(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Poland game story, with additional photos and a box score, please visit theforecaster.net)
All is right with the world again as far as the Yarmouth football team is concerned.
The two-time Class C state champion Clippers, who lost, 33-7, at Oak Hill last week, snapping their 24-game win streak, played their home opener Friday against Poland.
The teams had never met, but Yarmouth quickly made a statement, driving 64 yards on 13 plays, chewing up 6 minutes, 31 seconds in the process and taking a 6-0 lead on quarterback Brady Neujahr’s 9-yard run.
A 43-yard TD run by Thomas Lord and a 5-yard TD scamper by Matt Woodbury stretched the lead to 18-0 by halftime. The Knights answered at the start of the third period with a touchdown drive to cut the deficit to 18-8, but Matt Klepinger broke free for an 80-yard TD run and freshman Ryan Nason passed 33 yards to Rhys Eddy for a score to make it 31-8. Poland got within 31-18 in the fourth quarter, but a 34-yard Neujahr run put it away as the Clippers prevailed, 38-18.
“It was devastating last week,” said Neujahr. “I hadn’t lost since sixth grade. It was tough. This week, we came out strong, changed the tone in practice and worked hard.”
“Last Saturday was a huge wakeup call,” Lord said. “I think we needed it, to be honest. We knew we had to turn it around.”
“It’s a lot better than last week,” Yarmouth first-year coach Chris Pingitore said. “That was a life lesson. You’ll fail sometimes, but what you do to follow up makes your character. I told the guys that the first loss would take a lot of pressure off them. We had a good week of practice. The kids pulled through and dug down deep. Tonight, as opposed to last week, we had an answer every time (Poland) got in the end zone. I think that’s the true character of this team. They worked hard and they wanted it. They paid attention to detail and did the little things. That adds up to where we’ve been the past couple years and where we could be this year if we keep it up. Tremendous effort.”
Yarmouth finished with 500 yards of offense.
Klepinger gained 110 yards with a score on nine carries. Lord had 106 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and caught three passes for 85 yards. Woodbury gained 29 yards and scored one TD on 11 attempts. Neujahr wound up gaining 90 yards and scoring twice on eight rushes. He completed 4-of-9 passes for 102 yards.
Yarmouth hopes to get over the .500 mark when it visits 2-0 Maranacook Friday. The teams last met in the 2010 Western C quarterfinals (a 54-6 Clippers victory).
“None of these teams are slouches,” said Pingitore. “We have our work cut out for us. I think everybody’s gunning for us. We’re definitely a target. It’s a challenge, but that challenge makes it fun. We have to work hard as coaches and players work harder.”
The Clippers appear on their way back.
“A new season started tonight,” Lord said. “We still need to work on the little things. Work on hitting the holes hard, working on defense, tackling, taking care of the ball.
Freeport started 2-0 with a 49-0 home victory over Sacopee. The Falcons, who eked out an 18-14 triumph at Boothbay in their opener, led 22-0 after one period and 43-0 at halftime. Jared Polley and Joe Nixon each ran for two touchdowns. James Purdy threw two TD passes (one to Evan Bertrand and one to Cameron Buthlay) and Eli Fox completed a scoring pass to Jake Perry).
“It was a good team effort,” said Falcons coach Rob Grover. “We were up 22-0 midway through the first quarter. I put the JVs in with four minutes to go in the first half. We had 23 carries for 221 yards, eight sacks and held them to 54 yards for the game. Dan Burke had 10 tackles.”
Freeport looks to go 3-0 when it plays at 2-0 Traip (which hasn’t surrendered a point) Saturday afternoon. Last year, the Falcons lost in Kittery, 7-0.
“It will be a very big challenge,” said Grover. “If we can their big runner (former Falcon Corey Aldecoa) at bay, we have a shot. They bring the house. He’s one of the top running backs in the league. They’re already firing on all cylinders. We played very well against them last year, but we have to go back to them. It’s earlier this year too.”
In Western B, Greely made it two straight Friday with a 54-0 home win over Lake Region, in a game that was stopped in the third quarter. Matt Pisini returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Nick Maynard caught a touchdown pass to give the Rangers, who beat Spruce Mountain, 33-7, in the opener, a quick jump.
“Lake Region didn’t have a large number of players, but they played hard,” said Greely coach David Higgins. “We’ve all been through that before. A new coach and staff. A rebuilding program. That’s part of the growing pains. Our division, Class B, is very, very competitive. Numbers play into consideration. I have the utmost respect for their coaches and kids. They played hard the whole game. We just did what we had to do.”
Greely has a showdown at 2-0 Westbrook Friday night. The Blue Blazes opened the season with a 30-0 home victory over perennial powerhouse Mountain Valley and defeated defending Class B state champion Wells, 28-20, last week. Last year, in Cumberland, the Rangers beat Westbrook, 28-0.
“I’m very excited about this week,” said Higgins. “We look forward to the challenge. Westbrook is the dominant team right now. We took them a little by surprise last year. We took them of their game, which is running the ball. They’ll be ready for us. They’ve had two great games. They’re athletic and physical. We want to give them a game.”
(An audio broadcast of the Greely at Westbrook game can be heard at theforecaster.net or mbr.org.)
Falmouth, which lost at Gray-New Gloucester, 22-14, in its first game, dropped to 0-2 after losing, 18-0, to visiting Spruce Mountain.
The Yachtsmen hope to get in the win column Friday when they go to 2-0 Marshwood, which is coming off a victory at Mountain Valley. Last year, Falmouth beat the visiting Hawks, 33-14.
Yarmouth junior Thomas Lord lowers his head and gains yardage during the Clippers’ 38-18 home win over Poland Friday.