TURNER — Calvin Southwick’s 4-yard touchdown with 1:58 to go Saturday night gave Fryeburg Academy its first regional football championship – a 20-13 victory over Leavitt in the Class C South final.

“It feels amazing,” senior guard/linebacker Reese Kneissler said. “We’ve worked so hard for this. To be at this point, it’s true elation.”

“I could not think of anyone else who I would want to win with,” said Fryeburg senior quarterback Oscar Saunders, who was 10 of 14 for 169 yards, two touchdowns and one interception passing, along with some key runs on the winning drive. “This team is incredible. They always put the team before themselves and they push each other to get better every day.”

Fryeburg, the No. 2 seed, won a Class C championship in 1963, before the current Maine Principals’ Association playoff format. It also shared a Class B title with John Bapst in 1965.

The Raiders (10-1) will face Nokomis next Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Top-seeded Leavitt ends its season at 9-2, with both losses against Fryeburg.

Leavitt lost its starting quarterback, sophomore Wyatt Hathaway, to a knee injury late in the first half with the game tied at 7. Freshman backup Hunter Hayes stepped in for the Hornets’ last possession of the half after Riley Parmenter’s interception set them up at the Fryeburg 19.

On fourth-and-12, Hayes threw over the middle to a leaping Oren Shaw for a touchdown. The PAT missed, so Leavitt went into halftime with a 13-7 lead.

“I think we started a little soft because of what happened the last time we played them,” Kneissler said. “Second half, Coach (David Turner) made some great adjustments. We dug in our heels.”

“(Hayes) threw a great touchdown, but we knew they were going to run the ball a little bit more, so we had to adjust to it,” Kneissler said.

After being burned by Damion Calder (nine carries, 64 yards) on sweeps in the first quarter, the Raiders started locking in on the Hornets’ multi-pronged running attack in the second quarter. They shut it down completely in the second half, allowing the Hornets just nine yards in the final 24 minutes.

“With (Hathaway) out, I don’t know if it changed much, but they certainly had fewer options,” Turner said. “We were more concentrated on the run.”

“It felt like there was a lot working against us,” said Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway, whose team was playing one day after the sudden death of assistant coach Pete Casey. “Everything that’s happened, plus lose your quarterback early. I just thought our guys did a good job of battling through it as best they could.”

Nathan Knapp’s interception and return to the Leavitt 36 set up Fryeburg’s tying score. From the 17, Saunders rolled right, waived receiver Caleb Bowles toward the end zone and led him there with his throw. Bowles took a hard hit as he hauled it in and managed to hang on even as he was hit just beyond the pylon. A missed extra point kept it at 13-13 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.

“I was rolling out of the pocket and the hitch wasn’t open right away,” Saunders said. “So I pointed to my receiver to go to the end zone because I felt like we could get the corner turned out a little bit. I threw a nice touch pass and he made a great catch.”

Leavitt’s defense took the Raiders’ leading rusher, Southwick (eight carries, 14 yards), out of the game. But Fryeburg won the field position battle in the fourth quarter and started the winning drive at Leavitt’s 42. After a short completion, Saunders ran on five consecutive plays from the 38 to the 4, setting up Southwick’s touchdown.

The Hornets seemed to have the emotional edge early and gained 96 of their 132 total yards in the first quarter. They took a 7-0 lead on Allen Peabody’s 1-yard run with 30 seconds left in the quarter.

Despite starting deep in its own end, Fryeburg answered just three plays into its next possession with a 78-yard touchdown pass from Saunders to Knapp.

“I thought Saunders had a great game,” Mike Hathaway said. “He made a couple of big plays in the pass game and he made some tough runs on that last drive. He was probably the difference on that side of the ball.”