Spruce Mountain senior Devan Pomeroy tackles Yarmouth junior Jack True Friday night. The Phoenix handed the defending Class C champion Clippers their third consecutive loss, 41-0.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
SM- 14 20 7 0- 41
Y- 0 0 0 0- 0
SM- Parker 4 run (Pomeroy kick)
SM- Webster 8 run (Pomeroy kick)
SM- Darling 14 pass from Parker (kick blocked)
SM- Webster 2 run (pass failed)
SM- Darling 66 fumble return (Frey pass from Parker)
SM- Parker 32 run (Pomeroy kick)
YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s football team is learning how the other half lives.
And the Clippers aren’t exactly enjoying the feeling.
Yarmouth, the defending Class C South champion, took a two-game losing streak into Friday night’s home game against Spruce Mountain, but the Clippers were hoping to right their ship.
Those hopes were dashed almost immediately as Yarmouth went three-and-out on its first possession and the Phoenix got the only points they’d need a little more than two minutes into the game when senior quarterback Caulin Parker scored on a 4-yard run.
Later in the first quarter, an 8-yard TD run from senior Dillon Webster extended the lead to 14-0.
By halftime, Spruce Mountain had a commanding 34-0 advantage, thanks to a 14-yard Parker-to-senior Austin Darling touchdown pass, a 2-yard Webster run and a 66-yard Darling fumble return.
When Parker scored on a 32-yard dash early in the third period, a mercy rule running clock was instituted and the Phoenix went on to a 41-0 victory.
Spruce Mountain won its third game in a row, improved to 4-2 and dropped the Clippers to 3-3 in the process.
“We’re such a young team,” said Yarmouth coach Jason Veilleux. “We’re still figuring out who we ware. We need hard losses to learn.”
Yarmouth didn’t lose a regular season game in 2015 and started this year with wins at Lake Region (45-13) and Mountain Valley (27-25) and at home over Poland (45-18). The Clippers then suffered consecutive decisive defeats, 53-14 at home to Fryeburg Academy and 54-7 at Wells.
Spruce Mountain was viewed as a contender coming into the year and after losing at home to Wells in the opener, 32-6, the Phoenix handled visiting Lake Region, 47-14. They were no match for Cape Elizabeth the following week, however, losing at the Capers, 55-12. Decisive wins at Gray-New Gloucester (51-6) and at home over Poland (46-0) followed.
Last year, in the first ever meeting between the squads, Yarmouth won at Spruce Mountain, 29-8.
Friday, on a very comfortable 57 degree evening, the Phoenix turned the tables in a big way.
The Clippers got the ball first, but in a sign of things to come, junior Ben Gleason was thrown for a four-yard loss by senior Devan Pomeroy on the game’s first play. Senior Remi Leblanc picked up five yards, but on third-and-9, senior quarterback John Thoma’s pass to Leblanc only gained four yards and Yarmouth had to punt.
After just an 18-yard punt, Spruce Mountain started at the Clippers’ 43 and four plays and 68 seconds later, had the lead for good.
After Webster ran for three yards, Darling gained 21 yards on a sweep to the left. Webster gained 15 yards to the 4, where Parker kept the ball and scored. Pomeroy added the extra point and with 9:50 remaining, the Phoenix led, 7-0.
Yarmouth couldn’t respond, as sophomore Noah Eckersley-Ray ran twice for four yards and Thoma threw incomplete.
Spruce Mountain started its next drive at midfield with 8:45 to go in the quarter and nine plays and 3:59 later, doubled its lead.
A 17-yard burst by Webster got things started. Darling picked up nine yards, but an equipment violation penalty backed the Phoenix up five yards. Webster ran for six yards to set up third-and-inches. Webster was then held to no gain and a false start set up fourth-and-5 and the Clippers’ 28, where Parker hit junior Brett Frey for eight yards and a first down. Darling picked up four yards and after Spruce Mountain was backed up by an illegal block, Parker found Webster for 19 yards to the 5. Leblanc dropped Parker for a three-yard loss, but on the next play, Webster raced into the end zone for an 8-yard TD.
