The big story for Cape Elizabeth visiting Freeport on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26, was their decisive, 56-12 victory – a diverse, eight-TD performance that included four passing scores by QB Jack O’Rourke – to remain undefeated and atop the standings in B South.

Cape head coach Aaron Filieo was satisfied with his boys’ performance, saying simply, “I like our balance. We were able to make some big plays.”

The big story for the struggling Falcons, who’ve yet to earn a win this season, was just how well they played at times – particularly through the first quarter, from which they actually emerged with a 6-0 lead.

“It means a lot,” said Freeport head coach Paul St. Pierre of his boys’ first quarter play. “We’re realistic; we kinda knew we’d probably lose this one at the end of the day. But we stressed this week, there’s still a lot of value in these games, and even though we’re playing a team that’s ranked No. 1 right now, we had to show some grit.”

The win moves the No. 1 Capers to 4-0 on the year; while Yarmouth remains unbeaten as well, their Crabtree index is roughly a dozen points lower than Cape’s, sticking them in second. Cape will host seventh-place Mountain Valley (1-3) in Week 5.

The 0-4 Falcons occupy ninth at the moment, one slot ahead of last-place Lake Region (also 0-4) and one slot back from Fryeburg (1-3). Freeport gets another chance to get in the win column when they host the Raiders next Saturday, Oct. 3.

The Falcons played with impressive grit through the first 12 minutes of their run-in with the Capers on Saturday. Their defense stopped an extremely versatile Cape attack on its first two possessions, and in between put up the game’s first six points.

A battery of short runs by Max Doughty and Josh Burke helped give Freeport the yardage they needed to get within striking distance, as did a Cape facemask penalty. QB Eli Fox sealed the deal with a beautiful 13-yard bullet up the middle to Brady LaFrance.

“The kids are starting to believe in themselves,” said St. Pierre. “Their heads were up. They’re playing with a lot more pride. I think we’re starting to find what we do well. Guys are starting to fit into their roles.”

Filieo, like any good coach, acknowledged that some things went wrong, especially in the early going.

“I wanted to see us sustain a drive,” he said. “We were puttering around here and there, making some mistakes; it just got a little sloppy.”

Filieo also juggled strategies – a process of experimentation – early in the game, explaining in part his boys’ slow beginning. But he directed high praise at the Falcons as well:

“We were trying some things at the beginning of the game,” he said, “some things we feel like we’re going to need going forward, so it was a little tough to get started – and, [Freeport] played inspired. That’s what I just told the guys: They have to be prepared for every team to play inspired.”

Cape settled into their dominating ways as the game progressed, though, gradually dousing the Falcons’ fire. They tied the score in the second on an O’Rourke slot-shot to Matt Graham for a 22-yard TD and grabbed the lead when Ben Ekedahl nailed the PAT kick. The Capers jumped further ahead in the second on a 39-yard O’Rourke hookup with Brett McAllister and a successful two-point conversion from O’Rourke to Justin Guerette.

Freeport hindered themselves a little, too. Perhaps their exuberance, perhaps their nerves, caused them to make a couple questionable decisions as the second half wound down. With roughly seconds to play before the break – when the Falcons should probably have taken a knee and regrouped – O’Rourke intercepted a Fox pass, then immediately turned around on offense and whipped a 60-yard TD throw into Ekedahl’s hands.

Then, with 13 seconds remaining – when, again, Freeport should probably have knelt away the time to cut their losses, to recapture their poise – Fox found himself instead stripped on a drop-back. Caper Henry Shroder recovered, giving O’Rourke the chance to scramble 35 yards for a rush TD. 29-6 at the buzzer.

“We tried a couple new things this week, a couple new schemes,” said St. Pierre, “that fit more to our team, and it really worked out. Up until the last minute of the second quarter, it was 15-6 – we’re right in that. The big play is still what gets us.”

“I give it to their quarterback,” said St. Pierre of O’Rourke. “For him to step up and throw a 60-yard pass right on the money, and then just Johnny Manziel it all the way to the end zone, that’s just a kid saying, ‘I wanna get it in.’”

Cape continued to pull away in the latter quarters. O’Rourke connected a five-yard lob to Ekedahl for a sweep left and 36-6; Nate Ingalls returned an interception on Fox 75 yards for 42-6; and Jeb Boeschenstein, having taken over for O’Rourke at QB, notched a one-yard sneak for 48-6.

Filieo nodded to a number of his boys’ contributions. “Jack was able to make some big plays, and I thought our receivers did a good job of getting open. Our fullbacks ran the ball well, and our offensive line eventually got going.”

The Falcons did score again: Burke, the team’s backup QB, saw time at the helm in the late going, and made the most of it, launching a gorgeous bomb up the middle to TJ Morrill, a recent – but highly talented – addition to Freeport’s short roster. Morrill escaped all coverage for a 63-yard score and 48-12.

Cape answered three minutes later with one final touchdown, a 70-yard Alex Depke breakaway run to drop a cherry atop a sweet afternoon.

Freeport’s Eli Fox reels in a kickoff against Cape Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon.Caper Justin Guerette charges forward, waiting for an incoming pass from QB Jack O’Rourke.Freeport’s TJ Morrill returned to the field against Cape Elizabeth after exiting the team’s previous game, versus Gray-New Gloucester, with an injury. Morrill added the Falcons’ second TD, a 63-yard pass score from backup QB Josh Burke.Cape QB Jack O’Rourke runs left under pressure at Freeport on Saturday afternoon.Caper Ben Ekedahl strongarms away a Freeport would-be tackler. Ekedahl had two TDs for Cape in their 56-12 win over the Falcons on Saturday.Freeport’s Kyle Campbell lines up before the snap against visiting Cape Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon.Caper Brett McAlister heads to the turf on the attack at Freeport on Saturday. McAlister added a 39-yard pass TD in Cape’s 56-12 win over the Falcons.

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