FALMOUTH — There was no need for a miracle finish this time.

Finn Caxton-Smith and Indi Backman ran for three touchdowns apiece and combined for almost 300 yards, and Falmouth dominated possession en route to a 39-8 victory over Messalonskee in a Class B North matchup on a blustery Friday night.

“I think it was one of our most important games of the season to win,” said Caxton-Smith, a running back who had to step in at quarterback after a first-quarter injury to Peyton Mitchell. “After that loss to Cape (Elizabeth last week), we had to go into this with a feeling that we didn’t know if we were going to win or not. We just had to step it up.”

It was a rematch of last year’s wild showdown in Messalonskee, one that saw the Navigators (3-1) go 96 yards in 32 seconds for the winning touchdown with 4.6 seconds left for a 38-32 victory.

The rematch was all Falmouth. The Navigators had the ball for more than 16 of the 24 minutes in the first half, and with wind gusts putting the passing game on the shelf, Caxton-Smith proved too much for the Eagles (1-3) to handle. He finished with 120 yards rushing, while Backman gained 177 yards.

Falmouth marched from its 20 to the Messalonskee 42 before a fumble ended its opening possession, but the Navigators picked up where they left off on their next series when Caxton-Smith (18 carries, 115 yards in the first half) got free around the right side for an 8-yard touchdown run that capped a 12-play, 71-yard drive.


Falmouth found the end zone again on its third drive, as Caxton-Smith took off for 38 yards to make it 13-0 with 7:07 left in the half. The Navigators then went 36 yards for a score on their next series, with Caxton-Smith rolling right and keeping the ball himself for a score on fourth-and-goal from the 8.

Caxton-Smith, a slot receiver last year, was ready for yet another position change.

“Some of the plays, I had no idea what to do on,” he said. “I’m lucky for my teammates. They helped me through it.”

Falmouth Coach John Fitzsimmons said mental toughness was a theme for his team Friday.

“Some guys at times went down, and subs came in and played their hearts out,” he said.

Backman, the hard-charging complement to Caxton-Smith’s speedy perimeter style, ran for 115 yards on nine carries in the second half, and scored on runs of 35, 1 and 24 yards.


“It was a great night for football. It was cold, I love the cold. My teammates don’t like it as much,” Backman said. “The line was amazing today.”

Backman, a sophomore, impressed his coach with his power between the tackles.

“He’s a man amongst boys sometimes,” Fitzsimmons said. “Tonight, he was.”

Messalonskee got life in the third quarter when Bryce Crowell (19 carries, 84 yards) returned a kickoff 69 yards to the Falmouth 16, then ran in from 13 yards out three plays later to make it 26-8 with 7:09 left. The Eagles’ defense held on the next series, but an Ali Carter interception gave the Navigators the ball at the Messalonskee 20 and set up Backman’s second touchdown.

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