KENNEBUNK — It wasn’t just the chill in the air Friday night that provided a playoff atmosphere in the Western Class B football game between long-time rivals York High and Kennebunk High.

This one went down to the final seconds.

York’s Keelan Hynes knocked down a two-point conversion pass with 35.3 seconds remaining as the Wildcats held on to beat Kennebunk 14-12 in a tense, physical contest. Mark MacGlashing then recovered the onside kick and York improved to 2-0.

Kennebunk, now 0-2 (both losses by the same score), got the ball with 5:18 remaining, trailing 14-6, at its 26-yard line. The Rams converted two fourth-down plays and a short third-down play before finding themselves in fourth-and-1 at the York 21 with 42.6 seconds left.

There, quarterback Donovan Connor threw a perfect fade pass to Liam Studley in the right corner of the end zone to make it 14-12.

“We thought we’d catch them,” said Brian Dill, who was filling in as Kennebunk’s head coach while Joe Rafferty attended his daughter’s wedding. “They were sending their inside backers every time we had short yardage. We figured let’s throw one there.”

And it worked. Then on the conversion, Connor tried to find Jake Boothby in the back of the end zone. Boothby, who was converted from center to tight end just three days ago and stands 6-foot-6, was covered by Hynes, who stands 5-foot-7.

But Hynes, who was playing for injured starting safety Jordan Pidgeon, jumped in front of Boothby and knocked the pass down to preserve York’s two-point lead.

“Hey, I’ve been small my entire life,” said Hynes. “Having to deal with it, I think I learned some things: Just be physical and give it my all.”

Hynes figured Boothby would be the target.

“I just jumped it,” he said. “I saw it the whole way. I just made the play.”

Randy Small, coach of the Wildcats, wasn’t surprised that Hynes made the play.

“He’s a coach,” said Small. “If you word something wrong, he’s going to correct you. He’s a brilliant kid and he made a great play.”

The Wildcats again relied on their power running game to control the tempo. Junior running back Cullen McCarty gained 177 yards on 33 carries and quarterback Cole Merritt scored on two short runs – a 1-yard sneak in the second quarter and a 5-yard sweep in the fourth.

Each of Merritt’s touchdowns – the second with 9:12 remaining – was followed by a PAT kick by Trevor LaBonte.

“Cullen can be a huge force, this year and especially next year,” said Hynes. “He’s going to do whatever it takes to win.”

As, McCarty said, will his teammates.

“We believe in each other,” he said. “This was a real hard-fought battle and that’s why I’m real happy with the win.”

Small, meanwhile, doesn’t want to put too much into the win right now.

“I’m not a record guy, never have been,” said Small. “Two-and-0 is great but we’ll go break film, get better and move on. It’s nice to win, no question about it, it’s better than losing. It’s a lot more fun than losing.”

Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH


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