YORK – Randy Small believes he found a football team Friday night, or at least the one everyone expected from York High.

They pounded on offense and swarmed on defense.

The Wildcats made the big and small plays, and came away with a very satisfying 20-6 victory over Cape Elizabeth.

“We just got back to old-school,” said Small, the York coach. “We were physical and we were emotional. It was how we practiced all week. We hit every day, including Thursday.”

Thomas Kinton scored on touchdown runs of 75 and 2 yards, gaining 113 overall. This was a game, he said, the Wildcats (1-1) weren’t about to lose.

“We came in with a chip on our shoulders from our last game,” said Kinton, referring to the opening loss at Marshwood. “We just had to find a way to finish. And tonight was that night.”

York’s offensive line continually opened gaping holes, allowing the Wildcats to rush for 223 yards. Its defense, paced by tackle Alex Mercurio, end Zachary Faskianos and linebacker Sean Kelly, continually beat the Capers to the punch.

“It was a good, clean, hard-fought game,” said Cape Coach Aaron Filieo. “They’re a little more polished than us at this point. In a close game like this, it always comes down to turnovers, penalties, mistakes and big plays.”

Cape (0-2) had one huge turnover, several crucial penalties and a couple of key mistakes. York had the big play.

That came from Kinton on the last play of the first quarter. He took an inside handoff from Ross Hogan and breezed through a truck-sized hole, one man to beat. One juke, a side step and he was gone, a 75-yard jaunt. Ben Lawlor’s PAT make it 7-0.

“I just heard (Hogan) audible at the line, then I was gone,” said Kinton.

Cape came back to tie it on a 14-yard pass from Connor Maguire to Ethan Murphy, who caught seven passes for 97 yards. Cam Wilson’s kick tied it with 7:09 left in the half.

But York responded with a pounding 13-play, 66-yard drive, aided at one point by one of Cape’s five offsides penalties (four resulting in first downs). The touchdown came on a 14-yard pass from Hogan to Mitchell Lee and York led, 14-7.

Again, the Capers came back, driving to the York 13. But on second down, Jordan Pidgeon knocked down what appeared to be a sure touchdown pass to Murphy. Kelly followed with a 7-yard sack on third down. A botched shotgun snap stopped the fourth down.

“That was tough,” said Filieo. “If we go in and score, it’s a whole different feeling.”

The Capers drove to start the third, but a fumbled snap was recovered by Jack Neary. The Wildcats then put together an 8-minute, 53-second drive, capped by a 2-yard run by Kinton.

“This group has been together for a while but we’ve never been able to get over the top,” said Small. “Last year we lost all our games in the fourth quarter. I thought tonight we found a football team. And that’s what it’s about. They have an incredible work ethic. They just didn’t know how to finish.”

Until Friday night.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH