YARMOUTH — Lost amid the weekly stunning offensive outputs by Yarmouth High’s football team is the fact that the Clippers play pretty good defense, too.

And on a day when the Clippers were held well below their average of 38.7 points per game, their defense once again rose up.

Yarmouth forced three turnovers in the red zone in the first half Saturday to beat Traip Academy 14-0 for its second consecutive Western Class C championship.

The Rangers lost fumbles at the Yarmouth 14 (recovered by Bryce Snyder) and Yarmouth 4 (recovered by Bart Gallagher), then had a pass intercepted at the Yarmouth 4 (also by Gallagher).

“People forget we can play defense, too,” said Jim Hartman, the only coach in Yarmouth’s five-year history.

In winning its 23rd consecutive game, top-seeded Yarmouth (11-0) advanced to the Class C state title game Saturday against Eastern champ Bucksport at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium, the game time to be determined by the Maine Principals’ Association.

The second-seeded Rangers (8-3, with two losses to Yarmouth) rushed for 309 yards. But only 75 came in the second half, when the Clippers kept making adjustments to slow down Traip’s power running game.

“They run a very difficult matchup for us,” said Hartman, noting that the Rangers lead with two blocking backs on every play.

Early on, those backs were blocking the Yarmouth linebackers, opening huge holes for the backs, especially junior Cory Aldecoa, who rushed 33 times for 233 yards. “We had to change what we did with our tackles two or three times during the game,” said Hartman. “We made the adjustments to take out the two backs coming at us.”

And it was in the red zone, that area of the field inside the 20s, where the Clippers were most stout.

On its second drive, Traip drove to the Yarmouth 13. But on second down, quarterback Matt Clifford fumbled as he fought for extra yardage, with Snyder catching the ball in midair before rolling out of bounds.

Caleb Uhl (173 rushing yards) raced 62 yards on the first play after the fumble. Four plays later, Anders Overhaug (104 rushing yards) scored from the 7. Snyder’s kick made it 7-0 with 2:24 left in the first.

Traip responded by driving to the Yarmouth 4. But on second down, Tyler Nay fumbled and Gallagher recovered at the 8.

Traip stopped the Clippers and drove to the Yarmouth 17. But on third-and-13 from the 22 following a motion penalty, Gallagher intercepted a pass at the 4.

“That’s what we do,” said Overhaug, a linebacker who twice ran down Traip backs to save touchdowns. “We have a defense that sort of bends but doesn’t break. We come up with a lot of turnovers and stops when we’re in the red zone. We just stiffen up when our backs are against the wall.”

“You can’t have the turnovers or mistakes down there,” said Traip Coach Ron Ross. “And that’s what we did today. It should have been 21-7 at the half, in my eyes, but it wasn’t.

“We can keep saying that, but the better team won today.”

Yarmouth scored on its first series of the third quarter, a 5-yard run by Uhl. The Rangers wouldn’t threaten again.

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH