BOX SCORE

Brunswick 14 Yarmouth 13

B- 2 5 4 3- 14
Y- 4 2 3 4- 13

First quarter
11:46 Y Miller (unassisted)
10:18 Y Flowerdew (Marsh)
6:17 Y Psyhogeos (Olson)
3:43 B Stern-Hayes (unassisted)
3:18 Y Fulton (Marsh)
2:31 B Rudgers (unassisted)

Second quarter
11:07 B Marro (Perham)
10:26 B Rudgers (unassisted)
8:28 Y Yeo (Psyhogeos)
7:44 Y Moll (Fulton)
7:32 B Labbe (unassisted)
5:17 B Marro (Labbe)
5:07 B Labbe (unassisted)

Third quarter
8:26 Y Moll (Yeo)
7:17 B Labbe (Kousky)
6:17 Y Olson (Marsh)
5:22 B Labbe (Stern-Hayes)
3:51 B Rudgers (Marro)
1:26 Y Marsh (Olson)
12.8 B Labbe (unassisted)

Fourth quarter
8:28 Y Fulton (unassisted)
7:23 Y Psyhogeos (unassisted)
4:47 B Marro (Kousky)
4:18 B Marro (unassisted)
3:36 Y Flowerdew (unassisted)
2:30 Y Psyhogeos (unassisted)
1:23 B McGrath (Marro)

Goals:
B- Labbe 5, Marro 4, Rudgers 3, McGrath, Stern-Hayes 1
Y- Psyhogeos 3, Flowerdew, Fulton, Moll 2, Marsh, Miller, Olson, Yeo 1

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Assists:
B- Kousky, Marro 2, Labbe, Perham, Stern-Hayes 1
Y- Marsh 3, Olson 2, Fulton, Psyhogeos, Yeo 1

Faceoffs (Yarmouth, 18-13)
B- Hamilton 12 of 28, Kousky 1 of 3
Y- Dauphinee 13 of 23, McGonagle 5 of 8

Ground balls:
B- 35
Y- 36

Turnovers:
B- 20
Y- 27

Shots:
B- 40
Y- 36

Shots on cage:
B- 27
Y- 25

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Saves:
B (Reeves) 12
Y (Kim) 13

PORTLAND—Saturday was supposed to be a day for another Yarmouth coronation at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

But the Brunswick Dragons refused to follow the script.

And instead, authored one of the most stunning upsets in boys’ lacrosse state game history.

The fourth-seeded Dragons, three days removed from shocking top-ranked Messalonskee in the state semifinals, were decided underdogs against the second-ranked Clippers and for good reason, having lost to the two-time reigning champions by a dozen goals during the regular season, but this is a vastly improved and vastly different Brunswick squad that believed anything was possible.

Even winning a championship.

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Yarmouth got off to an expected fast start, getting early goals from seniors Cam Miller, Sawyer Flowerdew and Peter Psyhogeos, but the Dragons settled in and drew within 4-2 after one period.

Then, in the second quarter, Brunswick pulled even at 4-4 and 6-6, then took a one-goal lead to halftime when senior Thomas Labbe scored his second goal.

The Dragons would never trail in the second half.

The Clippers tied the score at 7-7 and 8-8 before Labbe put Brunswick on top and a late Labbe goal made it 11-9 heading for the fourth quarter.

Where the teams would fight to the final second to determine a champion.

Goals from senior Steve Fulton and Psyhogeos allowed Yarmouth to draw even at 11-11, but Nick Marro scored twice for Brunswick to put his team on the brink of a title.

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Down on the canvas, the Clippers dug deep into their reservoir of championship heart, rose up and behind unassisted goals from Flowerdew and Psyhogeos, tied the score once more.

An improbable story calls for a Hollywood ending and the Dragons had the perfect candidate in sophomore Jonas McGrath, who, with 1:23 remaining, not only scored the go-ahead goal, but it was his first goal of the season, putting Brunswick on the brink.

Yarmouth wouldn’t go without a fight, but Dragons junior goalie Jake Reeves was equal to the task, making two enormous saves in the waning seconds and Brunswick held on to shock the world, 14-13.

The Dragons finished the season 12-4, won their first title since 2018 and their fifth all-time, ending the Clippers’ title reign in the process and ending their finest season since 2010 at 13-3.

“At the beginning of the season, I knew we had the athletes. Midseason, we weren’t playing well as a group. We weren’t cohesive. This past week, when we beat Messo, we played well and I knew we had more in the tank,” said Jason Miller, Brunswick’s third-year coach, who replaced the legend, Don Glover, and returned the Dragons to the pinnacle faster than anyone expected. “I knew it would be tight, but I really thought we could do it.”

You never know

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Yarmouth won four out of six Class B championships in a six-year span beginning in 2004, including successive crowns in 2008 and 2009, but the Clippers had never three-peated.

This season (see sidebar for links to previous stories), Yarmouth lost decisively at home (14-5) to reigning Class A champion Cape Elizabeth in its second outing, then won a couple road games before falling in a shootout at York, 15-12. The Clippers then flipped the switch and truly turned the corner with a stunning 18-16 win at the Capers May 11. Yarmouth went 7-0 down the stretch to earn the No. 2 seed in Class B.

After a 19-2 victory over No. 15 Mt. Blue in the state preliminary round, the Clippers handled No. 10 Biddeford (15-4) in the quarterfinals before holding off No. 3 York (11-9) in Wednesday’s semifinal round.

Brunswick returned to prominence this spring and enjoyed a solid campaign, despite losses to Messalonskee and Yarmouth and to Class A powers Falmouth and Scarborough.

The Dragons entered the postseason ranked fourth in Class B and after easily defeating No. 13 Greely (19-2) in the preliminary round, held off No. 5 Camden Hills (15-10) in the quarterfinals, before upsetting top-ranked Messalonskee (14-11) in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Brunswick had played in nine previous state games (see sidebar, below), winning four.

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Yarmouth, meanwhile, had gone 6-8 in its state final history, which dates to 1996.

In the teams’ regular season meeting, April 30, the Clippers rolled at Brunswick, 20-8.

Saturday, most expected Yarmouth to prevail again, but a determined group of Dragons had other ideas and what resulted was one of the more memorable state games on record.

Clippers junior Jaxson Dauphinee won the opening faceoff to Cam Miller, who raced in and fired a shot past Reeves and with the game just 14 seconds old, Yarmouth appeared to be on its way.

After Reeves saved shots by sophomore Colter Olson and Psyhogeos, Flowerdew got a feed from junior Killian Marsh and scored with 10:18 on the clock to make it 2-0.

Brunswick got its first shot, from Zach Stern-Hayes, but Clippers sophomore goalie Eddie Kim made the save and after Fulton hit the crossbar and Reeves stopped shots from freshman Matthew Cain and Psyhogeos, Olson set up Psyhogeos for a 3-0 lead with 6:17 remaining in the first period.

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Human nature being what it is, you could excuse Yarmouth for thinking it was on its way to another decisive win.

It wasn’t.

Instead, the Dragons got off the deck and roared back.

After Kim denied Stern-Hayes and Chris Kousky, Stern-Hayes missed wide and Labbe had a shot saved by Kim, Stern-Hayes broke through with 3:43 left in the frame, scoring unassisted.

The Clippers answered 25 seconds later, as Marsh set up Fulton for a shot Reeves couldn’t stop, but Brunswick closed the quarter strong, as Max Rudgers scored unassisted with 2:31 to go and Marro and Stern-Hayes had chances to draw the Dragons even closer, but Kim made his fourth and fifth saves of the quarter, keeping the score 4-2.

Brunswick rode its momentum in the second quarter and took its first lead.

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Just 53 seconds in, Marro scored for the first time, from Grey Perham.

Then, after Stern-Hayes bounced a shot off the crossbar, Rudgers scored unassisted with 10:26 on the clock to make it 4-4.

“We just tried to spread them out and be patient and treat the ball like gold,” said Jason Miller. “We knew we needed great shots, not good shots. We had to stick to our scheme and eventually an opening would happen and we’d find it.”

The back-and-forth continued, as Yarmouth retook the lead on a goal from junior Aksel Yeo (set up by Psyhogoes with 8:28 remaining in the half.

The Clippers then made it 6-4 44 seconds later, as Fulton found junior Ben Moll for a shot Reeves couldn’t stop.

But Yarmouth wouldn’t score again in the half and again, the Dragons came back.

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Off the ensuing faceoff, Oliver Hamilton won possession to Labbe, who ran in and scored with 7:32 left.

Then, with 5:17 to go, Labbe set up Marro for a bounce shot on the run which eluded Kim and tied the score for the second time.

Ten seconds later, Brunswick had the lead, as Hamilton won another faceoff and again Labbe did it himself, weaving through the defense and finishing for a 7-6 advantage.

The Dragons tried to add to their lead, but Marro had a shot hit the post and another saved by Kim.

The Clippers tried to pull even before the break, but Reeves saved a shot by Marsh and it was still 7-6 Brunswick at halftime.

While both offenses played well in the first half, each goalie came up big as well, making seven saves apiece.

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The second half would be tight throughout.

As it did to start the game, Yarmouth started fast in the third quarter and after Reeves made an initial save on a shot from Flowerdew, Yeo set up Moll for the tying goal with 8:26 remaining.

The Dragons quickly answered, as after Rudgers was denied by Kim, Kousky found Labbe for an 8-7 lead with 7:17 on the clock.

A minute later, the Clippers tied the score again, as Marsh assisted on an Olson goal.

Undaunted, Brunswick went back in the lead 55 seconds later, as Stern-Hayes set up Labbe for a goal.

With 3:51 left, after a turnover, Marro fed Rudgers for a goal and for the first time, the Dragons were up by two, 10-8.

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They nearly went ahead by three, but Marro missed wide and Rudgers hit the post.

With 1:26 to go, in transition, Olson set up Marsh for a goal to cut the deficit to one, but with 12.8 seconds remaining, Labbe fired through traffic and tickled the twine and Brunswick took an 11-9 advantage to the fourth period.

Where it would find a way to win an inspirational championship.

After Kim kept the deficit at two by making early saves on Kousky and Stern-Hayes, Fulton scored unassisted with 8:28 on the clock and with 7:23 remaining, Psyhogeos scored unassisted to tie the game again.

Yarmouth never had a chance to go ahead, however, and after Kim saved a shot from Stern-Hayes and Labbe missed wide, Kousky set up Marro for the go-ahead tally with 4:47 left.

When Marro scored again, unassisted, 29 seconds later, the Dragons began to sense it, but the proud Clippers were far from finished.

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With 3:36 to go, Flowerdew scored unassisted to pull Yarmouth within one.

Then, after a timeout, Reeves robbed Olson, but with 2:30 to play, Psyhogeos scored the final goal of his illustrious career, on a bounce shot, to tie the score for the sixth and final time, 13-13.

This time, the Clippers got the ball back and had a chance to lead for the first time since the first half, but Reeves stopped a shot from Flowerdew.

With 1:34 on the clock, Marro was robbed by Kim, but Brunswick kept possession and waited for a hero to emerge.

Enter Jonas McGrath.

The improbable hero.

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McGrath subbed in and with the defense focused on the Dragons’ big guns with the ball to the left of Kim, McGrath slipped backside and Marro spotted him waiting all alone.

Marro lobbed a pass over the defense to a waiting McGrath, who caught the ball, then got Kim moving before firing a shot into the net for a 14-13 lead with 1:23 left.

“I subbed in and I saw no one was looking at me, so I snuck around the backside, called for it, caught the pass, faked it once, shot and scored,” McGrath said. “It couldn’t have come at a better time. I can’t even describe the feeling.”

“That’s amazing for (Jonas),” said Labbe. “I’m so happy for him. He’s been grinding as much as anyone else. Sometimes, he doesn’t see the field as much as he likes, but he’s working just as much as anyone else. All the power to him.”

