Friday, December 6, 2013
By MARK JEANNERET/Special to the Telegram
SACO — Andrew Libby ran for three touchdowns, including a 46-yarder late in the fourth quarter, to lift Thornton Academy to a 42-34 victory over Kennebunk in a Western Class A quarter final game played Saturday.
Libby’s third touchdown, scored with 5:49 left in regulation, provided some breathing space for the second-seeded Trojans (8-1), who were challenged throughout by a Kennebunk (5-4) squad making its first post season appearance since 2007.
“That was a good touchdown,” said Libby. “That’s what we call checkmate, to end the game.”
The score didn’t exactly end the game, but it did give the Trojans a 14-point lead.
The Rams kept the pressure on by responding to the score on the next series. Quarterback Nick Emmons maneuvered his squad downfield and connected with Larson Coppinger on a 5-yard touchdown pass to bring the Rams back to within eight with 2:48 left. A failed two point convert, the third of the day for Kennebunk, kept the Trojans ahead 42-34.
Kennebunk didn’t get a chance to tie as the Trojans held possession until time expired.
“We gave them everything we had, it just didn’t work out in the end,” said Kennebunk Coach Joe Rafferty. “They’re an outstanding team, no doubt about it.
“I thought we gave them a lot of field position, in the first half in particular, and that didn’t help us a whole lot. That’s not a good thing to do against a great team.”
The Trojans will now face No. 3 Scarborough (7-2) in the regional semifinals next Saturday.
Kennebunk struck first in the game when it capitalized on a fumble by TA’s Nick Kenney at midfield.
The next play from scrimmage Tyler Elkington took off on a 47-yard run to bring the ball down to the Trojans’ 6 yard line. Nicco Delorenzo completed the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to give the visitors an 8-0 lead, after a successful two-point conversion.
Thornton Academy answered on its next possession as Dylan Morton scored on a 33-yard run. Eric Christensen passed to Andrew Libby for a two-point convert and the game was tied at 8-8.
The back-to-back scores provided a glimpse of what turned out to be an offensively-charged opening half.
The Trojans scored on each of their next four possessions, including touchdowns runs of 2 and 6 yards by Libby.
The Rams countered with scores on their final three possessions of the half to stay within striking distance. Two of the scores were set up by good kick-off returns, including an 84-yard return by Delorenzo that set up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Emmons to Hank Lapham.
The Trojans led 35-28 at the half. Defense took over in the second half.
“Both teams made a lot of plays (in the first half),” said Thornton Academy Coach Kevin Kezal.
“We turned the ball over in the first half and gave up a bunch of big plays defensively. In the second half we needed to take better angles, stay behind the ball in the pass game and be better on special teams.”