By James Anderson
FRYEBURG — The No. 3 seeded Wells Warrior football team defeated sixth-seeded Fryeburg Academy last Friday night as both teams were vying to play in the Class C South semifinals. Wells (7-2) got out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, and although Fryeburg (4-5) battled back, the Warriors won the quarterfinal game 34-14.
The Raiders proved to be a complete football team with quarterback Calvin Southwick launching long passes downfield to Dawson Jones and Isaak McKenney leading to touchdowns for the Raiders. McKenney also had an interception.
The Raiders played the Warriors during the season in Wells with the hosts jumping out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and winning 34-13 on Oct. 18. The Warriors used a familiar formula to get the win this time.
The week before the Raiders brought some hardware home. Fryeburg went on the road and defeated arch-rival Lake Region 26-0 on Oct. 25 in the regular-season finale for both teams. The victory to only earned the Raiders bragging rights, it also meant they will be holding onto the prestigious Pleasant Mountain Cup for another year.
The Lakers (3-5) came out with a specific plan, which started with winning the coin toss, and choosing to take the ball. Phase II of their plan was to run the football with their quarterback around the parameter of the Raider defense.
The Lakers had a QB with better than average speed, and he was successful in turning the corner on sweeps to both sides of the Fryeburg defense. The Lakers marched the ball to the Raiders’ 9-yard line. Fryeburg slowed the strategy down by blitzing its linebackers, thus forcing the ball carrier deep into the backfield allowing the pursuit to track him down. With a fourth-and-goal on the Fryeburg 9, the Laker braintrust decided to change the strategy.
They chose to attempt a pass to the end zone. Isaak McKenney of the Raiders was not fooled. He stepped into the passing lane, and made the interception, ending the threat.
Now with the ball in the Raider possession they used a balanced-attack of runs and passes to move the ball against the Lakers. With Lake Region on its heels quarterback Calvin Southwick turned to handoff to Bryce Micklon. It looked as though there was a mix-up in the backfield. Southwick kept the ball, and scampered around left end 25 yards to the end zone. The extra point by steady Eddie Thurston was good, and the Raiders had a 7-0 lead.
The Raider defense continued to stop the Lakers, and when the boys from Fryeburg got the ball back they had big play football in mind. This time it was Dawson Jones who ran a post pattern to the middle of the field from the right flank. Southwick delivered a perfectly spiraling football gently into Jones’ hands, and Dawson took it the rest of the way for a 60-yard touchdown. The kick failed but the Raiders were ahead 13-0.
On the next Raider possession Jones and Southwick hooked up again on a streak route, this time from the left flank. Fryeburg had a 19-0 lead at half.
The Raiders took the second-half kickoff and began their plan of powering the football up the field using the strength of their offensive line and the power of Job Fox and Micklon while the clock ticked to move the ball.
When faced with fourth down they turned to punter Jack Campbell, who twice pinned the Lakers inside their 10 yard line.
Add to the scoreboard a 13-yard touchdown run by Southwick following the blocking of halfback Micklon, and the extra point kick by Thurston and you have a 26-0 final.
Fryeburg loses seniors Dawson Jones, Calvin Southwick, Charlie Stokes, Ethan Burk, Jack Campbell, Gary Gao and Janik Giave to graduation next May.
Played at Wells, the the playoff game was well attended by the Fryeburg football community. In fact, with the support this team received, and the way it played it is easy to argue that the Raider football team had a wonderful learning experience this past season. Congratulations men!