“Jonas is phenomenal,” Jason Miller added. “His success is someone else’s misfortune. Albert Putnam was injured in the Messalonskee game. Jonas was kind of our fifth or sixth middie. He’s improved and has gotten better and more confident. Today, he was next man up. I said if he’d get on the board, we’d win.

“Tommy and Zach were on one side and they gave them a lot of respect, which is fair, and that left Jonas wide open. He caught the ball, he was patient, he made the goalie move and scored it.”

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The Clippers were left shaking their heads.

“I don’t know what happened there,” said Yarmouth coach Jon Miller. “I’ll have to look at the film. It was a mismatch. I think two of our guys might have been confused on the coverage and it was a fatal mistake.”

Not surprisingly, Yarmouth scratched and clawed for the equalizer until the final horn, but Brunswick wasn’t able to let the win slip away.

The Clippers got possession on the ensuing faceoff and Jon Miller called his final timeout.

Yarmouth would get three good looks at the tying tally, but went 0-for-3.

First, Fulton shot wide with a minute to go.

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With 20 seconds left, Fulton tried again, but Reeves made the save.

The Clippers kept the ball and had one more chance, but with 7.9 seconds left, Olson was robbed by Reeves.

“It was very stressful,” Reeves said. “I was just buzzing. I just knew I had to save them. I dropped on every shot and hoped for the best.

“I have a ton of confidence in Jake,” Labbe said. “He’s our backbone and he’s always there to pick us up. We couldn’t have done it without him.”

“I get emotional talking about Jake,” Jason Miller added. “The way we ended the season last year (a 15-8 home loss to Greely in the state quarterfinals) was a goalie’s nightmare. He wasn’t seeing the ball well and he ended up getting pulled. He ended up coming back here and stood on his head and made the game-winning saves. He’s been a rock. He’s been clutch for us.”

The rebound rolled off to the side and a battle for possession ensued, a battle that drained the rest of the clock, and at 5:08 p.m., the final horn sounded and Brunswick was the state champion, 14-13, setting off a wild celebration.

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“It was pure happiness,” Reeves said. “I’m so glad we did it. I doesn’t even feel real right now. I knew we could pull this off. It was our day.”

“It was a big sigh of relief,” said Labbe, who also played in a boys’ soccer state final and won a boys’ hockey state title this school year. “Everyone jumping for joy was the best moment of the season. They killed us beginning of the year, so this is a nice way to finish the season. I came here and was ready to give my all. There was a little doubt in a few of us, but we got one and we kept our nose to the grindstone and kept going. We worked hard, got ground balls and came out on top.

“We definitely believed. We’ve come together the past couple weeks and we’ve been playing better and better every day. We came out to play today. Those other state games definitely helped. I lost in soccer, but won in hockey. I think this one’s a little bit sweeter because this is my main sport.”

“It was so stressful at the end,” McGrath said. “They got shots off, but credit to Jake for saving them. When the buzzer sounded, that was the greatest feeling ever. We knew we could do it. We started off the season not too great, but we kept grinding and came together as a family, not just a team, and we’ve built up until this moment. I don’t know if anyone else believed it, but we believed and we kept that belief until the end. It was a dogfight. Credit to Yarmouth, but we came out on top.”

“Mentally, we were coming from a different place,” Jason Miller added. “We’ve turned into a family. We use the word love and it really turned us around. We’ve picked each other up instead of put each other down.

“There were times I came home and said to my wife, ‘I’m not the guy,’ but things came together. My assistant coaches have been phenomenal. Johnny (John Williams) was an All-American at Brunswick. He’s done a phenomenal job with the defense. Ben Herman not only runs the box, but he runs the middle of the field too. Those are two jobs for two different coaches and he does both. They’ve been supportive. The players and coaches bought in and made my job easy.”

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Labbe, who will play lacrosse at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts next year, was the game’s high scorer with five goals. Marro added four goals, Rudgers finished with three and McGrath and Stern-Hayes both scored once.

Kousky and Marro each had two assists, while Labbe, Perham and Stern-Hayes all added one.

