FRYEBURG — No. 2 seed Cape Elizabeth defeated Fryeburg Academy, the No. 3 seed, 33-6 in the Class C South semifinals in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, on Friday.
Fryeburg (6-4) reached the state semifinals following a 30-14 victory at home over sixth-seeded Gardiner on Oct. 30.
Cape (8-1) advanced out of the quarterfinals with a 56-0 victory at home over No. 7 Westbrook on Oct. 29.
Friday’s contest under the lights and on the turf at Cape Elizabeth marked the second time FA had faced the Capers this fall. Cape won the lone meeting between the two sides, 40-7 at home on Sept. 10.
Cape made some adjustments from the last time these two teams played in the victory. Offensively the Capers ran the ball very effectively. This was the first team all season to have success running the ball against Fryeburg’s very strong defense. Cape employed an unbalanced line to have this success. An unbalanced line means they shifted an offensive tackle to the opposite side of the line thus lining two tackles side-by-side on the same side of the line. This created openings for the Cape running backs, off-tackle and around the perimeter.
In this formation, Cape could create great blocking angles and double teams against the bigger stronger Fryeburg defense. From the opening drive of the game, the hosts put together an impressive 7-minute running attack that ended in the end zone on a right end sweep across the goal line. The kick for the extra point was good and Cape was on top 7-0.
Fryeburg’s first possession was a must-answer situation. The Capers moved their defenders into the middle to stop the Raider run game. The different look is also effective in confusing offensive line assignments. With Cape determined to stop the run, and in particular the running of quarterback Gunnar Saunders.
The Raiders countered by going to the air with Saunders looking deep for Bobby Hallam. Hallam pulled in a 40-yard pass that went to the 5-yard line. After a run attempt up the middle was stopped short of the goal line. Saunders sent tight end Hallam on an angle route to the back left pylon of the end zone, and fired a laser pass he caught for FA to answer to the Cape Elizabeth touchdown.
Saunders tried to run for the two-point conversion, but with Cape keying on the quarterback he was stopped at the 1-yard line. The Capers maintained the lead 7-6.
Cape responded quickly, and behind its ground attack marched down the field and scored to extend the lead to 14-6.
The Raiders had one more chance with the ball in the first half. Fryeburg found its run game along with a catch and determined run by Jordan Dutton for 19 yards, but the clock was quickly running down. The Raiders tried for one more score, but it was not meant to be as the halftime horn sounded with the boys from Fryeburg on the Cape 20.
The Raiders made some adjustments at the half and ran the ball well with the power of Hayden Fox and Jayden Victor. Owen Gallagan had a big run around right end following a clean-out block by Victor. The Cape defense was still focused on Saunders, pressuring the quarterback on every pass attempt, forcing two errant throws which were intercepted.
The second interception was a pick-six which put the game on ice for the host.
In the other Class C South semifinal, No. 1 seed Leavitt hosted and defeated No. 5 Wells in Turner, Maine, on Friday night. Leavitt (7-0) scored five first-half touchdowns to put the Warriors (5-5) away early.
The Leavitt vs. Cape final should be a great battle this Friday at 7 p.m.
In a matchup of undefeated teams at the time, Leavitt hosted and beat Cape 39-27 on Oct. 8. Leavitt led 8-6 after the opening quarter; 20-14 at halftime; and 31-21 after three frames.
In the Class C North, No. 2 Winslow will play No. 5 Hermon on Friday with the winner advancing to the Class C Championship game on Nov. 20 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, Maine.
Hermon (5-4) punched its ticket to the North finals with a 16-12 upset of No. 1 Medomak Valley (8-2) in Waterboro, Maine, on Saturday.
Winslow (7-2) walloped No. 6 Maine Central Institute (3-5) 64-6 at home on Saturday.
This leaves Wells out of the loop for the first time in many years. While Wells and Fryeburg will not play in this year’s final they both had strong seasons. This Raider team shouted out loud and clear that Fryeburg has very good football players.
Fryeburg will lose seniors Charles Campbell, Danny Darby, Tyler Day, Job Fox, Bobby Hallam, Alex Joubert, Liam Quinn, Javier Villarevia, Zach Villarevia, Mason Whitaker and Jackson Witchley to graduation in May.
Congratulations to the Fryeburg players and Coach David Turner and his fine staff for a season to be proud of.