CAPE ELIZABETH — In the first half, Caden McDuffie got it done with his arm. In the second, he did it with his legs.

McDuffie threw three touchdown passes to Jack Gorman and ran for another as Cape Elizabeth built a 14-point halftime lead and went on to a 35-14 victory over York in a battle of unbeaten teams Friday evening at Hannaford Field.

McDuffie threw for 163 yards and ran for 164 as the Capers improved to 4-0 after passing their biggest test to date.

“At the end of the day, we’re just a good football team,” said McDuffie. “We play 11 as one.”

After forcing a three-and-out to start the game, York took over at the Cape Elizabeth 35 and in nine plays, drove for the game’s first score, a 2-yard dive from quarterback Doughty. Liam Whelton added the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.

The rest of the first half belonged to the Capers, sparked by a defense that surrendered just 5 yards after that initial scoring drive.

Cape Elizabeth wide receiver Jack Gorman tries to outrun a York defender after catching a long pass from quarterback Caden McDuffie on Friday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Cape Elizabeth got on the board with 3:46 to go in the first. Nick Laughlin took a handoff at the Wildcats’ 12 and appeared bound for a score, but he fumbled just before crossing the goal line. Ceroi Mello was in the right place at the right time, however, recovering the ball for a score. The PAT was blocked.

Cape Elizabeth then went ahead for good on the second play of the second quarter, as McDuffie found Gorman on a post pattern for 20 yards. Laughlin added the two-point conversion.

The Capers had good field position the rest of the half, but were unable to capitalize until they started their final drive at their 27 with 2:46 remaining. They took nine plays to drive for a critical touchdown.

A 40-yard McDuffie-to-Gorman bomb on third-and-15 set the stage and with just 6.4 seconds left, McDuffie found Gorman on a 17-yard slant for the score and a 21-7 halftime advantage.

“It would have been a totally different outcome if we didn’t score there,” said Gorman. “You could feel the momentum going into the locker room.”

York didn’t go quietly and pulled within 21-14 late in the third quarter when Doughty hit Brady Higgins for a 13-yard score. McDuffie’s third scoring pass to Gorman, this one from 20-yards out with 9:39 to go, provided breathing room. McDuffie accounted for the final score with a 26-yard run.

“It’s a good win,” said Capers Coach Sean Green. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys who were on the field fighting for their brothers.”

The Wildcats fell to 3-1, but expect to bounce back.

“We’ll learn from this loss,” said York Coach Matt Nelson. “It’s humbling. We’ll get back to work and work hard as players and work hard as coaches.”

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