FREEPORT—Injury-plagued and playing against a team it’s nearly impossible to score against, Freeport’s football team needed a few breaks to go its way when it hosted Poland in a midseason Class D South battle Friday evening at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field.

And the Falcons got those breaks.

But could do nothing with him.

And as a result, for the second time in five days, Freeport went down to defeat.

The Falcons, playing on offense without injured junior quarterback Teddy Peters and senior playmakers Cooper Delois, Adam Michaud and Noah Michaud, three times were gifted fumbles by the Knights, in Poland territory, in the game’s first six minutes alone, but they came away with zero points.

The Knights then went on top to stay in the second period when sophomore Damon Martin returned an interception 25-yards for a score. An 8-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Dylan Cook to classmate Regan Cohen then made it 14-0 at halftime.


Cook found senior Nick Aube for a 7-yard TD and some breathing room in the third period, but Freeport, despite fighting uphill all night, fought hard to the end and was rewarded by blocking a punt, which resulted in a safety.

Ultimately, it wasn’t enough, and Poland went on to a 22-2 victory.

The Knights improved to 4-0, have now surrendered an average of two points per contest and in the process, dropped the Falcons to 2-2.

“This was a big win for our program,” said Poland coach Gus LeBlanc. “This is the first time in school history that we’re 4-0.”

Right in the thick of things

Class D South is balanced and deep this season and heading into play Friday, Poland was unbeaten and atop the standings, after blanking Madison (46-0) and Old Town (16-0) and last week stifling Oak Hill (16-6).


Freeport, meanwhile, started auspiciously with wins over Winthrop (39-33, in a game played in Lewiston) and visiting Lisbon (28-16), in a playoff rematch. The Falcons were supposed to go to John Bapst last Saturday, but bad weather moved it to Monday and Freeport fell just short, 27-20.

Injuries piled up in that game and with just three days to prepare for this one, Freeport’s chances appeared slim.

“It was unfortunate to have the short week,” St. Pierre said. “It came at a really bad time. The guys who needed extra practice time didn’t get it.”

The teams last met back in 2019 (a 41-6 home victory for the Falcons). They were supposed play in 2021, but a combination of COVID and injuries forced the game to be cancelled.

Friday, on a very pleasant late summer evening (60 degrees at kickoff), Freeport had some great chances to make an early statement, but it couldn’t convert and eventually, the Knights took control.

The Falcons won the opening coin toss and deferred possession to the second half.


Poland started at its 33 and after senior Isaac Ramsdell ran for four yards and Cohen gained two, Ramsdell got the carry on third down, but was separated from the ball on a big hit from Freeport junior Jacob Benjamin and junior Drew O’Hara fell on the fumble at the Knights’ 38.

Freeport could do nothing with its good fortune, however, as O’Hara ran for a yard, then was dropped by Aube for a three-yard loss before junior Alex Berry, the backup quarterback, threw incomplete.

That forced a punt, where the Falcons got a break again, as Ramsdell couldn’t control the ball and senior Mattie Coffin recovered for the home team at the Poland 21.

But again, Freeport went backwards, as Berry lost six yards, then he scrambled for no gain before a holding penalty cost the Falcons 10 more yards. Berry then threw incomplete and Freeport had to punt again.

“We’ve relied on our defense a lot this year,” said LeBlanc. “Offensively, we’ve been really good at times. Other times, not so good.”

The Knights took over at their 33, but on their first snap, a fumbled exchange put the ball on the ground once more and again, Coffin recovered, this time at the Poland 31.


This time, the Falcons gained a little yardage, as Berry hit senior Colby Bourgoin for five yards, then he threw incomplete before keeping the ball for a yard. On fourth-and-4 from the 25, Freeport went for it, but O’Hara only managed to pick up three yards and the Falcons’ last, best chance to strike first had expired.

“It could have been a whole different ballgame if we punched one of those in,” lamented St. Pierre. “We had some guys out there without a lot of experience and it showed.”

