WINDHAM — You get the feeling that, if asked to get out of bed and get back on the field at midnight, the Windham High defense would be able to get a big stop against Skowhegan’s again.

The River Hawks moved inside the Windham 10 five times Friday night in a Class B North semifinal. Three times, the Eagles forced a turnover. Nick Garrison sacked Skowhegan quarterback Adam Savage on the final drive as time expired, securing a 7-6 win.

No. 1 Windham (8-0) will face No. 3 Lawrence for the regional title next week. No. 4 Skowhegan ends the season at 5-5.

“We just have some tenacious guys who just battle. You think of teams being this close, how hard fought it was, I’ve seen teams fold in those situations. And our guys didn’t back down. They didn’t let up,” Windham Coach Matt Perkins said.

Skowhegan’s Marcus Hampton scored on a 2-yard run with 9:45 left, but Windham blocked the extra point to maintain a 7-6 lead.

After forcing the Eagles to punt, Skowhegan took over on its own 15 with 8:24 remaining and advanced to the Windham 4. On third-and-goal from the 5, the River Hawks fumbled and Garrison recovered – Skowhegan’s third turnover inside the 10.

“You can’t give the ball to good teams and expect to overcome it every time,” Skowhegan Coach Ryan Libby said.

Still, the River Hawks had another chance. Getting the ball with no timeouts and 1:43 left on Windham’s 26 after a 14-yard punt return by Hampton, Skowhegan got to the 2. A false start penalty pushed the ball back, and on third down, Garrison’s sack ended the game.

Windham’s offense was bottled up all night. The only highlight for the Eagles was their lone scoring play. On second-and-10 from his own 37, quarterback Will Ledbetter dropped back to pass, saw nobody open, evaded a tackler and scrambled down the left sideline for a 63-yard run and a 7-0 lead with 9:25 left in the third quarter.

“I dropped back. They respected the pass. I had good protection from the guys and just was able to break it,” Ledbetter said.

“They brought their blitzes. That was a tough look for us. They made sure to cover. That was a great defensive effort by them. For sure, one of the toughest we’ve seen.”

Skowhegan had the better scoring opportunities in the first half, but turnovers crushed the River Hawks. After recovering a Windham fumble near midfield on the opening drive, Skowhegan had first-and-goal at the 4 but lost a fumble of its own.

Early in the second quarter, on fourth-and-5 from the 9, Skowhegan quarterback Adam Savage had a pass intercepted by Tayshawn Lindsay at the goal line. After forcing the Eagles to go three and out on the ensuing possession, the River Hawks lost another fumble, this time on the Windham 28.

Skowhegan’s defense was stout in the first half, holding the Eagles to 22 yards and one first down. For the game, the Eagles gained just 95 yards, with 63 coming on Ledbetter’s touchdown.

“We didn’t tweak much. The first (game), they were converting the third downs on us. We focused all week on tightening up coverage and the kids responded well,” Libby said.

Windham senior Jason Scott suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and did not return.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.