(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Traip game story, with a box score, please see theforecaster.net)
Friday evening and Saturday afternoon were certainly frustrating for local gridiron warriors.
Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth all suffered tough losses Friday, while Freeport dropped a close game Saturday.
The two-time defending Class C state champion Clippers, coming off a one-point loss at Maranacook, hoped to even their record, but instead suffered a 27-6 home setback to Traip in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
The Rangers set the tone with a 19-play, 83-yard, 8 minute, 37 second scoring drive in the first period and the Clippers never caught up. Traip added a second TD in the second quarter, then returned the second half kickoff for another score to make it 20-0. Yarmouth attempted to rally and became the first opponent to score on the Rangers this season when quarterback Brady Neujahr hit Rhys Eddy for a 6-yard TD pass, but the Clippers could draw no closer and a backbreaking, multiple tackle-breaking, highlight reel 80-yard TD run from Traip’s Cory Aldecoa in the fourth quarter put the finishing touches on the defeat.
Yarmouth fell to 1-3, as the Clippers’ home win streak ended at 18 games.
“(Traip) set the tone with that first drive, but we did a lot of things wrong tonight,” lamented Yarmouth’s first-year coach Chris Pingitore. “We hit them in the backfield probably 75 percent of the time, but we didn’t tackle. That’s what it came down to. I don’t think they’re better than we are. We’re just as physical. We just didn’t finish tackles.”
Yarmouth had just 138 yards of offense and was called for seven penalties, good for 57 yards.
“I thought (Traip) scouted us well on offense,” said Pingitore. “They did some shifting into our motion and such. The penalties didn’t help. We had four or five first down runs or passes called back. We have to clean those up. When you’re in a hole, your playcalling changes.”
Yarmouth needs to earn some wins and quickly, but the schedule doesn’t abate. Next Saturday, the Clippers go to 3-1 Winslow. The teams didn’t play last fall. Unlike the past two seasons, nothing is coming easily for Yarmouth. Regardless, the Clippers aren’t giving in. Anyone who doesn’t think they’ll be a factor in late October could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
“We’re starting to right the ship,” Pingitore said. “We have smart kids, good kids. It’s making them believe we can turn it around. We have four games left. It won’t be easy for us. We keep stressing little things in practice. I think we have the athletes and players to turn this around. We can still claw our way in.”
Freeport played valiantly at Lisbon Saturday before losing, 31-22.
After falling behind, 7-0, the Falcons drove 70 yards in 13 plays, chewing up nearly six minutes to take the lead when Dan Burke rushed for an 11-yard score on the final play of the first quarter and Burke ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-7. The Greyhounds retook the lead 42 seconds into the second quarter and never looked back. Lisbon pushed the advantage to 23-8 before Freeport answered on a 2-yard TD run from Ben MacMillan and a two-point conversion pass with 2:12 to go in the half. The hosts again extended the lead to 31-16 late in the third quarter, but again the Falcons answered on an 11-yard Burke TD run. This time, they could draw no closer and Lisbon held on, 31-22.
“The kids played extremely hard and never quit,” said Freeport coach Rob Grover. “Lisbon has some fantastic backs we had trouble containing. We played as well as we could. The kids left it all on the field. We let them score one too many times.”
Burke led the Falcons with 143 yards and two TDs on 25 rushes.
“He was terrific,” Grover said, of his standout back. “He plays hard and loves the game. He gives it everything he’s got.”
Freeport (2-2) has another pivotal game Saturday when it hosts 3-1 Old Orchard Beach, in just its second home game of the season. Last year, the Falcons edged the visiting Seagulls, 6-0.
“This is one we’ve got to have if we want to make the playoffs,” Grover said. “Old Orchard has scrappy kids. It will be a tough challenge for us. Being home will be an advantage.”
In Western B, Greely took a 3-0 mark to York Friday night and played a thriller that came down to the final minute.
The Rangers trailed 7-0 at halftime, but their offense came alive in the second half. A long scoring run from Svenn Jacobson tied the score, 7-7, after three periods. The Wildcats went back on top, 14-7, early in the fourth, but Greely tied it on a TD pass from Drew Hodge to Connor Hanley. York returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead, but again the Rangers rallied and made it 21-21 when Hodge threw a long TD pass to Nick Maynard. The hosts had the final laugh, however, winning the game on a field goal in the final minute, 24-21.
“It was a great game for three quarters, but unfortunately, we lost focus early and that’s how they went ahead,” said Greely coach David Higgins. “You can’t get behind a team like that. They had answers every time we scored. Credit to York. Usually we freak people out on special tams, but they did a good job. What we need to learn is that we have to play from the get-go and we have to move forward.”
Greely (3-1) hopes to rebound Friday at home against 2-2 Fryeburg. Last fall, the Rangers won in Fryeburg, 20-8.
“It’s a kooky league this year,” Higgins said. “Fryeburg is tough. We know they can score. They have good athletes. I have utmost respect for their staff. They’ll have something for us. I think we’re in good position. We control our destiny. Hopefully nothing silly will happen.”
Falmouth entered Friday night’s home game against rival Cape Elizabeth with an 0-3 record, having been shutout in consecutive weeks. The Yachtsmen got off to a great start, taking a surprising 14-0 lead on touchdown runs from Connor Aube and Noah Nelson, but the Capers rallied to take a 20-14 lead at halftime and went on to a 30-14 victory, dropping Falmouth to 0-4.
The Yachtsmen seek their first win Friday when they host 0-4 Lake Region. Last year, Falmouth handled the Lakers in Naples, 46-14.
Freeport senior Dan Burke dives for the pylon during Saturday’s game at Lisbon. The Falcons hung close, but lost to the Greyhounds, 31-22.
Junior Joe Nixon looks to haul in a pass during Saturday’s loss at Lisbon.