The Knights started at their 22 and this time held on to the ball and began to drive. After Cook kept the ball for a yard, a roughing the passer penalty on Freeport set up first down at the 37. Cohen ran for two yards, then Benjamin dropped Ramsdell for a two-yard loss, but on third-and-10, Cook threw on the run and hit a sliding Cohen for 10 yards and a first down at the 47. After an incomplete pass, Aube caught a pass for four yards into Falcons’ territory, but another incomplete pass forced a punt.

With 57 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, Freeport began at its 15, then disaster struck for the Falcons, when a fumbled exchange put the ball on the ground and senior Andre Desroiser recovered the fumble for Poland at the Freeport 12.

But taking a cue from the Knights, as the first period gave way to the second, the Falcons’ defense stood tall and kept the game scoreless.

After a false start penalty cost Poland five yards, Cook threw incomplete. He was off target again, but a pass interference penalty set up second-and-6 from the 8. After Ramsdell twice ran for two yards, the teams switched ends and on the first play of the new quarter, a fumbled exchange led to a loss of downs, giving Freeport the ball at its 6.


O’Hara ran for a yard, then caught a pass for no gain, but on third down, the Knights’ defense scored the game’s first points, as Martin picked off a Berry pass at the 25 and raced down the right side untouched, into the end zone, for the touchdown with 10:15 left in the first half.

“I read the quarterback and I knew it was coming,” said Martin, who also had a pick-six in the season opening win over Madison. “I watched film and they ran that fade every time. No one was catching me. That got us rolling. We got momentum.”

Ramsdell’s two-point conversion rush was stopped, but Poland had the lead for good, 6-0.

The Falcons started their next possession at their 29, but after Bourgoin was dropped for a two-yard loss, Berry twice threw incomplete, forcing a punt.

The Knights then took over at their 44 with 8:55 on the clock and nine plays and 4 minutes, 27 seconds later, they scored their first offensive points.

The drive began with Cook hitting Aube for six yards. After an illegal man downfield penalty, Cook hit Cohen with a short pass and he broke tackles en route to a 30-yard gain and a first down at Freeport’s 25. After an incomplete pass, Cohen ran for five yards, then picked up three more and on fourth-and-2, Ramsdell gained six yards for a first down at the 11. After Cohen ran for one yard, then picked up two, Cook threw him a short pass in the flat, where Cohen made a move, got around a defender and burst into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown with 4:28 left in the half. Cohen then did the exact same thing on the two-point conversion pass to stretch the lead to 14-0.


The Falcons’ final possession of the first half saw them start at the 34 and freshman Evan Mahaney provided a spark, catching a Berry pass for 13 yards. After Bourgoin ran for four yards to put the ball on the Poland side of the field, Mahaney was held to no gain, but on third-and-6, Mahaney made a beautiful diving catch for a first down at the 41. That’s as close as Freeport would get though, as after Bourgoin lost four yards, Berry was intercepted by senior Cadyn Langlois.

The Knights started at their 20 with 1:31 left, but after a holding penalty, the visitors were content to go to halftime with a 14-0 advantage.

Poland gained 102 yards in the first half and held the Falcons to negative-11 yards.

Freeport began the third quarter with the ball at its 30 and junior Ben Bolduc taking over under center. After Bolduc was held to no gain, he threw to O’Hara on the left sideline, where Langlois stole the ball away for an interception at the Falcons’ 39.

Six plays later, the Knights added to their lead.

After Cohen was held to no gain, junior Liam Fifield caught a short pass, then broke a tackle and took off, all the way to the 12. After a hold and an incomplete pass, Ramsdell had an eight-yard reception, then Cohen caught a pass and lost a yard, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Freeport gave Poland the ball at the 7. On the next snap, Cook hit Aube on the left side and Aube broke a tackle, then broke the plane for the TD with 8:26 left in the quarter. Martin added the two-point conversion rush to make it 22-0.


