WESTBROOK — With its season on the line, the Westbrook High football team came through – twice.

But Fryeburg Academy supplied the final answer.

Gunnar Saunders scored on a 5-yard run and then converted a 2-point conversion in overtime, lifting Fryeburg to a 20-18 victory Saturday afternoon.

With one week to go in the Class C regular season, Fryeburg (4-3) assured itself of a playoff berth. Westbrook, which forced overtime with 99-yard scoring drive and then brief took the lead with a touchdown in overtime, fell to 2-5.

“You always tell kids, as coaches, that you’ve got to play the next play,” Fryeburg Coach David Turner said. “After that 99-yard drive, that was tough. We had, I don’t know how many mistakes on that. But I was ecstatic that we just kept playing.”

The defeat knocks the Blue Blazes out of the playoff chase in Class C South.


“This team’s come far,” said senior quarterback Carter Dow, who was 17 of 32 passing for 221 yards and two touchdowns. “We knew … if we win, we go to playoffs. If we lose, we don’t. … It hurts. It hurts deep.”

Westbrook went ahead 18-12 in overtime when Dow found Aidan Taylor (four catches, 95 yards) for a 10-yard score, but the Raiders denied the 2-point conversion try. That opened the door for Fryeburg, and after Saunders (24 carries, 97 yards) scored on a 5-yard run, he fought through initial contact on the conversion to give the Raiders the win.

“(There was) a big push (on the conversion),” Saunders said. “I knew it was win or go home here, so I just wanted to get into that end zone.”

Fryeburg began to dominate on the ground in the second half and drove to the Westbrook 9 late in the fourth quarter with a chance to put the game away, leading 12-6. The Blue Blazes stopped Saunders on a fourth-and-goal from the 1, however, with 5:44 to go.

Westbrook’s drive started methodically, but a personal foul tacked on to a 20-yard completion to Steven White put the ball at the Fryeburg 23. A pass to Taylor that deflected off a teammate went for 18 yards. Three plays later, Dow found Damen Chandler for a 5-yard score.

Westbrook missed the extra point, however, keeping the score tied at 12 with 1:33 to play.


“We practice that. We expect to score there,” Westbrook Coach Sam Johnson said. “I obviously wish our kicking game was a little cleaner at the end there, but I’m just so proud of their ability to hang in there.”

The missed extra point brought up Fryeburg’s spirits after giving up the tying touchdown.

“It was, at first, deflating a little bit,” said Saunders, who also had a goal-line interception in the first quarter. “But when they missed (the extra point), we all knew we had a chance.”

Westbrook recovered the opening kickoff and scored on Chandler’s 1-yard run. Fryeburg tied the game with 26.9 seconds to go in the first half on Cohen Carter’s 9-yard pass to Owen Galligan, then took a 12-6 lead on Carter’s 3-yard run in the third.

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