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Yarmouth's reign ends, Greely falls on late FG

Sports

Yarmouth's reign ends, Greely falls on late FG

(Ed. Note: For the complete Greely-Wells game story, with a box score and additional photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

The 2012 football postseason came to a quick and painful close for Forecaster Country teams last weekend.

Reign over

The two-time defending Class C champion Yarmouth Clippers needed a stunning comeback win at Freeport in the regular season finale just to qualify for the postseason for the fourth straight year (as the No. 8 seed).

Saturday, Yarmouth went to top-ranked Winslow and while the Clippers played better than they did in a 34-8 loss at the Black Raiders Sept. 29, they lost, 50-22, and were eliminated with a final record of 2-7.

After falling behind 14-0 early, a Thomas Lord touchdown run pulled Yarmouth back to 14-6 after one quarter. Winslow pushed the lead to 27-6 before another Lord TD run made it 27-14. The Black Raiders added a field goal before halftime, but when Matthew Woodbury scored early in the third quarter, the Clippers were within a single score, 30-22. That would be their highwater mark as Winslow added a touchdown before quarter's end and punched in two more in the fourth period to put it away.

"We played well and had opportunities," said Yarmouth coach Chris Pingitore. "The little things that have happened to us all year happened and it cost us. It was a great game to watch. I was elated with the effort. The kids never quit. We started four or five freshmen and we gave them a scare. It got pretty quiet there when we made it 30-22. The kids were disappointed they lost, but they knew they left it all on the field.

"I knew from the beginning that it would be a challenge this year, but our experience was far more valuable than if we played the schedule we played in the past. I heard from three or four coaches who told me we were the toughest team they played in terms of our heart and aggressiveness. It was a great bunch of kids who got better game by game."

The Clippers will look to rebound in 2013.

"I have 30 of 32 kids returning, our JV team was undefeated and I have 11 good eighth graders coming up," Pingitore said. "The juniors are already asking when they can start in the weight room. Things look good for Yarmouth football next year."

Game of inches

The finest season in the history of Greely football culminated with the most agonizing loss in program annals Friday evening.

The Rangers produced a stellar 7-1 regular season record and earned the No. 4 seed for the Western B playoffs. Their "reward" was a visit from fifth-ranked Wells, the defending state champions, in the quarterfinals. The teams a played the down-to-the-wire, taut game that so many anticipated.

Greely appeared in good shape when it took the opening drive and marched to take the lead on James Ferrar's 5-yard touchdown run.

The Rangers, despite being bogged down in their territory, held on to a 7-0 advantage until late in the first half when Wells got a short TD run from Jake Moody. The Warriors couldn't convert the point after, however, and Greely's 7-6 lead lasted until deep in the fourth quarter.

Wells got one final shot on offense and after marching into Rangers' territory, the drive stalled and Wells brought on senior Joey Spinelli to attempt a seemingly impossible 45-yard field.

It proved possible.

Spinelli's boot barely sneaked inside the left goalpost, just over the crossbar, and with 1:34 to play, Wells was on top for the first time.

"It was a great kick," Rangers coach David Higgins said.

Greely had a final chance and after the drive stayed alive on a tipped completion, the Rangers got as close as the Warriors' 23, but dreams of playing into November were dashed when quarterback Drew Hodge's pass to the end zone, intended for Pat Finnegan, was instead intercepted by who else but Spinelli, essentially icing the 9-7 win that sent Wells to top-ranked Marshwood and brought the curtain down on Greely's year.

"We did everything but win," said Higgins. "The only thing I can tell (my players) is they played hard against the defending state champs, they did a great job, they have nothing to hang their heads about. I have a great bunch of kids.

"(Wells) made tremendous adjustments. Their coaching staff has been together forever. I only have the highest regard for those guys. They stuck with their adjustments. It would've been a storybook ending. We just didn't convert. We just lost to a better team tonight. "

Greely won't find much immediate solace in its regular season accomplishments, but seven victories and turning the heads of the area's fans and pundits is something to hail.

The 2012 Rangers will ultimately be remembered as a great story, one which didn't have the hoped for ending.

"My kids played hard," Higgins said. "I hope Wells feels we gave them a great game. We were just a little short."

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