November 3, 2012

High school football: Birds of prey are back

The previously humbled Hawks squeeze past the Warriors and into the regional Class B finals.

By Tom Chard
Staff Writer

SOUTH BERWICK - Top-ranked Marshwood showed early on that it was going to be a different story than the last time it played Wells.

click image to enlarge

Brett Gerry is brought down – but not for long – by Wells’ Ryan Marsh (17) and Dylan Stevens (12) in Friday’s Western Class B football semifinal, won by Marshwood.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Dante Fanning tries to cut through rugged Marshwood defenders Eric Pratt (61) and Tyler Gagnon (56). Marshwood’s defense, so vulnerable earlier in the season against Wells, stiffened considerably in the rematch.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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The Hawks (9-1) pulled a little razzle dazzle on the conversion after their first touchdown.

In the end, though, Marshwood needed all it could muster to hold off Wells, 15-13, here Friday night in the Western Maine Class B football semifinals.

The Hawks will host next week's regional final against the winner of Saturday's Westbrook-York game.

Marshwood needed a little luck against the defending state champions.

A week ago, Joey Spinelli of Wells drilled a long field goal to beat Greely, 9-7, in the closing moments.

With 3:37 left last night, Spinelli was lined up for a field goal from 23 yards out. After last week, it seemed certain Spinelli would split the uprights once gain to give his team the lead. But he hit it low and wide.

The fifth-ranked Warriors got the ball back with 2:32 left after forcing a Marshwood punt, but three plays later defensive back Nick Janes intercepted.

Two first downs and the Hawks were headed to the regional final.

Just over a month ago, Wells beat the Hawks, 36-6, at Wells. Marshwood was missing two starters while a third didn't play until the second half because of disciplinary reasons. Wells had player suspensions prior to this game, but none involving starters.

"I think the biggest difference from the last game was defensively," said Marshwood Coach Alex Rotsko. "Our offense was also pretty good. We ran it in spurts."

Another difference was the hard running of sophomore running back Brett Gerry who scored both touchdowns and dragged tacklers on several runs, most notably his first, a 13-yarder early in the second quarter. Gerry finished with 132 yards on 15 carries.

"On a couple of plays, it looked like he was stopped," said Rotsko. "What a great individual effort. It's all heart."

After Gerry's first touchdown, Marshwood lined up for the point-after kick. But holder Beau Blanchette took the snap and flipped it to kicker Justin Hockney, who ran it in for 2-points.

"We saw Wells coming off the edge," said Rotsko. "We felt we could outrace them to the corner."

Wells finally got its offense moving just before halftime and scored with 1:10 left on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Gavin Snapp to Dante Fanning. The pass for the 2-point conversion failed.

The Hawks scored on their opening series of the second half. They moved downfield on the running of Gerry, Dan Lizotte and Janes. Marshwood converted a fourth-and-one from the 19 as Lizotte went four yards.

Gerry scored from the 15 on the next play. This time Hockney booted the point after, a decision Rotsko almost regretted later on.

"I should have gone for two and not given them a chance to take the lead with a field goal. I would have been very embarrassed," said the Marshwood coach.

Early in the fourth quarter, Jake Moody of Wells scored on a 73-yard run. Spinelli's point-after made it a two-point game.

Wells lost three fumbles.

"We didn't fumble all year," said Wells Coach Tim Roche. "Turnovers hurt us, but the kids did everything in their power to win the game. It's a game of inches.

Gerry said his team had more confidence in this rematch with Wells.

"I wasn't as nervous this time," he said. "We had those three players out and no one thought we could win. I think that affected us. We're Number 1 for a reason. I knew we could win this time. We're bringing back Marshwood's football legacy."

Gerry said he thought Spinelli would make the kick.

"I just didn't want to run into the kicker like I did on the point-after earlier in the game," he said.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

Twitter: TomChardPPH


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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Nick Janes crashes through the Wells defense Friday night. A fine two-way player, Janes also intercepted a fourth-quarter pass to end the Warriors’ hopes for a comeback in the Western Class B semifinal in South Berwick.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer


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