Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough’s football seasons both came to an end last weekend in the semifinal round.
The Capers, the No. 2 seed in Class C South, suffered an agonizing 20-14 home loss to No. 3 Wells.
Cape Elizabeth went 6-2 in the regular season, losing only at Yarmouth by a point and at home to Wells in the finale. As the No. 2 seed, the Capers ousted seventh-ranked Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinal, 33-16.
Friday, Cape Elizabeth hosted Wells for the second time in three weeks and hoped the reverse the result of Oct. 23, a 15-0 loss. The Warriors had won two of the past three playoff encounters and in stunning come-from-behind fashion, found a way to end the Capers’ season.
After a scoreless first quarter, Wells got on the board first, but missed the extra point. A touchdown run from Jack O’Rourke made it 7-6 Cape Elizabeth at halftime. In the third period, Andrew Hartel hit Justin Guerette for a second TD and a 14-6 lead.
That score held up until the fourth quarter, when the Warriors broke a long touchdown run and added the two-point conversion. Wells then went ahead on a pass play that was batted around before landing in a receiver’s hands for a score.
The Warriors didn’t get the conversion, but got a late interception and ended the Capers’ season at 7-3 after a 20-14 decision.
“Obviously, it’s a tough way to lose a game,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Aaron Filieo. “It’s monumentally more difficult when your season ends like that..
“We were very confident. I felt like we’d have a lot of offensive opportunities that we could take advantage of. We spread the field and used our speed, but it’s tough to score on them. I knew it would be. It was our best defensive game of the season. We flew around. It just came down to a few big plays that made the difference. I’d rather lose in overtime and have a shot, then lose on a Hail Mary-type play. They ran a hook-and-ladder to get down there. We prepared for all that, but they had to execute all that and they did.
“The guys left it all on the field. They brought it. Some of them had the best games of their lives. It just wasn’t enough. It will hurt for awhile, but kids are resilient. We take solace in that we had a great year. It was a great group of kids. It was such a fun year. The kids worked hard and did everything we asked.”
Wells advanced to meet top-ranked Yarmouth (10-0) in Saturday’s regional final.
The Capers will reload and should be a team capable of going deep in the playoffs again next fall.
“We return some key players,” Filieo said. “I think (Ben) Ekedahl was the best all-around player in the conference. We have some good, young running backs and some fresh legs coming up. Defensively, we’ll have most of our guys back. We’ll start from a good position. We just need to spend more time in the weight room.”
The Red Storm, the No. 4 seed in Class A South, had no answers for top-ranked, defending state champion Thornton Academy and were ousted, 35-0.
Scarborough went 4-4 in the regular season, then handled No. 5 Sanford, 28-0, in the quarterfinals. The Red Storm lost in Saco during the regular season, 48-7, on Oct. 3 and dropped both prior playoff meetings, including a 50-20 setback in last year’s semifinals.
Saturday was more of the same as Thornton Academy raced to a 28-0 lead at halftime and went on to a 35-0 victory, advancing to Saturday’s Class A South Final versus Bonny Eagle (7-3).
“I felt that our line play, linebacker play and running backs dramatically improved from the first time we played them,” said Red Storm coach Lance Johnson. “We did some things defensively to make them spill the ball to the outside, but then could not contain their size and speed at running back. Offensively I thought we blocked much better and ran the ball hard. We set up some play action pass opportunities and then just could not make enough throws and catches. I thought our compete factor was much better.”
Scarborough finished an up-and-down campaign at 5-5.
“As far as this season goes, we are a little disappointed,” Johnson said. “We thought we should have closed the gap between TA and us a lot more than we did. We had a good win early in the season against Bonny Eagle, but we were unable to build on that win late in the season. We were disappointed in our losses to Cheverus and Deering late in the season, where we showed a lack of composure and confidence. We thought our players bounced back with a good win in the playoffs against Sanford and our kids played hard against TA.”
The Red Storm expect to be in the hunt next year and hope to take the next step.
“The future looks bright, as we have five running backs returning who got varsity experience this year, Drew LeClair, Owen Garrard, Anthony Simoneau, Aren Dickman and Matt Cook,” Johnson said. “We have a two good young quarterbacks, Zolton Panyi and Steve Young, who will compete to replace Jack Hughes. We have a tight end, Reece Lagerquist, and a wide receiver, Connor Kelly, who both played well this year and are coming back. We also have our two starting offensive tackles returning, Dakota Joy and Anthony Griffin. Defensively, we have experienced players returning on the defensive line, Noah Davoli in particular. At linebacker and in the secondary, we also have many returning players. We also have a good freshman group coming up that only lost one game this year.”