Reeves was superb in the clutch, stopping a dozen shots.

Hamilton and Labbe shared team-high honors in ground balls, collecting seven apiece.

The Dragons had a 40-36 edge in shots (27-25 on cage) and overcame 20 turnovers.

Unscripted agony

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Yarmouth had eight different players score, but despite that balance, it wasn’t enough.

Psyhogeos, who will play basketball next year at Bates College, scored three times, Flowerdew, Fulton and Moll added two goals apiece and Marsh, Cam Miller, Olson and Yeo each finished with one goal.

Marsh had three assists, Olson two and Fulton, Psyhogeos and Yeo one apiece.

Kim made 13 saves.

The Clippers had an advantage in faceoffs (18-13) and had a 36-35 edge in ground balls (senior Kevin Kamm led the way with seven and Dauphinee collected six), but were doomed in part by 27 turnovers.

“We couldn’t get a string of possessions, whether it was clearing the ball or faceoffs or not making a mistake,” Jon Miller lamented. “We couldn’t get that run to take the lead. That happens in big games. Every year, championship games are different than regular season games and it showed today. The guys created chances to tie it up, but the goalie made great saves. We gave ourselves opportunities we needed last possession, but we couldn’t capitalize.

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“I don’t know that going up three early indicated how the game would go. (Brunswick) pushed hard and finished their shots. They clearly tested our defense. I wasn’t worried about the boys’ motivation throughout the game. They worked hard.”

Yarmouth had hoped to three-peat for the first time in program history, but instead will have to say goodbye to a group of transcendent seniors, who helped restore the Clippers to the top of Class B.

“We have an incredible senior class,” Jon Miller said. “I still fondly of the season despite today. We still have a special group. All in all, it was a great year for us.”

In the wake of this setback, Yarmouth will have no trouble with motivation in 2023 and it might just be a one-year thing where the Clippers have to watch someone else raise a trophy.

“We have some younger guys who will step in and fill roles,” Jon Miller said. “We’ll be back.”

Start of something big

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Brunswick, meanwhile, might have returned to the pinnacle sooner than expected and the Dragons are eager to do it again.

“I’d love to do it again,” Reeves said. “I think we can pull it off.”

“We just hope we can do it again next year,” Jason Miller said. “We return a lot of our scorers and we have guys on the bench ready to step up on defense. I’m super-excited.”

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

Previous state game results

2021
Class B
Yarmouth 13 Marshwood 10

2019
Class B
Yarmouth 11 Greely 10

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2017
Class B
Falmouth 13 Yarmouth 9

2015
Class B
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 5 

2014
Class B
Cape Elizabeth 6 Yarmouth 3 

2013
Class B
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 4

2010
Class B
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 6

2009
Class B
Yarmouth 12 Cape Elizabeth 9

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2008
Class B
Yarmouth 9 Cape Elizabeth 4

2006
Class B
Yarmouth 8 Kennebunk 5

2005
Class B
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 6

2004
Class B
Yarmouth 11 Cape Elizabeth 6

2003 
Cape Elizabeth 9 Yarmouth 8 (OT)

1996
Division I
Cape Elizabeth 11 Yarmouth 10 (OT)

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Brunswick

2018
Class B
Brunswick 14 Greely 13 (OT)

2017
Brunswick 18 Scarborough 17 (OT)

2016
Scarborough 18 Brunswick 10

2015
Brunswick 13 South Portland 9 

2014
South Portland 10 Brunswick 8 

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2009
Portland 9 Brunswick 3

2008 
Scarborough 8 Brunswick 6

2007
Brunswick 12 Portland 9

2002
Cape Elizabeth 15 Brunswick 7

Previous Yarmouth-Brunswick postseason results

2019 Class B state semifinal
Yarmouth 18 Brunswick 6

2018 Class B state semifinal
Brunswick 14 Yarmouth 13 (OT)

2005 East Region semifinal
Yarmouth 17 Brunswick 3

2004 East Division Final
Yarmouth 13 Brunswick 3

2002 Southeast Division Final
Brunswick 11 Yarmouth 5

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