Yarmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team exults in a mass of humanity after surviving Greely, 11-10, in Friday night’s Class B state final. The Clippers won their first championship since 2009.

Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Class B state final

Yarmouth 11 Greely 10

Y- 2 4 4 1- 11
G- 2 3 3 2- 10

First quarter
10:21 G Fraser (Lawrence)
6:53 Y Heywood (Guertler)
5:07 Y Heywood (Hamm)
2:22 G Wetmore (J. Williams) (MAN-DOWN)

Second quarter
11:32 G Fraser (Wetmore)
10:06 Y Hamm (unassisted)
9:49 Y Heywood (Guertler)
7:37 Y Garrett (unassisted)
6:55 Y Guertler (unassisted)
5:22 G Fraser (unassisted)
1.5 G Fraser (Wetmore)

Third quarter
10:49 Y Garrett (Haywood)
9:55 Y Garrett (Hamm)
7:05 Y Corey (unassisted)
6:01 Y Senger (unassisted) (MAN-UP)
2:14 G Schumacher (Wetmore) (MAN-UP)
1:28 G Cornwall (Schumacher) (MAN-UP)
59.7 G Fraser (Lawrence)

Fourth quarter
8:31 G Fraser (Lawrence)
5:23 Y Hamilton (unassisted)
4:36 G Schumacher (Lawrence)

Goals:
Y- Garrett, Heywood 3, Corey, Guertler, Hamilton, Hamm, Senger 1
G- Fraser 6, Schumacher 2, Cornwall, Wetmore 1

Assists:
Y- Guertler, Hamm 2, Haywood 1
G- Lawrence 4, Wetmore 3, Schumacher, J. Williams 1

Faceoffs (Greely, 15-9)
Y- Primeau 9 of 24
G- J. Williams 12 of 16, C. Williams 3 of 8

Ground balls:
Y- 33
G- 28

Turnovers:
Y- 12
G- 17

Shots:
Y- 30
G- 28

Shots on cage
Y- 21
G- 19

Saves:
Y (King) 9
G (Gagnon) 10

PORTLAND—A decade-long title drought came to a close Friday evening, but nothing came easily for Yarmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team against Greely in the Class B state final at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

For starters, the second-ranked Clippers were without their coach, David Pearl, who was a few hundred yards away at Maine Medical Center recovering from an infection.

Fortunately for Yarmouth, two program legends and assistant coaches, Jon Miller and Sam Miller, who each won titles as players, were there to fill in and their players put forth an inspirational effort.

Which was just enough to hold off the top-ranked Rangers in a thriller that came down to the wire.

Junior Ethan Fraser gave Greely an early lead, but senior Kurt Heywood scored twice for the Clippers before a late tally from junior Schuyler Wetmore made it 2-2 after one quarter.

Fraser put the Rangers back on top, but junior Gavin Hamm, Heywood, senior Andy Garrett and senior Michael Guertler scored in succession for a 6-3 Yarmouth lead.

Greely would answer just before the half, as Fraser scored twice more to make it a one-goal contest at the break.

The Clippers got some breathing room in the third quarter, as Garrett scored twice, junior Anders Corey added a goal and with 6:01 to play, senior Connor Senger scored on a rebound for a 10-5 advantage.

But the Rangers, who lost last year’s state final in agonizing fashion to Brunswick in overtime, were far from finished.

Before the period was over, senior Will Schumacher, sophomore Chase Cornwall and Fraser all scored to cut the deficit to two.

Then, with 8:36 to play, Fraser pulled Greely within one with his sixth goal, but with 5:23 on the clock, junior Ben Hamilton scored an insurance goal from Yarmouth.

That was be huge, as with 4:36 remaining, Schumacher again made it a one-goal contest.

The Rangers had multiple chances to tie the score late in the game, but they either turned the ball over, or when they did get a look at the goal, Clippers junior goalie Spencer King made saves and Yarmouth was able to hang on for dear life and prevail, 11-10.

Garrett and Heywood had three goals apiece, King made nine saves and Yarmouth finished the season 11-4, ended the Rangers’ campaign at 11-4, won its first championship since 2009 and captured the fifth title in program history.

“It’s huge to win,” said Jon Miller, who was part of the Clippers’ first state title team in 2004. “These players heard about how Yarmouth used to win championships. They dealt with a lot of pressure. For them to come through and win this, it’s a huge reward. They deserve it. It’s massive for our program. It’s been a long time.”

First time, great game

Greely and Yarmouth High Schools reside just a few miles apart, but prior to Friday, the Clippers and Rangers had never squared off in a boys’ lacrosse playoff game.

