This season, more than any before, has been about taking it one day at a time and appreciating every opportunity to step on to the field.

When the COVID-abbreviated fall sports season began in late September, some coaches and athletic directors weren’t sure it would last beyond a few days, or maybe a couple of weeks, but as of press time, the campaign has passed the one month mark, is nearing completion and from a competitive point of view, has been a rousing success.

Not only have athletes enjoyed the long-awaited opportunity to return to a form of normalcy, the contests themselves continue to be compelling.

Here’s a look back at another week full of thrills and chills:

Boys’ soccer

Falmouth’s Gus Ford (8) celebrates with Charlie Adams after Adams scored a goal against Yarmouth during the Yachtsmen’s 3-0 victory last week. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

Falmouth’s defending Class A state champion boys’ soccer team is even better in 2020 than it was a year ago.

Last week, the Yachtsmen improved to 6-0-1 after decisive shutout victories over one-time rivals Yarmouth (3-0) and Greely (5-0). At the reigning Class B champion Clippers, Charlie Adams scored twice and Gus Ford also found the net, all in the first half.

“This shows even though we lost a good amount of people last year, we can still compete,” Adams said. “We’ve wanted to play Yarmouth and beating them feels as good as beating anyone in Class A.”

“It was a lot of fun,” said Ford. “(Yarmouth’s) a really good team. I know a lot of guys over there. We like playing good teams and they’re one of the best. We’ve looked forward to playing them. We always want to get better and today, we clicked. Usually by postseason, we’re one unit and that’s still the goal this year.”

“This is a special team,” added Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “Unfortunately, the season’s the way it is, but we’ve tried to make it as normal as possible and treat games like it’s the tournament and you can do that against good teams.”

In the home win over the Rangers, the team which gave the Yachtsmen their only blemish to date (a 2-2 tie) Ford scored two more goals, while Adams, Mason Farr and Rion Dos Santos added one apiece.

“It’s been a good week for us,” said Dos Santos. “We’ve practiced a lot and we’ve figured it out. Kind of like last year. We’re playing as a unit. No disrespect, but we wanted to get back at (Greely) because we thought we were better. Playing at home, of course, is a big advantage.”

“The kids have worked hard all season,” Halligan said. “We’ve gotten better every day and that’s been our goal all year. Greely played last night and it’s tough to play us back-to-back. We played quicker and simpler and didn’t rush things tonight. We did what we practice.”

Falmouth hosted Brunswick Tuesday, then will take part next week in a four-team tournament with Gorham, Scarborough and Windham. The Yachtsmen host Gorham Nov. 5 and if victorious, will meet the Scarborough-Windham winner for the title on Nov. 9.

“It’s only two games, but anything we can have is great,” said Dos Santos. “We’ll play our best and hopefully win everything.”

He did it again. Yarmouth junior Jared Conant, with help from classmate Steven Fulton, scores a goal during the Clippers’ 7-1 victory over North Yarmouth Academy last Thursday. Conant scored a goal for the third straight season. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

Yarmouth had an eventful week of its own. First, the Clippers fell at home to Falmouth, 3-0, losing for the second time this year to the Yachtsmen.

“I thought we played well in the first half, but they were just better than us in the second half,” Yarmouth coach Hagerty said. “They’re good one-on-one. They capitalize. They get everything on frame. Give them credit. Their seniors are very good and their juniors are very good too. They’re a hard team to climb back against. I think they’re the best team in the state and they showed it tonight. Our effort was good, but we still have to play cleaner when we play faster and that team will make us play faster.”

Last Thursday, the Clippers hosted North Yarmouth Academy and rolled, 7-1, as seven different players scored. One player stole the show, however, as for the third year in a row, junior Jared Conant, who is confined to a wheelchair with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration, took the field and scored a goal.

“It means a lot to me,” said Conant. “It makes me feel like I’m part of the community and that people care about me. It really helps my self esteem.”

“Jared has such a big, happy personality,” said Barry Conant, Jared’s father and an assistant coach with the Clippers. “Everyone’s kind of jumped on his bandwagon and it’s made it easy for us to be here. It’s a tough community to be a single parent in because it’s so family-oriented, but Jared’s allowed us to find our niche here.”

“We’re excited (Jared) could play today,” Hagerty added. “(His disease) been progressing and he’s frustrated, but you’d never know it because he’s upbeat and befriends people. I’ve known him since he was in third grade and I’ve never heard him complain. He’s a great example. He doesn’t complain he can’t play or that he’s in a wheelchair. He’s easy to chat with. He’s wonderful to be with. He’s brought a really good perspective to all of us and he’s a great teammate. We’re blessed to have him.

“The guys get it. I’d like to think that everybody knows what the right thing to do is, it’s just do you have the guts to make the right choice? To embrace Jared and embrace events like tonight is the right thing to do. I’m excited that we could do it again this year.”

Saturday, the Clippers settled for a 1-1 home tie against Freeport. Steve Fulton scored the goal.

Yarmouth (5-2-1) hosts Mt. Ararat Wednesday and closes at Greely Saturday.

Speaking of Greely, the Rangers were 3-3-1 after a 3-0 home victory over Freeport and a 5-0 loss at Falmouth last week. In the victory, Lucas Goettel, Tommy Bennert and Tate Nadeau all scored. At the Yachtsmen, a day later, the Rangers fell behind early and it went downhill from there.

“We knew coming in it would be a tough task,” longtime Greely coach Mike Andreasen said. “If you lose your mark against this team, they find people. You can usually take a team’s best player out of a game, but you can’t here. They’re tough to play on a day’s rest, or a week’s rest. They play fast. They’re very skilled, they’re very technical. They’re undefeated for a reason.

“I’m wondering what kind of Herculean effort did we have the first time? My theory this year is that as tough as turf is for grass team, grass is tougher for turf teams and we saw that with Falmouth the first time.”

The Rangers were at Freeport Tuesday, host Yarmouth Saturday and close at home versus two-time Class C champion Waynflete Nov. 5.

“I’ve been wanting to beat Freeport and it would be nice to get a ‘W’ against (Yarmouth) at some point because it’s been awhile,” Andreasen said. “We get them on grass. We always have good games against Waynflete and they’re not a turf team. No disrespect meant, but none of those teams are Falmouth.”

Freeport sandwiched 1-1 ties at Mt. Ararat and Yarmouth around a 3-0 setback at Greely last week. Owen Howarth scored the only goal against the Eagles.

“It’s good to be back scoring goals again,” Howarth said. “I needed that.”

“It was a hard, physical game from both sides,” said Falcons coach Bob Strong. “When they come to our turf it’s much quicker for them, so that challenge is reciprocated for them, too.”

Cam Strong’s penalty kick with 2:18 left in regulation allowed Freeport to tie Yarmouth. The Falcons (1-3-2) hosted Greely Tuesday and welcomes Gray-New Gloucester Thursday. Freeport closes next week with games at Brunswick (Nov. 4) and at Waynflete (Nov. 7).

Two-time Class D South champion NYA won its fifth in a row last Tuesday, 3-2, in overtime, over visiting St. Dom’s, then wound up 5-3 for the season after 7-1 setbacks at Yarmouth and two-time Class C champion Waynflete. Chas Rohde scored twice against the Saints, including the winner in OT. Against the Clippers, Owen Welch scored the goal, but NYA couldn’t keep up with Yarmouth’s firepower.

“You have to play perfect against great teams and we didn’t play perfect tonight, but I was really encouraged with the second half effort,” said Panthers first-year coach Matt Williams. “We’re very young. We only lose a couple guys, so this is a great lesson for us.”

Jack Byrne had the goal against the Flyers.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, two-time reigning Class D champion NYA finished the year 6-2 after a 3-1 loss at Yarmouth and wins at Waynflete (4-1) and at home over Sacopee Valley (10-1). In the loss, Angel Huntsman scored a late goal, but it wasn’t enough.

“We had a hard time giving them a couple easy goals, but we made some adjustments and did better,” Panthers coach Ricky Doyon said. “We got sloppy early and didn’t read the game well. Those were costly mistakes, but the girls dug deep and came back.

“Playing a team from a bigger class is a good thing. I was looking forward to the game. Yarmouth’s a bigger school, but we have heart and know how to play. I’d love to play Yarmouth again. They’re very good, but when we play our game, I think we can play with any team.”

In the win over the Flyers, Huntman had two goals, while Maggie Holt and Jazzy Huntsman added one apiece. Against the Hawks, Angel Huntsman, Natalie Farrell and Hayden Wienkowski all had two goals.

“It’s been a good season,” Doyon said. “We’ve played some teams we don’t usually play. We think we would have had a good opportunity to defend our title.”

Falmouth settled for a 2-2 draw at Greely Friday and took a 3-1-2 mark into Tuesday’s game at Brunswick. The Yachtsmen host Scarborough Thursday, then take part in a four-team tournament with Gorham, Scarborough and Windham next week.

Freeport sandwiched one-goal losses last week at Mt. Ararat (2-1) and at home versus Yarmouth (1-0) between a stunning 7-3 home victory over Greely. The Falcons trailed the Rangers, 3-0, early, but got four goals from Rachel Wall and three more from freshman Rachel Panenka to completely turn the game around.

“I was a little worried at the beginning, but we had confidence and we got energy from our bench,” Wall said.  “We have a lot of younger girls who are stepping up after we graduated a big senior class. We’ve been figuring out what works best. I’m super-proud of our defense especially.”

“I just want to work hard and get that bond with my teammates who I’m not really familiar with,” said Paneneka. “It’s really exciting to play with girls who are older than me.”

“The girls showed a lot of heart and came back,” added Falcons coach David Intraversato. “There was no panic. We tightened it up and kept them off the board.”

Freeport gave Yarmouth a tough 80-minute battle, but couldn’t get on the board.

“Yarmouth’s tough,” said Intraversato. “They’re strong in the back and they have upperclassmen and their maturity shows. They’re a rival, so it was a big game for the girls. We’ve played a lot of one-goal games against them. It seems like they’re always down to the wire. We had four good scoring opportunities in this game. We played well.”

The Falcons (2-4) were at Greely for a rematch Tuesday, go to Gray-New Gloucester Thursday, then close at home next week versus Brunswick (Nov. 4) and Waynflete (Nov. 6).

“We want to win a game at Greely,” Intraversato said. “We’ll try to finish strong and keep building.”

Greely was 1-4-1 after a 7-3 loss at Freeport and a 2-2 home tie versus Falmouth last week. Against the Falcons, Katie Carlson scored twice and Kaylee O’Grady also put the ball in the net, but the Rangers surrendered seven unanswered goals.

“The first 15 minutes, we looked great,” said Greely coach Josh Muscadin. “It was amazing, like we do in drills. It was downhill from there. After that, if I could tell you what happened, I’d be the richest guy in the world. The girls didn’t even know what happened. I asked the ladies, ‘What did we learn.’ They said, ‘We thought we had it.’ I said, ‘That’s the mistake.’ We have to get together. You can’t expect the goalie to do everything. We play against dangerous teams. When you give up when you’re up 3-0, thinking you have the game, that’s the learning experience.”

The Rangers welcomed Freeport Tuesday, visit Waynflete Thursday, go to Yarmouth Saturday and close at home versus Fryeburg Academy Wednesday of next week.

Yarmouth downed visiting NYA (3-1) and host Freeport (1-0) last week to improve to 4-3. Against the Clippers, Ava Feeley scored twice, while Parker Harnett added a goal.

“I’m so grateful we get to play,” said Feeley. “We want to make the most of it for our seniors.”

“(NYA’s) a good team,” added Yarmouth second-year coach Andy Higgins. “It’s fun to see a new team you don’t see all the time. They’re a two-time defending champ and they work really hard and compete and we knew they would. They made it interesting and my blood pressure went up a little bit at the end.”

At the Falcons, the Clippers’ defense dominated, as Katelyn D’Appolonia, Noni Lorentzen, Emma Moll, Madison Williams and Gabby Thibodeau held Rachel Wall in check and Feeley scored a second half goal that stood up.

“I just got to it and had to stay composed and tucked it in,” said Feeley, of her goal.

“I was very nervous at first because I could tell they would press really hard,” Thibodeau said. “We had to stay composed and stay connected. We stepped to the ball and had a great line of communication.”

“We knew (Rachel’s) a strong player and she moves the ball really well, so we wanted to shut her down, keep one defender in front of her and one behind, so she couldn’t do much,” D’Appolonia said.

“This was a total team effort all around, from kids who played five (minutes), to kids who played 80,” added Higgins. “It was good to see. We’re finally hitting our stride and figuring things out.”

Yarmouth hosted Mt. Ararat Tuesday, welcome two-time Class B champion Cape Elizabeth Thursday, then closes at home versus Greely Saturday.

Field hockey

Yarmouth’s Olivia Bailey battles for the ball with Amelia Farrin of Freeport during the Falcons’ 5-0 win last week. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

Freeport’s field hockey team extended its win streak to eight with recent victories over visiting Yarmouth (5-0), host Cape Elizabeth (6-0) and host Gray-New Gloucester (5-1). Against the Clippers, Ally Randall had a hat trick, which gave her one in each of her four high school seasons, while Hannah Groves and Kyla Havey each rattled the cage.

“We were expecting a competitive game, because the last game (at Yarmouth) came down to the end,” Randall said. “We knew we had to be composed on defense and not be frantic and get the ball out.”

“Ally’s a fighter,” Freeport coach Marcia Wood said. “She keeps her eye on the ball. I think she’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever had. She just gets it. She made three solid on clears on defense tonight too. She has a knack to keep her stick on the ball. She works very well in small places and can get her feet out of the way.”

In the win over the Capers, Autumn Golding had a hat trick, as well as an assist. Groves, Havey and Randall each added one goal. Against the Patriots, Havey led the way with two goals. Randall, Aynslie Decker and Sydney Silva each rattled the cage once. The Falcons will say goodbye their large and extremely successful senior class next Wednesday when they host Brunswick.

“We just want to keep it together as a family, because when we’re on the field, everything around us is no problem,” said Randall. “It’s just us, playing our game and not worrying about anything else.”

“(The season) was short and sweet, but we’re happy to be playing,” Wood said.

Yarmouth fell to 4-3 last week with a 5-0 loss at Freeport. The game was much closer than the final score indicated, but the Clippers couldn’t find a way to get the ball in the cage.

“We totally believed until the last minute that we could have come back,” Yarmouth first-year coach Molly Saunders said. “It was just one of those games. We came out in the first quarter ready to go. We had a lot of close opportunities, but luck just wasn’t on our side tonight.”

The Clippers were supposed to play at Greely Monday, but that game was postponed. Yarmouth will host Greely Wednesday, hosts Mt. Ararat Friday, then visits the Rangers next Monday afternoon.

“We just want to finish strong,” Saunders said.

Greely fell to 2-4 last week after losses to visiting Scarborough (5-0) and host Cheverus (10-0). Against the Red Storm, in the teams’ first countable regular season meeting in two decades, the Rangers gave up four goals on penalty corners.

“Scarborough came out super-strong,” Greely first-year coach Burgess LePage said. “We knew they were good. We tried to adjust and I feel like we did a fairly good job. We didn’t get scored on for awhile. Their corners are so dangerous. That’s something new for us. We hadn’t played a team with strong corners yet this year. We had to adjust.”

The Rangers visit Yarmouth Wednesday, play at Scarborough Friday, host Yarmouth in a makeup game Monday and close at St. Dom’s Nov. 4.

Falmouth improved to 4-3 with wins last week at Portland/Deering (4-1) and at home over Westbrook (5-1). Against the Bulldogs, Emily Lowell had two goals while Chloe Bush and Anna Turgeon each scored once. In the win over the Blue Blazes, Sloan Ginevan scored twice, Bush, Avi Fishman and Julia Danielson had one goal apiece. The Yachtsmen finish at Morse Wednesday.

Cross country

The cross country state meets, scheduled for Nov. 11 (boys) and Nov. 14 (girls) in Belfast, will be moved, due to Waldo Country earning a yellow designation last week. For athletics, a yellow designation means practices and games are not recommended. A new location hadn’t been announced at press time.

On the course, the Southwestern Maine Activities Association held its state qualifier Saturday in Gorham.

Falmouth’s girls came in second to Bonny Eagle and qualified for the states. The Yachtsmen featured the top two individuals in Sofie Matson (18 minutes, 8.85 seconds) and Karley Piers (18:35.46).

In the boys’ race, won by Scarborough, Falmouth was second. The Yachtsmen had the top individual in Ben Greene (16:01.74).

Golf

TJ Whalen of Freeport strikes a drive during a match against Greely last week at Freeport Country Club. The Rangers won the Class A state title earlier this month, while the Falcons are the Class B champions. Eli Canfield / Times Record

The golf state championships were awarded earlier this month, which made the Greely at Freeport match last week something unique and historic. The Rangers, who won their first Class A crown in three decades, and the Falcons, who came in first for the first time, met at the Freeport Country Club and for one day at least, Class B got the better of Class A, 4-3.

“It was awesome to have this opportunity (Thursday) to go up against another top team in the state,” said Freeport senior TJ Whalen of Freeport. “We didn’t have as many matches this year for obvious reasons, so it was nice to get out here after states one last time.”

“I feel like it definitely helped to be playing the class A champions, but I executed my shots really well today,” Freeport freshman Eli Spaulding.

“It was awesome how things worked out, I don’t think two state champions have gotten together for a match after the state championship,” Freeport coach Jason Ouellette said.

“We don’t see these guys anymore, so to get together and play an old rival was a nice feeling for the team,” said Greely coach Brian Bickford.

Times Record staff writer Eli Canfield contributed to this story.

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

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