Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By JAMES PATRICK Special to the Telegram
YORK - The Western Class B football regular season standings finished about as muddy as Sean Kelly's uniform Saturday.
Kelly and his York teammates stopped red-hot Wells 19-14, helping to create a three-way tie for second place in the class.
By virtue of tiebreakers, York (6-2) took the No. 3 seed for the playoffs, which start next weekend.
None of that mattered to Coach Randy Small and Kelly after the Wildcats won in wild fashion.
With his team gathered around him after the game, Small told his players he didn't know who they would play in the first round of the playoffs but he knew one thing: "We've got another home game."
They almost didn't.
Wells took possession at its 3 after stopping a long York drive with 3:12 remaining.
The Warriors (6-2) made it to the York 46 with 2:28 left thanks to a 14-yard run by Dante Fanning.
Five plays later, on a third- and-7, Jake Moody shot up the middle to the York 9.
Then, as they did so often Saturday, the Warriors took themselves out of the game.
A false-start penalty backed them to the 14. On second-and- goal, Gavin Snapp's pass over the middle was tipped by his own receiver and intercepted by Jordan Pidgeon.
York took a knee to finish the game.
Kelly, a defensive lineman and running back for York, couldn't stop smiling.
There was mud in his hair and on his face. A large chunk of grass was stuck in the top of his helmet.
Not that he cared. He had a sack to slow Wells on its final drive and ran for 114 yards to help the offense. York quarterback Ross Hogan completed just four passes, but two went for touchdowns.
"You think the grass looks all right but it's impossible to cut on, which can work to your advantage," Kelly said. "My offensive line was amazing. I wouldn't have had any yards if it wasn't for them."
Small also cited the work of fullback Thomas Kinton clearing the way in front of Kelly.
Leading 19-14 with 47.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter, York embarked on what could have been a game-clinching drive, aided by a pair of 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Wells and a facemask call to boot.
The Wildcats started at their own 5 and finished nearly 10 minutes later at the Wells 3.
Kelly led the way, carrying 2 times on the 19-play drive, literally diving into tacklers and trying to power forward for yardage.
"To be honest, it's my style," Kelly said
"Coach doesn't always love it but I want to show the kids coming at me that they're going to get hit."
"I wouldn't want to try to tackle him, not consistently," Small said.
The task of tackling Kelly will fall to the winner of Saturday night's game between Cape Elizabeth and Mountain Valley in the first round of the playoffs.
Wells, the defending state champion, will be seeded fourth and play on the road against top-ranked Greely.