The squads were on a collision course all season (see sidebar, below, for links to previous stories).

On April 18, in the regular season opener, Yarmouth broke open a close game with a second half surge to win, 13-4.

On May 27, the teams met again in Cumberland and this time, it was Greely that rolled to a decisive victory, 13-5.

That second win, along with a key victory over Brunswick in a state game rematch, gave the Rangers the top seed in Class B and Greely advanced by virtue of wins over No. 9 Biddeford (16-3) in the state quarterfinals and fourth-ranked York (17-9) in Tuesday’s state semifinal round.

The Clippers also won a pair of playoff games in dominant fashion, eliminating No. 7 Camden Hills, 19-3, in the quarterfinals, then ending Brunswick’s title reign in Tuesday’s semifinals, 18-6.

Yarmouth credited the Greely loss with getting it back on track.

“That loss lit a fire under us,” King said. “We knew we had stuff we had to fix. We picked up our intensity in practice.”

Greely was taking part in its third-ever state game (see sidebar, below) and was seeking its first championship in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, had played in 13 previous state finals, winning the championship in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009, but the Clippers had dropped six straight on the big stage.

Something had to give in Friday’s state final, played in front of a large and vocal crowd and when all was said and done, Yarmouth did just enough to return to the pinnacle.

Greely senior faceoff specialist Jackson Williams won possession for his team to start the contest and after Cornwell shot high, Williams missed just wide and Williams was denied by King in front, the Rangers forced a turnover and junior Andrew Lawrence set up Fraser for the game’s first goal with 10:21 remaining in the first period.

After Greely junior goalie Sawyer Gagnon denied Hamm, the Clippers would answer with 6:53 on the clock, as Guertler rushed in and dished to Heywood, who finished.

With 5:07 left in the frame, again in transition, Hamm fed Heywood to put Yarmouth ahead for the first time.

The Clippers went man-up as well and senior Griffin Primeau won the faceoff, but Guertler missed wide, Senger shot high and Hamm had a shot deflected wide.

Yarmouth went man-up again for two minutes, but after Guertler was denied, the Rangers would tie the score man-down, as Jackson Williams drew the defense and fed Wetmore on the doorstep for a shot which King couldn’t stop to make it 2-2 with 2:22 left.

After Gagnon denied Clippers senior defenseman Jake Rogers late in the frame, the first period ended deadlocked.

There wouldn’t be much separation in the second quarter either.

Rangers sophomore Chris Williams won the opening faceoff and 28 seconds in, Wetmore fed Fraser for a 3-2 lead.

That would be prove to be Greely’s final advantage of the evening.

Yarmouth’s defense would spark the tying goal, as senior James Hook intercepted a pass and got the ball to Hamm, who weaved through the defense, then finished unassisted with 10:06 on the clock to even the game for the third and final time.

After a Primeau faceoff win, Guertler set up Heywood for the goal which put the Clippers ahead for good, 4-3, 17 seconds later.

“I owe it all to the fastbreak that Michael created,” Heywood said. “It left me all alone with the goalie. He shut me down last time and I wanted revenge.”

“I think the attack was fantastic at working off-ball,” Guertler said. “We just fed them.”

After Gagnon denied Hamm, Yarmouth went up by two with 7:37 left in the half, as Garrett got the ball in front, faked, then one-handed a shot between Gagnon’s legs.

Jackson Williams won the ensuing faceoff and raced in for a shot which King denied and at the other end, after a nice dodge, Guertler scored with 6:35 remaining to make it 6-3, capping a 4-0 run.

The Clippers weren’t able to build on that momentum, as the Rangers roared back before the break.

With 5:22 left in the half, Fraser won a contested ground ball, then fired it past King.

Yarmouth had chances to answer, but Hamm had two shots saved and Senger hit the post.

As time wound down in the half, Wetmore was denied by King, but Greely kept possession and with 1.5 seconds showing, Wetmore threaded a pretty pass to Fraser, who scored again and the Rangers were only down by a goal, 6-5, at halftime.

In the first half, faceoffs were even, 6-6, and the Clippers held a 19-14 shots advantage, but seven Gagnon saves kept the contest close.

Yarmouth then started fast in the second half, but couldn’t build an insurmountable lead.

Jackson Williams won the faceoff to start the third quarter, but Greely turned the ball over and with 10:49 to go in the frame, senior middie Ashanti Haywood, who was huge clearing the ball all evening, set up Garrett for the first goal of the half.

After Primeau won the ensuing faceoff, Hamm found Garrett for another goal and an 8-5 lead with 9:55 showing.

