TURNER — Trailing in the fourth quarter, Wells High drove to the Leavitt 22 and faced fourth-and-1.

The Warriors finally seemed to have their running working, but Leavitt again figured out a way to stop it. The Hornets tackled standout running back Chris Carey for a loss, and the Warriors never threatened again.

Leavitt held on for a 14-9 win Saturday afternoon at Libby Field, earning its second straight Western Class C football championship and its fifth trip to the state finals in six years.

Carney carried 27 times for 195 yards and a touchdown. But the rest of Wells’ offense totaled 17 yards.

Leavitt (10-1) will play Friday night for the state title at the University of Maine against Winslow (10-0). It is a rematch of last year’s championship game, won by Leavitt, 47-18.

Wells finished 8-3, two of its losses coming to the Hornets.

“Somebody has to lose these games,” Wells Coach Tim Roche said. “To hold them to 14 points with the offense they have … . But give them credit for their defense. We couldn’t move the ball very well.”

Leavitt, with its spread offense, was averaging 43 points per game – including a 26-19 win at Wells on Oct. 17.

“I know our offense gets a lot of credit, but we leaned pretty heavy on the defense today,” Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway said. “Wells has a great ground game.”

Neither offense could get going on Libby Field’s muddy surface. The teams totaled more punts (17) than first downs (14).

Two big plays highlighted the first half.

Leavitt faced third-and-15 from the Wells 46 when quarterback Levi Craig heaved a pass downfield toward a double-covered Max Green. Green leaped, grabbed the ball between the two defenders and ran into the end zone. The two-point pass attempt was incomplete, and the Hornets led 6-0 with one minute left in the first quarter.

Wells did not get a first down until 1:02 remained in the half. Carney broke free for a 57-yard romp, getting caught from behind by Green at the Leavitt 17.

The Warriors reached the 8 but failed on a third-down run and settled for Ryan Marsh’s 25-yard field goal.

Craig was only 5 of 13 passing in the first half and was sacked four times. It didn’t matter to Hathaway.

“We were not going away from (passing),” Hathaway said. “This is who we are. We need to keep going at it.”

Near the end of the third quarter, the Hornets drove 60 yards – fueled by a couple first-down completions. Craig, who finished 9 for 22, capped the drive with an 8-yard run. His conversion pass to Mitchel Davis gave Leavitt a 14-3 lead with 1:43 left in the third quarter.

“He just stuck with it,” Hathaway said of Craig. “It wasn’t his best day percentage-wise, but he made some big throws when we needed them.”

Wells came back with a 65-yard drive that included gains of 26 and 13 yards by Carney, who eventually scored on a 6-yard run. Wells fumbled the handoff on the conversion try, and Leavitt’s lead was 14-9 with 11:03 remaining.

On Wells’ next possession, Carney took off down the right sideline for a 34-yard run to the 31. Leavitt adjusted, packing in its defense.

Carney gained seven more yards, but then was held to gains of two and zero, bringing up fourth-and-1.

The call, of course, went to Carney, but he was met in the backfield for a 2-yard loss.

“There were times we stepped up and times we could have gone a little farther,” Carney said. “They definitely have a good defense.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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