FALMOUTH – Last spring, when Westbrook chose to drop from Class A to Class B in football, the Blue Blazes were hoping for a game like the one they played Friday night.

With a gutsy, determined effort, they achieved something the program hadn’t achieved in a long, long time: making the playoffs for one, and now a playoff win.

The Blue Blazes scored with 1:50 left on a 1-yard run by fullback Graham Strondak to regain the lead and then held off Falmouth for a 12-7 quarterfinal victory.

“We didn’t have too many moments like this in Class A,” said Westbrook Coach Jeff Guerette. “We’ve developed an identity of playing hard in the fourth quarter. It was a great effort.”

The Blazes’ refuse-to-lose attitude carried them to their fourth straight win. Losers of its first three games, No. 5 Westbrook (5-4) will play at top-ranked Wells (9-0) Friday in a regional semifinal.

One of those first three losses was to Wells, 27-14 in Week 2.

This game was scoreless for three quarters, a sharp contrast to their regular-season game two weeks ago that Westbrook won, 28-25.

Falmouth threatened to score just before halftime. A couple of passes in the end zone came close. One was nearly caught in a juggling act. The other slipped through the receiver’s hands and was intercepted by Westbrook junior Aaron Duncanson. It was one of two interceptions he made.

Westbrook finally broke the deadlock, taking advantage of a Falmouth fumble that was recovered by Magnes Lewis near midfield late in the third quarter.

In a drive overlapping the third and fourth quarters, the Blazes’ ground game started to click.

With Strondak, halfback Kyle Heath and quarterback Terry Webber gaining good yardage, the Blazes drove 54 yards in 10 plays. Heath scored from the 4 with 9:14 left. Westbrook failed on the 2-point conversion rush and it was 6-0.

But not for long.

The No. 4 Yachtsmen (6-3) came right back. They needed only seven plays to cover 65 yards and take a 7-6 lead. The key plays were a Matt Kingry pass to Aaron Rogers on first down for 18 yards. Two plays later, Kingry avoided a heavy rush to run for 19 yards to the 19. After a first down at the 7, Will Sipperly sliced his way into the end zone on first down. Joe Goodrich’s point-after made it 7-6.

The Blazes weren’t done. Starting at their own 43, they scored in 10 plays. On third down from the 35, Webber ran for 18 yards.

Moments later Strondak had his team in front for good.

Falmouth got the ball with 1:44 at its 40. Kingry passed to Rogers for 10 yards, but a holding penalty on the next play pushed the Yachtsmen back to the 35. Duncanson intercepted with 1:11 left. Falmouth got the ball back for one last play with 1.3 seconds. The game ended with the Blazes gang tackling the ballcarrier after a short run.

“This is the best feeling,” said Strondak. “We were only winning one or two games a season in Class A. This is amazing.”

Nearby his teammates were celebrating with the student section of the stands.

Webber finished with 93 yards on 17 carries while Strondak had 88 yards on 21 carries.

“Westbrook played their hearts out,” said Falmouth Coach John Fitzsimmons. “But I think we earned Westbrook’s respect with the way we played too.”

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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