Falmouth High players celebrate after beating Cony, 35-28, in a Class B North football semifinal Friday in Augusta. The Navigators will play Skowhegan for the regional championship. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Falmouth High football Coach John Fitzsimmons says opposing teams have been surprised when they look across the sidelines and see the Navigators are dressing fewer than 30 players.

“Right now we’re playing with about 27 players that are dressed and that includes the freshmen,” Fitzsimmons said. “We just have kids who are playing hard and at this point it feels like the only people who believe in this team in the football community are our players and the coaches. It’s interesting, gets a little chip on our shoulder.”

Falmouth is headed to its first regional championship game since 2017 after upsetting No. 1 Cony, 35-28, in Augusta on Friday night. The fourth-seeded Navigators (7-3) will play No. 2 Skowhegan (8-2) at Lewiston High at 7 p.m. on Friday. Falmouth has never won a regional final in football.

Falmouth is one of 11 southern Maine high schools that will be playing this weekend across 10 state semifinal, regional final or eight-man state championship games.

The Navigators feature a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in senior Finn Caxton-Smith (1,028 yards), who was switched to quarterback in Week 4 of the season when Peyton Mitchell was injured, and rugged sophomore fullback Indie Backman (1,068 yards). Against Cony, Caxton-Smith rushed for 204 yards while Backman gained 167. Falmouth also has dangerous receivers in Lucas Dilworth, Mitchell (back from injury) and Miles Gay. The line, led by 6-foot-3, 305-pound junior Will Gale and senior Rocco Mancini, has benefited from the return of senior Mathew Phillips (6-3, 295) during the playoffs.

In its wild 66-48 win against Lawrence, Skowhegan quarterback Adam Savage turned eight completions into 226 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 236 yards and three more scores.


Falmouth and Skowhegan did not play in the regular season. A year ago, Skowhegan beat Falmouth 60-0 in the regular season and 42-0 in a regional quarterfinal.

Here’s a look at the other football playoff games this weekend:


It’s championship Saturday for the eight-man divisions, with both games at Cony High.

The Large School title game between Waterville and Yarmouth, teams that did not meet in the regular season, is scheduled for 11 a.m. North champion Waterville (6-3) returns to the state championship game after last year’s 56-0 loss to Cheverus, having beaten No. 1 Mt. Desert Island, 22-12, in the North final last weekend. Yarmouth (9-1) also went on the road and beat South No. 1 Mt. Ararat/Hyde, 20-18 in South final, avenging its only loss. Yarmouth is playing in its first championship game since losing to Winslow in the Class C final in 2015.  The Clippers already have claimed fall championships in volleyball, girls’ soccer and boys’ soccer.

The Small School championship at 2:30 p.m. pits Orono (7-3) against South champ Old Orchard Beach (8-2). Both teams have avenged their regular-season losses in the playoffs. Orono, the fifth seed in the North, beat Bucksport (51-46), Dexter (61-22), and Stearns/Schenck (57-36). Old Orchard Beach, winners of six straight, topped No. 1 Mountain Valley, 28-16, and No. 3 Dirigo, 20-16. The Seagulls have allowed only 11.7 points per game during their winning streak. Old Orchard Beach appeared in the first eight-man championship game in Maine, in 2019, losing to Mt. Ararat, 58-25. Orono did not play varsity football in 2019, canceling its 11-man season after a preseason scrimmage. Orono made the switch to eight-man in 2020, prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.



No. 3 South Portland (7-3) meets No. 1 Portland (7-3) in the regional final at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. In the regular-season finale, Portland beat the Red Riots, 20-13. The game turned in the second quarter after Portland tied the game, 6-6. The Bulldogs recovered the ensuing onside kick, with quarterback Kennedy Charles bolting 52 yards for a touchdown two plays later. Kennedy then completed a fourth-and-15, 27-yard TD pass to Remijo Wani on the final play of the half. The teams haven’t met in a playoff game since a 2002 quarterfinal (Portland, 21-0). Their last regional final clash was in 1995 (South Portland, 28-24).


The South final is a rematch of last season’s nail-biter. Defending state champion Cape Elizabeth (8-2) will try, once again, to end No. 1 and unbeaten Leavitt’s season. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday. During the regular season the Hornets (9-0) beat Cape, 21-20, cinching the win with a red zone interception after Cape star Nick Laughlin had an apparent go-ahead touchdown negated by penalty.

In the North final, No. 1 Medomak Valley (8-2) meets No. 2 Hermon (7-3), at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hampden Academy. Medomak edged the Hawks, 14-12, in the regular-season finale. This is the second straight year Medomak earned the top seed. Last year Hermon beat Medomak 16-12 in the regional semifinal. This is the Panthers’ first trip to a regional final since becoming a varsity program in 2016.



No. 6 Sanford (6-4) shocked No. 3 Lewiston on Friday with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in the final 18 seconds to win, 42-35, and advance to play at No. 2 Thornton Academy (7-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. After starting the season 1-2, losing back-to-back games to Oxford Hills and Bedford, New Hampshire, Thornton has outscored opponents 239-53, including a 41-13 win against Sanford.

In other semifinal, No. 5 Bonny Eagle (6-4) faces No. 1 Oxford Hills (9-0) in South Paris at 7 p.m. Friday. The Vikings beat Bonny Eagle, 41-17, in the regular season and join Leavitt as the only unbeaten teams left in Maine.


The top four seeds all advanced with relative ease last week. No. 2 Freeport (6-3) will host No. 2 Lisbon/St. Dominic (6-3) Friday at 6 p.m. No. 4 Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale (6-3) is at top-seeded Foxcroft Academy (8-1).

Freeport, coming off a 41-12 win against Oak Hill, beat Lisbon 35-22 in the season opener. That’s Lisbon’s only loss to a Class D team. Freeport’s only Class D loss was to Foxcroft.

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