After Jackson Williams and sophomore David Kenney missed shots and Schumacher had a shot saved, the Clippers went back on the attack and with 7:05 remaining, Corey scored on a low rocket for a four-goal advantage.

Yarmouth added one more goal, man-up, as with 6:01 on the clock, Garrett had a shot saved by Gagnon, but Senger was there to put home the rebound for a 10-5 lead.

But it was far from enough.

Greely began its comeback with 2:14 left in the third, as man-up, Wetmore found Schumacher for a goal.

The Rangers got the ball back, went man-up again and with 1:28 remaining, Schumacher found Cornwall for a goal.

After Jackson Williams won the ensuing faceoff, the Lawrence-to-Fraser connection hooked up again with 59.7 seconds on the clock and Greely was only down by two, 10-8, heading to the final stanza.

Where things would be very interesting right until the final horn.

The Rangers crept within a goal with 8:36 left, as after a turnover, Lawrence fed Fraser for his sixth and final goal.

Greely had a chance to tie the score after another Jackson Williams faceoff win, but Fraser missed wide.

Yarmouth then rediscovered its offense with 5:23 to go, as Hamilton bounced a shot past Gagnon for an 11-9 lead.

It didn’t last, as after another Jackson Williams faceoff victory, Lawrence found Schumacher, who finished with 4:36 to play and the Rangers were within one again.

From there, the Clippers had to hang on by their fingertips.

After Chris Williams won the ensuing faceoff, Greely turned the ball over as Hook pounced on a loose ball.

Yarmouth gave the ball back and with 1:59 remaining, Wetmore looked to tie it, but his shot was blocked.

The Rangers got the ball back with 1:11 left and out of a timeout, got a good look, but King robbed Lawrence.

“We were ready for (their offense) and we knew what to do,” King said. “The defense did a great job all night getting hands on sticks and keeping shots outside. It was a team effort on defense.”

Greely had another chance, but an illegal screen with 26.7 seconds on the clock took it away.

The Clippers managed to get the ball into its offensive zone before turning it over with 7.8 seconds showing.

That allowed the Rangers a chance to heave the ball down the field, where they hoped for a miracle shot to force overtime.

And that hope wasn’t unfounded, seeing that very thing happened to Yarmouth in its loss at Cape Elizabeth April 23, when the Capers completed a length-of-the-field pass and scored just before the final horn to force overtime, where they eventually prevailed.

The Clippers didn’t let history repeat itself.

With its defense locking down Greely’s attack, the ball landed untouched and bounced behind the goal where King ran it down and at 6:54 p.m., the final horn sounded and Yarmouth celebrated its 11-10 victory.

“It’s indescribable,” King said. “It’s something I thought about since picking up a lacrosse stick. We’ve been close before, so to win one is amazing. We know we’re a storied program. We wanted to get us back to where we should be and we’re glad to do that.”

“Words can’t describe how this feels,” Heywood said. “We’ve worked so hard all season. We were in a slump when we played them last time. We came out with confidence this time because we felt like we had more to show than last time. We came in understanding we’d have runs and so would they. We had to keep the mindset that it was ours to win and we couldn’t let them take it from us. The defense was clutch all night. I’m so proud of the whole team. When the final buzzer sounded, I’ve never felt happier. This is just a great feeling to win senior year.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Guertler said. “We’ve worked for this all year and the seniors, for four years. To finally reach the top of the mountain is an incredible feeling. We weren’t confident (last meeting). Tonight, we moved the ball around and we were hard to beat. We played fast and loose like we love the game. Credit to Greely. They never gave up. They’re a tough team.”

“Lacrosse is about momentum and fortunately, we were able to hang on by one goal,” Miller added. “We’ve been on both sides of that situation before. We kept reminding the guys how much time was left. We made some mistakes toward the end of the game that gave Greely possessions that led to goals against us, but fortunately, we made enough defensive stops at the end to win.”

The Clippers got goals from seven different players, as Garrett and Heywood each scored three times and Corey, Guertler, Hamilton, Hamm and Senger all tickled the twine once.

Guertler and Hamm assisted on two goals, while Haywood had one assist.

King came up big with nine clutch saves.

“Spencer is an incredible goalie,” said Guertler. “Our defense is hard-nosed. They came up huge tonight.”

“The defense and Spencer came up huge,” Miller said. “We game-planned against Greely’s offense. They’re really good at cutting off-ball.”

Yarmouth had a 33-28 edge in ground balls (Hook led the way with six, sophomore Wyatt Sullivan collected five and Garrett had four), enjoyed a 30-28 shots advantage (21-19 on cage) and only committed a dozen turnovers.

