Yarmouth football rallies for clutch win; Freeport, Greely also triumph, Falmouth falls in new field opener
The most exciting high school football season to date in Forecaster Country continued Saturday with four more memorable games.
The most scintillating occurred in Lisbon where the Yarmouth Clippers remained unbeaten with a palpitating 16-14, come-from-behind win over the previously undefeated Greyhounds on a late field goal.
Freeport doubled its 2009 win total with a 35-0 victory at Old Orchard Beach.
In Western B, Greely continued its stirring rise with a fourth-straight triumph, 21-6, over visiting York.
Falmouth finally opened its new turf field, but the result wasn't cause for celebration as the Yachtsmen were drubbed by Wells, 41-8.
Other than a hard-fought 20-15 victory at Oak Hill in Week 2, Yarmouth hadn't been challenged much in 2010. A regional finalist last fall, the Clippers took a 4-0 mark to 4-0 Lisbon Saturday, knowing a win was crucial for their hopes for a high playoff seed and homefield advantage.
This one would be tight throughout.
Junior Anders Overhaug (14 carries, 169 yards, one TD) gave Yarmouth an early 6-0 lead on a 45-yard TD scamper. The Greyhounds took an 8-6 lead on a Clippers' miscue on a punt, recovering a fumble in the end zone before adding a two-point conversion. Before the half, Overhaug broke free for a 58-yard scamper, setting up a 1-yard TD run from freshman quarterback Brady Neujahr and a 13-8 Yarmouth advantage.
The visitors dodged a bullet late in the third period when Lisbon fumbled near the goal line, but the hosts would take the lead with just over five minutes to play on a TD run. A two-point conversion failed and the Clippers were down a point, 14-13.
They then embarked on the biggest drive of the season, moving 45 yards, converting two third downs. The march eventually stalled, bringing junior Bryce Snyder on to the field to attempt a 28-yard field goal, the biggest kick of his life. It split the uprights with 14.9 seconds to go (it would have been good from 40 yards out) and Yarmouth had a 16-14 lead.
“We went over it in practice numerous times. To me it was like a normal kick,” Snyder said. “You’ve just got to hit it. I treat every kick the same, even extra points. Just try to hit it my hardest and right down the middle.”
“(Bryce is) a star baseball player. He pitches,” said Yarmouth coach Jim Hartman. “He’s been in that situation so many times on the mound, it’s not a problem.”
That left Lisbon with nine seconds after the ensuing kick return to weave a miracle. The Greyhounds nearly did. Quarterback Luke Caron hit Josh Pomerleau deep in the right flat for a 27-yard gain. Pomerleau raced out of bounds at the Yarmouth 29 to stop the clock with two seconds left. Caron then lofted his final pass toward the right front pylon. Yarmouth senior Asa Arden was there to knock it out of Zack Greene’s reach, although any catch likely would have been out of bounds, anyway.
Yarmouth limited Lisbon to 128 yards, fewer than three per offensive play.
“This is a game of matchups. We adjusted to each others’ matchups,” Hartman said. “I don’t think anyone gives our defense credit. Hopefully after today they do.”
“We came out in the end, and it’s not just my win,” Snyder added. “It’s the whole team’s win.”
The Clippers host 1-4 Boothbay Friday night. Last year, in Boothbay, Yarmouth rolled over the Seahawks, 64-13.
Elsewhere in Class C, Freeport has been much more competitive in 2010 and got a nice reward for its hard work Saturday at winless Old Orchard Beach. The Falcons snapped a two-game skid with a 35-0 triumph and are now 2-3 on the season. Freeport was up 22-0 at halftime and rolled behind 309 rushing yards and 157 in the air. Sophomore James Purdy completed just three passes, but they went for 157 yards and a score. He also rushed for two touchdowns. Sophomore Cory Aldecoa had a 64-yard TD scamper. Sophomore Dan Burke had two TD runs and two two-point conversions. Caleb Farmer kicked the program's first-ever extra point.