“It’s nice to not have to drive the whole field,” Webster said. “When we’re inside the 40, it’s already four down territory.”
Pomeroy’s PAT made it 14-0 with 4:46 remaining in the first.
Yarmouth began to move the ball on its next drive, as Thoma found junior Jack True for eight yards, sophomore Harry Steinharter for nine and Leblanc for seven more to the Spruce Mountain 44. After an incomplete pass, Leblanc ran for five yards and a first down at the 39. Thoma then kept the ball for 15 more yards and a first down at the 24, but the drive stalled there, as Webster threw Steinharter for a one-yard loss and after Gleason ran for two yards, Thoma had to fall on a bad snap for a seven-yard loss, then Thoma threw incomplete to give the ball back to the Phoenix at their 30 with 31 seconds to go in the first quarter.
This time, Spruce Mountain drove 70 yards in six plays in 1:50 for a third score.
Webster picked up where he left off, running for 23 yards, then nine, as the first period gave way to the second. Darling then gained 13 yards and four. Webster’s seven yard run preceded a pass, as Parker dropped back and hit Darling, who did a nice toe-tap in the back of the end zone, for a 14-yard score. Pomeroy’s extra point was blocked, but the Phoenix had a 20-0 lead with 10:41 remaining in the half.
Yarmouth went three-and-out, as Eckersley-Ray ran for six yards, Thoma threw incomplete and Leblanc gained four yards, but came up inches short of the sticks.
Spruce Mountain got the ball back at its 45 with 8:52 to go in the half and six plays and 2:13 later had another TD.
After Webster ran for two yards, Darling broke free for 25 to the Clippers’ 28. Webster ran for two yards and Parker hit Darling for eight more to move the chains. After Webster ran for 16 yards to the 2, he capped the drive with a touchdown run up the gut with 6:39 to go. A two-point conversion pass was batted down, but the lead was a comfortable 26-0.
Yarmouth’s next possession began inauspiciously with a false start penalty. Thoma then hit Eckersley-Ray for 20 yards, but Leblanc lost six yards on a pass out of the backfield, True caught a pass for three yards and Thoma threw incomplete, forcing another punt.
With 4:57 remaining in the half, the Phoenix started at their 19 and for the first time, the Clippers’ defense stepped up, forcing a three-and-out, as sophomore Jack Ricciardi threw Webster for a three-yard loss and Parker twice threw incomplete.
Yarmouth got the ball back at midfield and after junior Henry Venden ran for nine yards, Leblanc picked up seven more, but as he was tackled, Darling stripped the ball and took off the other way, not stopping until he crossed the goal line for a 66-yard score with 3:15 remaining in the half.
“I was looking to strip the ball because his knees weren’t on the ground yet,” Darling said. “I just grabbed it and made a play on it. All week, in practice, our focus was on defense first.”
This time, Spruce Mountain did convert the two-point play, as Parker threw complete in the end zone to Frey for a 34-0 lead.
The Clippers were able to drive into Phoenix territory late in the half, but to no avail.
After Leblanc lost four yards, Eckersley-Ray got a handoff, rolled right and threw a pass downfield to True ,good for 43 yards to the Spruce Mountain 25. When Thoma found Leblanc for 11 more yards to the 14, it appeared the hosts were going to get on the board, but junior Brandyn Cutler sacked Thoma for a seven-yard loss, Thoma threw two incompletions and on fourth-and-17, Thoma hit freshman Najee McQueen, but only for 11 yards, giving the ball back to the Phoenix, who ran out the clock in the half.
In the first 24 minutes, Spruce Mountain outgained Yarmouth, 223-123.
The Phoenix were able to bring about the mercy rule less than three minutes into the third period, as they got the ball and marched 76 yards in seven plays and 2:47.
