The Yarmouth football team is off to a 3-0 start under Coach Jim Hartman. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

With the season nearing the halfway point, it’s clear the most improved high school football team in the state, regardless of class, is Yarmouth. After winning just one game last season, the Clippers are 3-0 heading into Friday night’s eight man Large School game against Mt. Desert Island (1-1).

“The kids are really working hard,” said Yarmouth Coach Jim Hartman. “They’re not letting things bother them like they would’ve last year. … They’re just tired of losing. They realize how good they are.”

Last season, misfortune seemed to pile on Yarmouth, Hartman said. It began when he had triple bypass surgery before the start of the season. During the season, discipline issues and injuries often left the Clippers short-handed. Yarmouth used seven quarterbacks because of injuries.

“If it could’ve gone wrong last year, it went wrong,” Hartman said.

So far this season, the Clippers are healthy and motivated. The team leader is junior linebacker Rufus MacVane.

“Rufus is the one who drives them. He’s the organizer, the vocal leader,” Hartman said.


Yarmouth is led by a tandem of big running backs, 6-foot-3, 270-pound Spencer LaBrecque, a senior, and 6-foot, 200-pound Michael McGonagle, a junior. The two recently had a race to see who is faster, Hartman said, with LaBrecque winning.

Friday’s game at Yarmouth is Military and First Responders Appreciation Night. A portion of the game’s proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides services to veterans, and Life Flight of Maine. A pregame Life Flight flyover is planned. Kickoff is schedule for 6 p.m.

THE BIG GAME in Class C on Friday night is Leavitt (3-0) at Wells (3-0). While both teams are undefeated, they took different routes to the same record.

Leavitt had three dominating victories, including a 42-8 win over Class B contender Portland and a 53-21 win over Class A Lewiston.

“Our schedule is so tough, we haven’t had time to worry about that,” Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway said of the wins over larger schools.

Wells, on the other hand, has won three close games, each in come-from-behind fashion.


“Down 13-0 to Westbrook (a game Wells won 35-13 in Week 1), a lot of teams would say, ‘Well, that’s it.’ With this group, it doesn’t matter. They say, ‘OK, let’s do it,” Wells Coach Tim Roche said. “I think we’ve got a lot of heart. We have a lot of fight in us.”

The Warriors will need all that fight against the Hornets, who average 48 points per game.

“They’re good. They’re athletic. They have great team speed,” Roche said. “It’s going to be tough to stop them. There’s a reason they’re 3-0.”

Hathaway said his team needs to be able to contain Wells’ strong run game, led by running back Conner Whitten and quarterback Griffin Brickett. Kicker Michael Lewinski also is a dangerous weapon, Hathaway said.

“They’re big up front and pretty experienced. Those guys are tough,” Hathway said.

THERE’S BEEN A learning curve at Sacopee Valley as the Hawks adjust to the triple-option offense installed by first-year head coach Seth Johnson. Because of injuries, Sacopee Valley didn’t have a full complement of running backs in last week’s 35-6 loss to Telstar in an eight-man Small South game.


Once the Hawks become proficient at the triple option, Johnson thinks it can be a strong offense for his team. Quarterback Austin Croteau is learning how to read the defense to find weaknesses and know when to hand the ball off and when to keep it and run, Johnson said.

“It’s just hard for another team to prepare for something they don’t see often,” Johnson said.

As the Hawks learn their new offensive scheme, they need to focus on tracking and tackling fundamentals on defense, Johnson said.

“They love to hit. We just need to make sure their leverage is correct,” Johnson said.

Participation numbers are low at Sacopee Valley. The Hawks had just 13 players dressed and ready to play in the season opener at Boothbay. Against Mountain Valley in Week 2, a 44-34 loss, Sacopee Valley had 16 players available. Johnson said the team’s roster now includes 22 players, and he expected 18 to be available for its game Thursday night at Traip Academy.

AROUND THE STATE: Thornton Academy’s 16-10 loss to Bedford on Saturday gave New Hampshire teams a 3-1 lead in their games against Maine opponents. There’s one more interstate game on the schedule, when Oxford Hills travels to play Portsmouth/Oyster River on Oct. 21. … A big game in Class D features the last two state champions, as Lisbon (1-2) plays at Foxcroft Academy (2-0) on Friday night. Foxcroft took the Class D title last season, while Lisbon won it in 2019. The 2020 season was lost to the coronavirus pandemic. … An interesting interclass game will be played Saturday, with Class C Medomak Valley (3-0) at Class D Freeport (2-1).

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