper. Bryant then moved the chains with a 19 yard toss to Garret Aube. Bryant ran for nine yards and a personal foul penalty on the Hawks moved the ball to their 13. On the final play of the third, Bryant connected with Martin for five yards. To start the fourth, Bryant ran for seven yards to the 1 and with 11:33 to play, Bryant capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run. Martin ran in the two-point conversion and Falmouth had faint life, down, 27-8.
Marshwood then gave the Yachtsmen even more hope, as after Horton ran for 12 yards and a first down, a bad snap and two rushes for eight yards set up fourth down, where another bad snap led to a loss of downs, giving Falmouth the ball at its 44 with 8:27 left.
One play later, the game was effectively over.
Bryant dropped back and threw into the flat, where Cartmill was once again waiting. He snared the interception at midfield and this time, no one was in his way and Cartmill ran the ball back 50 yards for a backbreaking touchdown with 8:16 to play.
“They were running short routes and I was just playing man-to-man and I read the route and jumped it,” Cartmill said. “It felt good. We had to make good reads and just execute against him.”
“We still have some places to shore up in our execution, but I thought our defense did a great job against a very good offensive team,” Marshwood coach Alex Rotsko said. “Sam’s been steady for us all year at the strong safety position. He came up big today. He made great plays for us and had a big day. (Bryant’s) a good player, no question. He runs the offense and throws the ball well, but the picks tonight were big.”
McDaniel’s two-point conversion rush failed, but the Hawks were fully in control, up, 33-8.
The Yachtsmen began to move the ball again by virtue of a Marshwood facemask penalty, a 13 yard Bryant run and a 19 yard Bryant run, but a sack from Jackman led to a loss of downs.
The Hawks gave the ball right back on a fumbled exchange, as Falmouth senior Nico Ciraulo fell on the loose ball at the Marshwood 38, but after throwing incomplete, Bryant ran for five yards and threw incomplete again, then on fourth-and-5, Bryant’s three yard run wasn’t enough to move the chains.
With 4:41 remaining, the Hawks took over at their 30 and they proceeded to run out the clock, as Justin Bryant ran four times for 31 yards and Marshwood was able to take a knee to end it before celebrating its 33-8 triumph.
“We needed big plays and our offense stepped up and made plays,” Cartmill said. “It’s big for confidence. (Falmouth’s) a good team.”
“We lost our poise a little bit in the first half, but I thought we did a great job in the second half,” Rotsko said. “We played hard the entire game. It seems like we’ve played a little bit harder each week and we’re happy about that. We ran the ball hard and had a couple big plays, but for the most part, it was sustaining drives. We’re happy our offense is starting to come around. We came in 3-3, but the three teams we beat probably only won four or five games. To finally beat a team with a good record is huge for our confidence.”
The Hawks finished with 359 yards of offense. Glidden gained 168 yards and scored once on 15 carries. Horton had 12 carries, good for 42 yards and two scores. McDaniel produced 85 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and threw for 37 yards on 4-of-7 passing, which included an interception.
Marshwood overcame two turnovers and six penalties for 63 yards, thanks in part to Cartmill’s three interceptions and three sacks.
For Falmouth, which gained 302 yards, but only had eight points to show for it, thanks in large part to its three turnovers and seven penalties for 59 yards, Bryant completed 13 of 32 passes for 159 yards and three picks. He ran 15 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Welch had three catches for 19 yards, while Garret Aube had two receptions for 40 and Kidder caught two balls for 23.
“(Marshwood) looked at where they needed to attack, they did it and they beat us,” Fitzsimmons said. “As far as I’m concerned, the wheels came off with too many penalties and interceptions. You can’t do that, especially against a team that can run the ball and kill the clock. They’re a well coached team. They’re big and they did a lot of things right. We have eight seniors, four of them start, so we’re a young team and we made a lot of young mistakes that I hoped were behind us, but it showed.”
Marshwood (fourth in the Class B South Crabtree Points standings at press time) finishes at home versus 3-4 York Friday.
“We’ll take this into next week against York,” Cartmill said. “This shows Class B that Marshwood can still play.”
“We have York next week and that’s a big game for us,” Rotsko said. “If we can finish 5-3, I don’t know where that would put us, but we hope to have a home game and go from there.”
Falmouth (third in Class B South) will play host Friday to rival Greely (5-2), which has won five games in a row and upset the Yachtsmen a year ago in Cumberland.
Falmouth expects to produce a much stronger effort next week.
“The guys know what’s on the line,” Fitzsimmons said. “We just made it a little tougher for ourselves. Greely’s on a roll. They’ll come in here with a lot of confidence. The difference can be huge in where we end up in the seedings.”
Falmouth senior Max Fortier skies to make a catch in front of Marshwood junior Sam Cartmill. Cartmill had the last laugh, however, intercepting three passes and returning one for a touchdown.
Marshwood senior quarterback Cole McDaniel eludes Falmouth junior Garret Aube.
Falmouth senior Brock Welch tries to avoid the tackle of Marshwood junior Jayke Longarini.
Falmouth junior Griffin Aube draws a bead on Marshwood senior quarterback Cole McDaniel.
Falmouth junior quarterback Jack Bryant is corralled by Marshwood junior Max Horton.
Falmouth 22 @ Marshwood 20 (OT)
Class B South Final
Marshwood 48 @ Falmouth 22
Western B quarterfinal
@ Marshwood 57 Falmouth 0
@ Marshwood 54 Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 33 Marshwood 14