PORTLAND – In a state championship game between two evenly matched teams, victory is found in the details. On Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the Winslow High football team had two uncharacteristic turnovers.
“We had turnovers and they absolutely killed us,” Winslow Coach Mike Siviski said.
The first turnover, a fumble in the final minute of the first half, turned out to be the most costly. Foxcroft Academy turned that gift into a touchdown, then scored on its first drive of the second half. From there the Ponies held on for a 22-20 victory in the Class C state final.
It was the first state title since 2007 for the Ponies (11-1). Winslow (10-2) made its first appearance in a state final since losing in the 2006 Class B game.
“They’re a very nice, skilled team. A nice passing attack, solid running attack, solid line. We knew what we were up against,” Siviski said.
Foxcroft did a nice job containing Winslow’s strong running game. The Black Raiders gained 202 yards on 48 carries
“We drilled our kids so much on stuffing the run. We knew they were going to play us tough for four quarters and they did that,” Foxcroft Coach Danny White said. “Our kids just hung around and hung around and hung around enough to win the state championship.”
With the score 7-7, Winslow took over at its own 8 with 27.5 seconds left in the half. The Black Raiders were content to go in tied, but center Sean Cote and quarterback Bobby Chenard mishandled an exchange, and the Ponies recovered.
Three plays later, Donnie Boyer scored on a 1-yard run. Boyer ran in the conversion for a 15-7 halftime lead.
“The ball slipped. We were taking a knee,” Siviski said.
Added Boyer, who scored all three Foxcroft touchdowns: “That happens in all games. It’s high school football. People get lucky breaks and we’re just glad we could capitalize on it.”
The Ponies scored on their first possession of the third quarter, when Boyer’s 3-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 65-yard drive. Caleb Richard kicked the extra point to make it 22-7 with 9:24 left in the quarter.
Winslow capitalized on a turnover late in the third quarter, as Zach Guptill scored on an 8-yard run to cut it to 22-13.
In the fourth quarter, the Black Raiders used a no-huddle offense to cut Foxcroft’s lead to two points. Taking over at their 34 with 5:27 left, the Black Raiders went 66 yards in 11 plays.
Tight end Owen Dutil caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Chenard with 2:39 left, and Dylan Hapworth’s kick made it 22-20.
The Ponies then recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
“We were really proud in the second half, the way our kids came out and challenged them to get back in the game,” Siviski said.
After a scoreless first quarter, Boyer (27 carries for 101 yards) scored on a 1-yard run with 7:18 left in the half to give Foxcroft a 7-0 lead. Guptill (23 carries, 98 yards), scored on a 3-yard run with 2:15 left in the half to make it 7-7.
Ryan Rebar had seven catches for 106 yards for Foxcroft.