CAPE ELIZABETH – Down 21-7 at halftime to Falmouth, the Cape Elizabeth football players kept telling themselves the game wasn’t over.

It wasn’t. Not with Jack McDonald pounding away at the Falmouth line and the Cape special teams coming up big.

McDonald scored on a 1-yard run with 1:28 left and the defense stopped Falmouth’s last-ditch passes to give the Capers a 24-21 victory in a Western Class B football showdown Friday night at Hannaford Field.

“We had complete confidence we could come back,” said McDonald. “This was an unbelieveable test for our team. We showed a lot of grit. When we got the safety, I knew we could pull it out.”

Cape Coach Aaron Filieo, looking for a second-half spark, inserted McDonald, the starting tackle/linebacker, at fullback.

The Capers (4-0) got the spark they needed as McDonald, at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, ran over or dragged tacklers.

“He’s been telling me he’s wanted to run the ball at fullback since last November,” said Filieo. “We used him a little last week.”

But this was different. This was a game against a quality, big-play team. Falmouth (3-1) lived up to that billing with a punt return and long pass play for touchdowns in the first half.

“I’ve played rugby since my freshman year so I know how to run with the ball,” said McDonald.

Cape Elizabeth got back into the game on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Derek Roberts to Patrick Tyler late in the third period. Tyler booted the point after to make it 21-14. The score was set up by a Kyle Snowden fumble recovery at the Falmouth 44.

Cape’s special teams and defense took over in the fourth quarter. Twice Cape pinned Falmouth deep in its territory with punts by Tyler and strong coverage.

The first punt pinned the Yachtsmen inside their 1. A bad snap in punt formation forced Falmouth punter David Goodrich to fall on the ball in the end zone as Cape piled on for a safety to make it 21-16.

After the kickoff, Cape failed to move and punted. Tyler’s punt was covered at the 7. Cape stopped the Yachtsmen on third- and-1, dropping running back Caleb Bowden for a 3-yard loss.

But on the ensuing punt, Derek Roberts of Cape tried to catch the ball on the run and fumbled with Jack Bagonzi recovering for the Yachtsmen.

“I thought that was the game,” said Filieo. “You can’t fault a kid for trying to make a play.”

But the Capers got the ball right back when Cyrus Wolfinger intercepted a Zach Alexander pass at the Falmouth 32. McDonald ripped off a 9-yard gain on first down. A 1-run plunge by McDonald and a facemask penalty against Falmouth gave Cape the ball at the 16. Two runs by McDonald brought the ball to the 2. McDonald scored on second down and Roberts then passed to a wide-open Wolfinger in the flat for the 2-point conversion.

On third down from his 19, Alexander just missed connecting with an open Goodrich down the middle, which could have put the Yachtsmen back on top. He hit two completions before a fourth-down pass was knocked away by the Cape secondary with four seconds remaining.

“We took our shots in the first half but we didn’t quit in the second half,” said McDonald. “The strength of our team is our defense. The offense started to click in the second half.”

Falmouth took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 67-yard punt return by Ryan MacDonald. Cape tied it on the ensuing kickoff when Roberts took it 92 yards up the middle. Alexander and Jack Cooleen teamed up on a 69-yard scoring pass, then on a 4-yard pass play on the first play of the second quarter to build the lead to 21-7.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]