LEWISTON — His team was down, sitting in a 12-point hole. But Skowhegan quarterback Adam Savage never thought his River Hawks were out.

“We were never worried,” Savage said. “We never thought for a second that we weren’t going to win this game.”

Riding its calm leader and a tenacious defensive front, second-seeded Skowhegan erased the double-digit deficit and earned its first trip to a state championship game since 2017 with a 28-20 victory over No. 4 Falmouth in the Class B North final at Lewiston High.

“We knew we had a chance, that’s what kept us working hard,” said Savage, who ran 34 times for 129 yards and four touchdowns. “It just feels amazing. I have no other way to explain it. Out of any team, we completely deserve it.”

The River Hawks (9-2), who most recently won a state championship in 1978, will play South champ Portland (8-3) next Saturday at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Skowhegan fell behind 12-0 early in the second quarter but got on the board with a touchdown right before halftime. It was all River Hawks from there, as the team widely predicted to come out of the region in August showed its strength.


“We thought we had a great chance last year and things just didn’t piece together,” Skowhegan Coach Ryan Libby said. “To have it all come together this year is a great feeling.”

The offense that scored 66 points against Lawrence in the semifinals showed up after a flat start, but the biggest factor for the River Hawks was a defense led by Kyle LePage, Collin LePage and Marshall Easler that held Falmouth’s dangerous combination of Finn Caxton-Smith, Indi Backman and Peyton Mitchell to 45 yards on 27 carries.

“We’re well-coached, we know our responsibilities,” Kyle LePage said. “We’re a great defensive team. We’ve got a great line and we all work together. When we do that, good things happen.”

It was a sluggish start, however. A backwards pass on Skowhegan’s first possession was scooped up and returned by Miles Gay 20 yards for a touchdown, and after dropped passes derailed the River Hawks’ next two drives, Falmouth (7-4) went up two scores when Backman (11 carries, 44 yards) ran in from the 3 after a 32-yard leaping catch by Gay (three catches, 56 yards).

Skowhegan finally got going with an 11-play, 65-yard drive, capped by Savage’s 3-yard run with 10 seconds left in the half. The River Hawks took a 14-12 lead on their first drive of the second half with Savage scored again on a 9-yard run. Then, after a high snap on a punt attempt gave Skowhegan a short field, Savage ran in from 22 yards for a 21-12 lead with 6:53 left in the third.

A 1-yard Savage run capped a 73-yard march on the River Hawks’ next possession, making it 28-12.


“We just got the job done,” Savage said. “We slipped up in the beginning, but we came back and that’s all you can ask for.”

Falmouth didn’t give up, as Caxton-Smith (7 of 17, 153 yards) found Mitchell for a 35-yard gain and then a 36-yard touchdown to preserve hope with 1:01 to play before Skowhegan ran out the clock.

Coach John Fitzsimmons praised his group for making it this far after he said preseason predictions had the Navigators ranked sixth.

“It shows you how hard these kids worked,” he said. “(It’s) a very small squad that hung in there all season long. And we were one game away from playing in the state championship.”

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