PORTLAND – They saved the best for last.

In a game that remained in question until Gavin Snapp intercepted a pass five yards from the end zone, Wells held off Leavitt 21-13 to win the Class B football state championship Saturday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

“We’ve worked so hard for this,” Snapp said. “This is all we wanted and we finally got it. It was a great game.”

Indeed, after blowout victories by Western Maine schools in Class A (Cheverus) and Class C (Yarmouth), the Class B game had drama and excitement.

Wells (12-0), making its first appearance in the final since 1997, trailed 13-7 entering the fourth quarter, largely because it lost two fumbles inside the 25 and muffed a punt.

“We drove and ball and we kept not getting in,” said Wells Coach Tim Roche. “I was scared to death that we weren’t going to be able to do it.”

Wells made it 13-13 when quarterback Paul McDonough rolled left and appeared hemmed in before cutting back inside for 10 yards and a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

“We were in the wrong formation,” Roche said. “That was the wrong play when he scored. We had a kid in the wrong spot but (McDonough) still made the play. That’s what he does.”

Joey Spinelli, who was 3 of 3 on point-after kicks, made it 14-13.

McDonough then scored on a sneak from the 1 with 2:05 left. But Leavitt (11-1) wasn’t done.

Quarterback Jordan Hersom led a two-minute offense down the field, helped by an improbable one-handed catch by Ian Durgin with two defenders hanging on him to barely convert on fourth down near midfield.

A completion to Brian Bedard brought Leavitt inside the 30 with half a minute left, but Snapp’s interception with 19 seconds remaining sealed it. One knee by McDonough and the Gold Ball belonged to Wells.

“All the doubters,” McDonough yelled to Roche afterward, “all doubters, gone!”

Leavitt took a 13-7 lead late in the third quarter on a 3-yard run by Hersom. But the point-after kick fell short.

The game’s beginning signaled a sweep by Western Maine when the Warriors held Leavitt’s high-powered offense to a three-and-out on the opening drive, then needed only five plays to cover 59 yards and find the end zone.

The big play was a 46-yard pass from McDonough to Zach Deshaies, running a post pattern from the backside. From the 9, Louis DiTomasso (116 yards on 21 carries) burst over left guard, then bulled through two defenders for the touchdown. Spinelli’s kick made it 7-0 with the game not quite four minutes old.

The Warriors looked to double their lead later in the quarter after DiTomasso broke a 52-yard run up the middle, but McDonough fumbled while being sacked and Leavitt’s Jake Posik recovered at the 23.

The third drive for Wells also extended inside the red zone but also ended with a fumble. This time it was DiTomasso, trying to push for a few more yards after picking up a first down, who got stripped. Jack Griffin of Leavitt recovered at the 15.

The Hornets tied it early in the second quarter. After calling time before a third-down play near midfield, Leavitt executed a perfect reverse. Hersom and nine other Hornets ran left, drawing all kinds of pursuit. Durgin headed right, took a pitch from Hersom and ran untouched until Doug McLean’s desperate dive at the goal line proved unsuccessful to prevent a 44-yard touchdown run.

Dustin Moore provided the extra-point kick to make it 7-7.

“They hit the reverse,” Roche said. “We’re aggressive but sometimes those things happen to us. We give up big plays. The question is, can we come back from that, and we did.”

Leavitt threatened to take the lead in the final minute of the first half after a Jake Ouellette draw from his own 9 resulted in a 51-yard gain. A 15-yard pass from Hersom to Bedard brought Leavitt to the 25 and within striking distance. Hersom took a shot at the end zone to Bedard, but Wells cornerback Spinelli leaped high for his fifth interception of the playoffs.

“That’s going to be forgotten in the scheme of things,” Roche said, “but that’s a huge play for us.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH