Eli Spaulding and his Freeport teammates made history this fall, winning a golf team title for the first time. File photos.

The 2020 fall sports season was truly one of a kind.

For starters, it took awhile for the season to even get the green light from the Maine Principals’ Association and various state agencies and once games began, COVID-19 precautions were front and center.

While football and volleyball weren’t permitted to play a countable, varsity schedule this fall, cross country, field hockey, golf and boys’ and girls’ soccer got the go-ahead.

The games themselves were the real deal and there were ample highlights.

Golf had a very short season, but was the only fall sport which was able to hold a postseason and that postseason was historic and triumphant (see below).

Cross country saw both Falmouth, Maine Coast Waldorf and Yarmouth teams, as well as the Freeport girls’ and Greely boys’ squads, qualify for the state meet. Falmouth’s Ben Greene and Sofie Matson, Greely’s Sam Wilson and MCW’s Olivia Reynolds all won their respective conference championships and would have had a great shot to add a title at the state level, but unfortunately, less than a week before the state meet was scheduled to be held, it was cancelled due to a rise in COVID cases and a new requirement for runners to wear masks while competing.

Field hockey featured senior-laden Freeport winning every game but one in its 10-game season and Falmouth (4-3), Greely (2-6) and Yarmouth (5-4) putting very competitive teams on the field as well.

On the pitch, the defending Class A champion Falmouth boys served notice that they would have had a great chance to repeat, blanking rival Yarmouth on two occasions along the way. The Yachtsmen produced a landmark win for their coach, wound up 8-1-1 and both blemishes featured a dose of controversy. Reigning Class B champion Yarmouth was solid as well (going 7-2-1), while two-time Class D South champion NYA posted a record of 5-3. Freeport (2-6-2) and Greely (4-5-1) made life difficult for the opposition as well.

On the girls’ side, two-time Class D champion NYA wound up 6-2 and would have had a great chance to three-peat, were it a normal season. Falmouth had a record of 4-4-2 against some of the best Class A South teams around. Yarmouth finished a solid 6-3. Freeport (4-5-1) and Greely (2-6-1) might have produced the most memorable game of the year.

A season like no other is in the books and hopefully by next fall (if not before), high school sports (and life) will return to normal.

There were some unforgettable moments this autumn and here’s one final look at the best of them:

Michael’s top five stories

5) Freeport’s seven-goal turnaround

On the evening of Oct. 22, host Freeport dug a quick three-goal hole against Greely and then rallied in spectacular fashion. The Falcons erased the deficit before halftime, as two goals apiece from senior standout Rachel Wall and two more from freshman phenom Rosie Panenka produced a 4-3 lead. Freeport wasn’t finished, as Wall scored twice more in the second half to give her four goals in the game, while Panenka found the net once more for a hat trick of her own to give the Falcons a 7-3 victory. In the rematch, five days later in Cumberland, the Rangers didn’t allow a single Falcons goal in a 4-0 victory. You just never know.

4) If you’re going to lose, make it memorable

Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team’s penultimate game was certainly its most notable. Entering the contest undefeated, the Yachtsmen grabbed a quick 1-0 lead over visiting Gorham in a rematch of last year’s regional final on a goal from Mason Farr. The Rams tied it just before the half, however, and neither team scored a conventional goal again. With time expiring in the second and final overtime session, Charlie Adams appeared to win it for Falmouth, but the officials ruled the shot came after the horn. Since the game was part of a four-team tournament, the contest was settled on penalty kicks, but the Yachtsmen’s last bid sailed high and they lost, 2-1 (5-4 on PKs).

3) A landmark win for a legendary coach

Falmouth had many happier moments in 2020, including a 3-0 victory at Brunswick Oct. 15, which proved to be longtime coach Dave Halligan’s 400th with the program. Halligan, whose ability to tally up victories is well documented (he’s over 1,000 when you combine soccer and basketball), has gotten the Yachtsmen to the top of Class A, with help from some great players, a perch they don’t figure to relinquish anytime soon.

2) No title, but a senior season to remember nonetheless

Freeport’s field hockey team, featuring 14 seniors, won every game but one this fall, leaving the competition in its wake.

Freeport’s field hockey team excelled in 2018, reaching a regional final for the first time in 18 seasons, and again in 2019, getting to the semifinals before an upset loss, so a Falcons squad with 14 seniors would have been highly touted this fall, presuming there had been a championship to play for. There wasn’t, but Freeport was nearly perfect, nonetheless. After an early loss to Brunswick, when Coach Marcia Wood was quarantining and away from the team, the Falcons ripped off nine straight victories, highlighted by a last-second win at Yarmouth on Ally Randall’s penalty corner goal just before the horn. Freeport outscored its foes, 34-7, and left no doubt that it was a special team that might have made history.

1) Local golfers steal the show

Greely’s Andrew Klein captured the Class A individual golf title and helped the Rangers win the team title last month.

The golf season was short but oh-so-sweet in Forecaster Country this fall. Freeport won a team title (Class B) for the first time in school history, while Greely captured its first Class A championship in three decades. That wasn’t all, as Freeport’s Matt Kempf won the Class B individual crown (with teammate T.J. Whelan placing second), Greely’s Andrew Klein was the top individual in Class A and Greely’s Ruth Weeks was the girls’ individual runner-up. If those achievements didn’t suggest Forecaster Country was the center of the high school golf universe in 2020, there was more, as Yarmouth wound up second in Class B, Falmouth placed third in Class A and North Yarmouth Academy finished third in Class C.

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

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