WELLS – Cape Elizabeth played most of the fourth quarter with its back against its own goal line – sometimes literally in its own end zone.

But the defending Class C champions did not not break, stopping No. 2 Wells each time – including a final game-saving interception by Ceroi Mello when Wells had a first down at the 3 with eight seconds to play – to preserve a 20-14 Class C South semifinal win Friday night. All the points were scored in the first half.

It was Cape’s second playoff win in five days, having beaten Fryeburg Academy on Monday after illness had swept through the school forcing the game to be postponed.

“We talked about how adversity brings opportunity and for a team to come out here and win two playoff games in five days against two great programs, I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” said Cape Coach Sean Green.

In a 28-21 regular season loss at Wells, a Mello fumble had set up the game-winning drive by Wells.

“It makes it a little extra sweet,” Mello said.


No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (8-2) will meet No. 1 Leavitt (9-0) in the regional final. A year ago, Cape went to Turner and knocked off unbeaten and No. 1 Leavitt with a final play touchdown. Cape is the only team to have been close to beating Leavitt this season, losing 21-20 in Turner.

Early in the fourth quarter, Wells (6-3) had a third down within inches of the goal line. Cape safety Nick Laughlin sliced through and stopped Eli Potter a half-yard short.

“I just kind of went rogue and did my thing and it worked out,” Laughlin said. “We knew going into this week it was going to be defense that wins us this game against Wells, and that’s what it was.”

After Wells was called for an illegal procedure, Aidan Quinn sacked quarterback Brooks Fox on fourth down. Quinn also had a fourth-down sack in the third quarter to stop a Wells drive at the Cape 25.

After Cape’s offense went three-and-out, Wells quickly got back in the red zone but a fourth-down pass into the end zone was broken up by Luke Mello.

With only 1:15 to play, Cape was in position to run out the clock but fumbled on second down and Wells had it back at the Cape 18 with 1:07 to play. Fox (7 of 15, 154 yards) completed a clutch fourth-down pass to give Wells a chance, only to be thwarted by Ceroi Mello’s interception.


“We shut Cape out in the second half. Nobody shuts out Cape,” said Wells Coach Tim Roche. “We did some things real well and then we made a couple of mistakes. But we battled the whole freaking night.”

Cape went ahead 14-0 in less than six minutes on a Mike Foley to Laughlin 31-yard scoring pass and a 79-yard touchdown run by Laughlin.

A Wells fumble set up Cape for another first-quarter chance but a Foley to Laughlin touchdown pass was negated by an illegal block and the drive stalled at the Wells 18.

Wells responded with some big plays of its own. Brody Maxon busted a 49-yard run to flip the field and Conner Whitten eventually scored on a 2-yard sweep. Cape came back with a Foley to Laughlin 13-yard touchdown pass but Wells scored late in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Maxon after Fox had completed a 43-yard pass to Riley Murphy (three catches for 94 yards).

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