WELLS — It’s never easy or pretty when Wells High and Cape Elizabeth High play football. Physical, hard-hitting, and the winner leaves knowing he’s earned every inch.

And so it was Friday night. Wells remained unbeaten with a 14-7 victory over Cape Elizabeth, a cross-over game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds. The Warriors won with a thundering running game and an unyielding fourth-quarter defense.

“It’s a huge game,” said Wells Coach Tim Roche. “And boy, was it physical out there.”

The game wasn’t decided until Michael Wrigley intercepted a tipped pass with 38 seconds left. Wells moved to 3-0 in Class D South. Cape Elizabeth dropped to 2-1 in Class C South.

The Warriors’ defense loomed large, especially in the fourth quarter. Wells held a 14-7 lead into the final quarter, courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run by Tyler Bridge with 7:04 left in the third. Then it took everything the Warriors had on defense to hold on.

Cape, led by quarterback Andrew Hartel and running back Ryan Weare, kept coming back. But each time in the fourth, the Wells defense held up.

“We really wanted this one,” said Wells running back Nolan Potter. “It was important to us. We wanted to show we can stand on our own against a team that’s a class higher than us. We wanted to show we can play all four quarters.”

Roche credited the Warriors’ offseason conditioning with their fourth-quarter effort. “These kids just work so hard,” he said. “And I think it showed out there tonight.”

Cape Elizabeth started the fourth quarter driving toward the tying score. Soon it had a first down at the Wells 13. After a 2-yard run, the Capers were called for a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty. Hartel threw an incomplete pass, then found Jack Glanville for a 10-yard pass to the 6.

But on fourth-and-3, Hartel’s pass into the end zone to Sulayman Shir was high and the Warriors took over.

Cape forced a punt, drove again, and appeared to have a first down at the 10 on a completion, but a 10-yard chop block penalty wiped out the play, forcing a fourth-and-long. Again, Wells held.

Then Cape Elizabeth got the ball with 1:17 left at its 28. Two completions put the ball at the Warrior 44. But on second down, Hartel’s pass to Shir was tipped by Bridge and Wrigley caught it for the game-clinching interception.

“It was a good play,” said Wrigley. “I was reading the quarterback’s eyes and followed him. As soon as it was tipped, I was there.”

Wells’ running game was effective, with Potter and Bridge combining for about 170 yards, most on straight-ahead runs.

“We’re a physical team,” said Potter. “We like to try to run it down the middle. We don’t shy away from contact. We run right at them.”

Wells scored first, following a fumble recovery by Sean McCormack-Kuhman at the Cape 46, on an 8-yard run by Wrigley in the first quarter. Cape Elizabeth tied it late in the second on a 1-yard run by Weare.

“We just can’t beat ourselves,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Aaron Filieo. “We’ve got to eliminate our mental mistakes. And penalties are killing us.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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