YARMOUTH — Cape Elizabeth got its running game going Friday night. It chewed up yardage, it chewed up the clock. And in the end, it chewed up Yarmouth’s hopes of advancing in the Western Class C football playoffs.
Jack Drinan ran 30 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Capers to a 27-14 quarterfinal win.
The fifth-seeded Capers (6-3) move on to a regional semifinal Friday night against top-seeded Leavitt, which beat Cape Elizabeth 26-7 at home in a season opener.
Yarmouth, seeded fourth, finishes at 6-3.
Yarmouth marched 71 yards on nine plays on its opening drive to take a 6-0 lead. Matt Woodbury (nine carries, 77 yards) ran off right tackle for a 19-yard touchdown with 7:55 left in the first quarter. Andrew Beatty’s point-after try failed.
But the Capers rebounded quickly.
“These guys are just resilient, not too high, not too low,” Cape Elizabeth Coach Aaron Filieo said. “In a game like this, that’s the way to be. We knew we had a good game plan, we wanted to execute, and we did.”
Cape seized momentum late in the first quarter and early in the second, running six straight times. Christian Lavallee’s 1-yard run up the gut capped the 60-yard drive, and Ben Ekedahl’s PAT gave the Capers a 7-6 lead.
Cape then put together an 11-play, 62-yard drive that consumed nine minutes. Drinan carried six times for 41 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run. Ekedahl’s kick was good, and Cape led 14-6.
“I was just running the ball really hard, the offensive line stepped it up, and holes were right there,” Drinan said.
“I wasn’t expecting to get the role I had. This game, Coach just trusted me, I guess. That feels great, especially in a big game like this.”
If not for pressure from Caelen Houle (two sacks, nine tackles), the Clippers might have answered just before halftime. Yarmouth took over on its own 34 with 14.8 seconds left. On the first play, Houle sacked Brady Neujahr (6 of 12, 142 yards, 1 TD) for a 2-yard loss, forcing a timeout with 8.1 seconds left.
Neujahr then hit Woodbury across the middle for a 23-yard pass. After another timeout, Neujahr hit Race Morrison along the right sideline for a 40-yard pickup, but Cape brought Morrison down on the 5 and time expired.
Defense was the name of the game in the third quarter. Then, two minutes into the fourth quarter, Drinan ran in from 10 yards out and Ekedahl’s kick made it 21-6. Nick Moulton added another touchdown on a 1-yard run.
In the closing minutes, Neujahr connected with Woodbury for a 26-yard touchdown pass and again for the 2-point conversion to close the score to 27-14.
“They beat us at our own (game), power football,” Yarmouth Coach Chris Pingitore said. “We just haven’t given up yardage like that all year, and I think that got in our heads.
“If Cape plays like they did tonight, they have a great chance against Leavitt.”