GARDINER — The play didn’t work the first time. But Will Ledbetter and Kaleb Cidre got it right the second time.

Ledbetter found Cidre for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 46.1 seconds remaining, lifting Windham to a 21-20 victory over Gardiner in a Class B North game Friday night.

A Gardiner last-ditch rally fell short, and the Eagles stormed the field for a long-awaited celebration, after going winless last year in Class A.

“We’ve been through a lot in the last year,” Cidre said. “Coming back and winning the game tonight, I really, really loved it.”

Gardiner had taken a 20-15 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sean Michaud with 9:22 remaining.

Down 14-8 at halftime, Windham went ahead after an interception in the third quarter. The Eagles needed seven plays to go 21 yards, as Ledbetter found Nick Garrison for a 4-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal.

THORNTON ACADEMY 27, SANFORD 13: Payton Jones returned the second-half kickoff 91 yards for a go-ahead touchdown, and the reigning Class A state champions fought off a test from the Spartans in Sanford.

Both teams scored on their first play from scrimmage. Ethan Shain gave Sanford a 7-0 lead with a 59-yard run, by Julian BaileyCottle’s 72-yard run made it 7-7 just 37 seconds into the game.

Xavier Levine put Sanford back in front with a 25-yard pass to Leyton Bickford late in the first quarter, but the Spartans didn’t score again.

After the Jones touchdown gave Thornton a 14-13 lead, Koby Gaudette threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Jones late in the third quarter. Isaac Ofielu added a 20-yard TD run midway through the fourth.

BONNY EAGLE 49, EDWARD LITTLE 6: Jacob Humphrey returned a punt 65 yards for a score and added a touchdown catch as the Scots rolled past the Red Eddies in Standish.

Keegan Meredith accounted for two TDs – one rushing, one passing – and the Scots also got touchdown runs from Zach Maturo, Nate Ferris and Nick Klein. Alex Dyer had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Cam MacDonald was 7 for 7 on extra points.

Jack Keefe threw a 17-yard TD pass to Noah Jordan in fourth quarter for Edward Little.

Meredith finished with 88 yards on nine carries and was 6 of 12 passing for 68 yards. Maturo gained 92 yards on seven carries.

BIDDEFORD 27, MASSABESIC 23: Ashton Crowell picked off Nick Roberge with under two minutes remaining to seal a win for the Tigers over the Mustangs in Waterboro.

Biddeford quarterback Marc Reali threw for two touchdowns and ran for one, all in the first half. Aidan Donovan broke a 21-21 tie with a long touchdown run in the third quarter.

Massabesic got a touchdown run from Ryan St. Laurent and TD catches by Ethan Roy and Ricky Hendrix.

CAPE ELIZABETH 24, MOUNTAIN VALLEY 6: Matt Laughlin had 226 total yards and three total touchdowns as the Capers defeated the Falcons in Cape Elizabeth.

Gannon Stewart passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns, including a 54-yarder to Laughlin in the second quarter. Stewart also ran for 105 yards.

Dylan Desroches scored in the fourth quarter for Mountain Valley on a quarterback sneak.

MT. ARARAT 56, GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER 28: Holden Brannan ran 20 times for 214 yards in the Eagles’ victory over the Patriots in an large-school eight-man football season opener in Gray.

Brannan scored three touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second quarter to help put the Eagles in control. His TD with 42.2 seconds left in the first half gave Mt. Ararat a 28-6 lead.

“With eight-man football, there’s a lot of open-field running, and some of these shifty guys are going to have a little bit of an advantage at first until the defenses catch up to it,” Mt. Ararat Coach Frank True said. “But, yeah, he had a heck of a night tonight. He’s a heck of a running back.”

Brannan added a 35-yard touchdown catch from Cam Wallace in the third quarter.

“It was unbelievable,” said Gray-New Gloucester Coach Brian Jahna. “It was hard to even get into him, and then even when you did get your hands on him he ran right through us.”

Riley Morin contributed three scoring runs, including an 8-yard touchdown on the opening possession.

Trent Overcash rushed for two touchdowns for Gray-New Gloucester, which also got TD runs from Noah Patriquin and quarterback Danny Stash.

MEDOMAK VALLEY 38, NOKOMIS 0: Drew Severson ran for 150 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore Levi Ward added another 81 yards and a pair of scores as the Panthers opened their season with a win over the defending Class C state champions, in Fairfield.

The victory avenged a first-round playoff loss to Nokomis last fall.

Severson and Ward accounted for more than two-thirds of Medomak’s 326 yards, while Nokomis was held to 162 yards.

“He had a heck of a game,” Medomak Coach Ryan Snell said of Severson, whose short run gave the Panthers a 16-0 lead late in the second quarter. “Our line was unbelievable tonight, and I think Drew would be the first one to tell you that, too. They did a great job opening up holes, and we went smash mouth once we realized we could and drove behind Drew and the other backs.

“Great night by him. He’s worked hard in the weight room all four years, and he definitely deserves it.”

About the only thing to slow the Panthers was Nokomis linebacker Ryan McAtee. McAtee thwarted a pair of short-yardage runs on Medomak’s first possession — the second of which came on a fourth-and-goal from the 3.

Medomak, though, then scored on its next four possessions.

The Panthers’ offensive line, which boasts four seniors and one junior, was so good that quarterback Zeke Hesseltine didn’t need to attempt a single pass.

MARANACOOK 14, BOOTHBAY 6: Garit Laliberte passed for 130 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 105 yards as the Black Bears won their debut in eight-man football, beating the Seahawks in Readfield.

All the scoring was in the first half. Maranacook, which dressed 18 players, got a 12-yard touchdown catch from Isac Philbrick and a 17-yarder from Joey Dupont.

Boothbay was led by quarterback Hunter Crocker, who passed for 86 yards. Mike Hollowell had 55 rushing yards and a touchdown.

TRAIP ACADEMY 56, SACOPEE VALLEY 12: Bobby Lane passed for 380 yards and five touchdowns as the Raiders won their first eight-man game, at Hiram.

Lane completed 11 of 16 passes, and also passed for six 2-point conversions. Wide receivers Trevor Fournier and Kevin McKenney combined for 287 yards and four touchdowns, McKenney returned an interception for a score, and Russell Keeler had a rushing touchdown and an interception.

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