Following the win, the Clippers made a quick trip to Maine Medical Center to present the trophy to Pearl, who said in a text following the game that he was “feeling better already.”

Yarmouth said that they kept their coach in their thoughts throughout.

“There was talk of doing it for (Coach),” King said. “He loves us like his sons and we love him like a Dad. He’s a great coach.”

“Coach has been our leader all year and we know he was here in his heart tonight,” Guertler said. “Give credit to the coaching staff. They were fantastic all year.”

“Coach Pearl brought us here and deserves a lot of credit,” Miller added. “He tried the best he could to get out (of the hospital), but he couldn’t make it. We brought it home for him.”

So close, again

Greely got a superb effort from Fraser, who had six goals. Schumacher added two goals and Cornwall and Wetmore each finished with one.

Lawrence had four assists, Wetmore had three and Schumacher and Jackson Williams one each.

Gagnon made 10 saves.

Chris Williams and Jackson Williams helped the Rangers win 15 of 24 faceoffs.

Jackson Williams also had a game-high 11 ground balls, as he capped his sensational time in a Greely uniform with a heroic effort.

“Jackson did a lot for us for four years,” said Greely coach Mike Storey. “He’ll surely be missed.”

The Rangers committed 17 turnovers.

“We didn’t take care of the ball our last few possessions to complete the comeback we needed,” Storey said. “(Yarmouth) got momentum in the middle of the game and we just came up a little short. As a program, we don’t worry about the score or what’s happening, but the next moment, putting a complete game together and doing the best we can. Yarmouth did a better job. We broke down on our defensive assignments at times and that allowed them to gain momentum.”

Greely loses only four seniors and with plenty of talent returning, will make another run at an elusive championship.

“I feel a responsibility to the seniors for letting them fall short, but I’m proud of the team, they did a great job,” Storey said. “Next year is a new beginning. It won’t be the same group of guys. We do have a lot of younger talent. The goal is to build a program, not a single winning team.”

Back for more

Yarmouth graduates 11 seniors, but the Clippers also return a lot of firepower on offense and King will be back in goal.

Yarmouth will be loaded for bear to make another title run in 2020.

“I’d love to win it again,” King said. “This feeling is amazing. It’s a perfect way to send these seniors off.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Yarmouth senior James Hook does everything in his power to wrest the ball away from Greely senior Jackson Williams.

Greely junior Ethan Fraser celebrates after scoring a goal just before halftime.

Yarmouth junior Anders Corey, left, and junior Ben Hamilton celebrate the Clippers’ final goal.

Yarmouth seniors Ashanti Haywood (13) and Cole Buchanan (28) rush the field at the final horn.

Brothers Jon Miller, left, and Sam Miller watch the action. The Millers, former Yarmouth standout players, filled in for David Pearl, who wasn’t able to coach Friday due to illness.

Junior goalie Spencer King and his teammates show off their new hardware.

Yarmouth players celebrate the win with the Clippers’ fan section.

Yarmouth coach David Pearl, who missed the game with an infection, kisses the championship trophy after the Clippers presented it to him at Maine Medical Center following the game.

Courtesy Yarmouth athletics.

Previous Greely stories

Season Preview

Yarmouth 13 Greely 4

Greely 11 Brunswick 8

Greely 13 Yarmouth 5

Previous Yarmouth stories

Season Preview

Yarmouth 13 Greely 4

Cape Elizabeth 8 Yarmouth 7 (OT)

Yarmouth 13 Kennebunk 5

South Portland 13 Yarmouth 12

Yarmouth 10 Falmouth 4

Greely 13 Yarmouth 5

Yarmouth 12 Waynflete 5

Yarmouth 18 Brunswick 6

Previous Yarmouth state game results

2017
Cape Elizabeth 16 Yarmouth 7

2016
Falmouth 13 Yarmouth 9

2015
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 5 

2014
Cape Elizabeth 6 Yarmouth 3 

2013
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 4

2010
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 6

2009
Yarmouth 12 Cape Elizabeth 9

2008
Yarmouth 9 Cape Elizabeth 4

2006
Yarmouth 8 Kennebunk 5

2005
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 6

2004
Yarmouth 11 Cape Elizabeth 6

2003 
Cape Elizabeth 9 Yarmouth 8 (OT)

1996
Cape Elizabeth 11 Yarmouth 10 (OT)

Previous Greely state game results

1996 Division II
Greely 8 Mt. Blue 7 (OT)

2018 Class B
Brusnwick 14 Greely 13 (OT)