Starting from its 24, Spruce Mountain got a six yard run from Darling, a one yard pickup by Webster, then a seven yard burst from Parker to move the chains. After Webster gained three yards, Parker hit Frey for 13 to the Clippers’ 47. On the next play, an incomplete pass, a personal foul was called on Yarmouth, moving the ball 15 yards closer and Parker did the rest, keeping it and racing into the end zone for a 32-yard TD with 9:09 to play in the period. Pomeroy booted the PAT for a 41-0 lead.
Eckersley-Ray came in to play quarterback for the second half and after Venden lost two yards, Eckersley-Ray kept the ball and ran for 11 yards. Gleason lost two yards, but on fourth-and-3, Venden moved the chains with an 11 yard run to the Spruce Mountain 46. After Leblanc was held to no gain and Eckersley-Ray threw incomplete twice, a six yard Venden run gave the Phoenix the ball back on downs at their 40.
Spruce Mountain got two runs from Parker, good for three yards, then Parker threw incomplete, but in punt formation, Pomeroy faked the kick and threw to Frey for 15 yards and a first down at the Yarmouth 42 as the third quarter gave way to the fourth.
The Phoenix weren’t able to add to their lead, however, as Ricciardi threw Webster for a four yard loss on his final carry and after Parker kept the ball for six yards, he was replaced at quarterback by freshman Jack Bryant. Bryant moved the chains with a 12 yard run, but freshman Brandon Coates lost two yards and after sophomore Brett Hunt ran for three, a fumbled exchange set up fourth-and-8 and Bryant only gained five yards, giving Yarmouth the ball at its 21.
The Clippers drove across midfield, as Gleason picked up 17 yards, then 11 and Steinharter picked up nine more. After runs of 19 and seven yards from Ricciardi put the ball at the 16, Eckersley-Ray threw incomplete and Gleason fumbled, with the Phoenix recovering at their 2.
Spruce Mountain ran the ball three times and that took care of the remaining time on the clock as the Phoenix prevailed, 41-0.
“They beat us last year on our field, so it was nice to get them this year, “Webster said.
Spruce Mountain mustered 338 yards of offense, didn’t turn the ball over and overcame three penalties for 18 yards.
Parker completed 5-of-10 passes for 62 yards and one touchdown. He also ran the ball eight times for 48 yards and two TDs. Webster gained 113 yards and scored twice on 19 carries and caught one pass for 19 yards. Darling rushed seven times 82 yards, caught two passes for 22 yards and a TD and had the fumble return for a touchdown. Frey had three receptions for 36 yards.
The Clippers finished with 224 yards, turned the ball over twice and were penalized twice for 20 yards. Thoma finished 9-of-16 passing for 67 yards. Eckersley-Ray was 1-of-4 for 43 yards. He also caught a pass for 20 yards. Leblanc gained 17 yards on six rushes and caught four balls for 16 yards. Gleason ran for 29 yards on six carries, Venden had 24 on four rushes and Ricciardi 26 on two.
True caught three passes for 54 yards, McQueen caught one ball for 11 and Steinharter had one for 9.
“Our kids were in the right positions to make plays, but we couldn’t block or tackle,” Veilleux said. “If you can’t block or tackle, you can’t win. We miss having someone step up and put us on their shoulders.”
Spruce Mountain (now third in the Class C South Crabtree Points standings) has a home showdown versus Leavitt next weekend, then closes at Mountain Valley.
Yarmouth (fourth in Class C South) has the daunting task of going to undefeated Cape Elizabeth Friday. The Clippers then close at home in the “Battle of the Bay” against Freeport.
“Cape will be incredibly difficult,” Veilleux said. “Freeport will be difficult for us. If we’re lucky to get into the playoffs, that will be a challenge too. We’re just trying to get better one game at a time.”
Yarmouth senior quarterback John Thoma rides a nice block from sophomore Caden Middleton to a nice gain.
Yarmouth sophomore Noah Eckersley-Ray, left, junior Jack True and senior Remi Leblanc rush Spruce Mountain senior quarterback Caulin Parker.
Yarmouth senior Remi Leblanc breaks through the defense.
Yarmouth junior Henry Venden eyes Spruce Mountain senior Austin Darling.
Yarmouth sophomore Noah Eckersley-Ray gains yardage.