"Old Orchard's down, but it's the first time we've beaten an established program," said Falcons coach Rob Grover. "We're having more fun this year."
Freeport can even its record Saturday when it hosts 4-1 Traip. Last year, in Kittery, the Falcons lost to the Rangers, 48-22.
Greely had never beaten perennial contender York entering Saturday's affair. Last year, the Rangers were humbled, 25-0, at the Wildcats, but this is a vastly different Greely squad, one with plenty of confidence.
Saturday, the Rangers gave up the first score of the game and were down, 6-0, after one period, but sophomore Svenn Jacobson and junior Mike Leeman had rushing TDs in the second and Greely (after a clutch defensive stop late) was up, 14-6, at the break. A short TD run from senior Justin Moore in the fourth period provided some breathing room and the Rangers improved to 4-1 with a 21-6 triumph.
"It was a huge win for us," Greely coach David Higgins said. "It was a beautiful day for football. I'm glad we were able to come through. They shut us right down in the first quarter and crammed it down our throats, then we started playing. There was no question in our minds that we could come back."
The Rangers have their playoff destiny in their hands, but it won't be easy. Friday night, they visit 5-0 Mountain Valley (last year, Greely lost, 21-0, at home to the perennial strong Falcons). A home game against defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth follows. Greely closes the year with a trip to Fryeburg and a home showdown with Falmouth.
"Our remaining schedule is absolutely brutal," Higgins said. "It's a great league. Cape's always a rival. The 'Battle of Route 9' (Falmouth game) will be exciting. Mountain Valley will be fired up. They're awesome as always. They have a mental edge on us. They've put up big numbers on us in the past and we haven't been able to compete."
Home, not-so-sweet, home
Falmouth was coming off a painful 24-21 loss at Cape Elizabeth, which snapped a season-opening three-game win streak. Saturday, the Yachtsmen played on their new turf field for the first time, but visiting Wells spoiled the party.
The Warriors led 8-0 after one period behind a safety (Falmouth senior quarterback Zach Alexander was tackled in the end zone) and a 5-yard TD run from senior Chad Whitten. A 39-yard TD run from junior Paul McDonough and a 9-yard Whitten TD scamper made it 21-0 before Alexander engineered a six-play, 71-yard drive to get the hosts on the board. Alexander (7-of-25 for 98 yards, a TD and three interceptions) hit junior Jack Cooleen for gains of 19- and 11-yards and sophomore Alex Derhagopian for 20 and then the TD from 11. A two-point rush from senior Caleb Bowden (8 rushes, 24 yards) made it 21-8 at the break.
Senior Michael Moats-Carpenter ran for a 4-yard score and Whitten (21-165-3) scored from 35 yards out to make it 34-8 after three. Senior J.T. Sherburne (5-94) put it away with a 73-yard TD run in the fourth as Falmouth fell to 3-2 with the 41-8 loss. The Yachtsmen were outgained 424 yards to 91, turned the ball over four times and had eight penalties for 94 yards.
"Credit goes to Wells," said Yachtsmen coach John Fitzsimmons. "We wanted and needed to beat them. Clearly that didn't happen. They were solid on offense. They ran more than I anticipated. They did a good job shutting down our pass. It might have been a little bit of the loss to Cape last week and maybe we were a little hyper with the opening of the field. We lost our focus.
"The field is spectacular. We thank the people of Falmouth for giving it to us. We'll do a better job putting on a better performance in our next home game."
Falmouth goes to 0-5 Gray-New Gloucester Friday night needing to get back on track. Last year, the Yachtsmen were 36-0 home winners over the Patriots.
"Good teams will take a terrible loss like this and come back strong the next week," said Fitzsimmons. "We need to be in a position to make the playoffs. We'll have to earn our way in."
Sun Journal staff writer Kalle Oakes contributed to this story
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org