YARMOUTH – Leavitt’s players learned to trust each other Friday night. And Yarmouth learned it’s on the right track.
Conor O’Malley ran for 55 yards on seven carries, and Leavitt rallied for a 14-7 victory over Yarmouth in a Western Class C game at Yarmouth High.
“In games like this, you learn to overcome adversity,” said Leavitt slotback Nate Coombs, who had a 2-yard touchdown run. “We overcame a bad start, some turnovers and the rain. You learn that you’re there for each other, and that showed in the second half.”
Nate Rousseau had a 4-yard touchdown run for the Hornets (2-0). The teams withstood driving rain through much of the game. There were five fumbles, three resulting in a change of possession.
“We had a tough start but a good finish,” O’Malley said. “In the first half we had some bad fumbles and we weren’t working together as a team. In the second half we worked together.”
The Hornets took the lead two minutes into the fourth quarter on Rousseau’s TD run off left tackle. The play capped a seven-play, 52-yard drive. O’Malley was the focal point of the series, picking up 32 yards on bruising runs of 9, 11 and 12 yards.
“We just needed to score, then have faith in our defense,” O’Malley said. “We punched that one in and held on from there.”
After the teams exchanged punts, Yarmouth started on its 46 with 4:23 to play. Clay Rowland snuffed the Clippers’ hopes with an interception and 25-yard return to the Yarmouth 33.
The Clippers got the ball back with 2:33 to go, but Leavitt’s defense held strong, led by nose tackle Will Parkin and linebacker Levi Morin, whose interception with 1:39 left clinched the victory.
Matt Keplinger led Yarmouth (1-1), carrying the ball 13 times for 49 hard-fought yards. Keplinger, Matt Woodbury and Thomas Lord were ferocious on defense.
Quarterback Brady Neujahr was 4 of 14 for 34 yards. He was intercepted three times.
Yarmouth got on the board first, capitalizing on a fumble recovery at the Leavitt 34. Neujahr and Keplinger led the Clippers on an eight-play, 66-yard drive that Lord capped with a 1-yard TD run. Ben Still’s point-after made it 7-0 with 8:02 to play in the first half.
Leavitt answered on the next series when Coombs capped a six-play, 61-yard drive with a 2-yard run with 5:43 in the half. The conversion kick failed, leaving Yarmouth with a 7-6 lead.
“We proved one thing: Yarmouth’s a pretty darn good football team,” said Coach Chris Pingitore. “We were excited to see where we stand in this new class, and if we stay healthy we’re as good as anyone in the conference.”