After O’Hara was held to no gain and Bolduc threw incomplete, Mahaney moved the chains with a 10-yard run. After O’Hara gained a yard, Bolduc kept the ball for 10 yards and a first down at the Knights’ 35. Bolduc ran for four more yards, then was tackled by Aube for a one-yard loss before Mahaney gained seven, setting up first down at the 25. After Bolduc rushed for six, the Falcons were backed up five yards by a procedure penalty, but a nine-yard Mahaney reception set up first down at the 15. O’Hara gained three yards, then Bolduc threw incomplete before hitting Mahaney for five yards to the 7. Freeport couldn’t punch it in, however, as after a false start penalty, Mahaney ran for five yards on the first play of the third, but seven yards were necessary and Poland got the ball back on downs at its 7.

On the first snap of the final stanza, Cohen lost a yard. Ramsdell then lost one too before Cohen gained six, forcing a Knights punt from deep in their territory.

And there, Freeport made its finest play of the night, as Coffin burst through the line to block Cohen’s punt. The ball rolled into the end zone, but was covered by a Poland player, resulting in a two-point safety instead of a six-point touchdown.

The Falcons got the ball right back at midfield after a free kick and had a chance to make things very interesting, but after senior Connor Slocum caught a pass for 10 yards, Bolduc ran for five yards before Aube dropped Bourgoin for a three-yards loss, Bolduc ran for three, then on fourth-and-5, Bourgoin was held to no gain, giving the Knights the ball back at their 35 with 8:06 remaining.

Poland then milked more than three minutes off the clock, as Cohen ran for five yards, then three and then two more for a first down at the 45. After an incomplete pass, Cook was sacked by Benjamin and junior Daunte Mitchell before a one-yard Cohen run forced a punt.

With 4:40 left, Freeport started at its 34, but after Bolduc ran for six yards, he tried to throw deep down the left side, but he was intercepted by a diving Martin.


“I just read the quarterback again,” said Martin, after his third interception of the year. “I read his eyes and I dove for that one.”

“That’s one of the prettiest (interceptions) I’ve ever seen,” LeBlanc said.

The Knights, starting at their 36, then ran down the final 3:44.

After Cohen lost a yard and Ramsdell did the same, Martin, who had come in to play quarterback, ran for six yards, but Poland had to punt. Instead, a roughing the punter penalty allowed the Knights to retain possession and after Cohen lost a yard, Poland took a knee and celebrated its 22-2 victory.

The Knights only tallied 164 yards of offense, but it was enough.

Cook wound up 9-of-12 passing for 99 yards and two TDs.


Cohen ran 19 times for 52 yards and a touchdown. He caught four balls for 47 yards and a TD.

Aube had three catches for 17 yards and a score.

Poland turned the ball over three times and overcame seven penalties for 55 yards.

The Knights have now given up just eight points (only one touchdown) in 192 minutes of action this fall.

“We take a lot of pride in our defense,” Martin said. “We work on it every day. We have one of the best defenses in the state. It’s just hard work and dedication. We didn’t think we’d be this good, to be honest. During the summer, we put in the work.”

“We haven’t really emphasized the shutouts that much,” LeBlanc said. “Our philosophy is bend but not break. We focus more on that. All week in practice, we tell the kids that the ‘W’ is more important than the zero. We’re pleased the defense didn’t give up any points tonight, but we just wanted to win the game.


Growing pains

For Freeport, which finished with just 81 yards of offense, five turnovers and eight penalties for 68 yards, Bolduc ran for 33 yards on eight carries and completed 3-of-7 passes for 24 yards and a pair of interceptions.

Berry went 4-of-12 for 26 yards and two picks.

Mahaney caught four balls for 35 yards.

“We did a little bit of running and put a fullback in at quarterback in the second half,” St. Pierre said. “We made some adjustments at halftime with the blocking schemes, but it wasn’t enough.

“The way the guys handled themselves in practice gave me confidence. I knew defensively we could hold our own. I had a lot of question marks on offense. I received a lot of answers. Unfortunately, not the ones we were looking for. A lot of young guys were out there the first time and it showed.”


Second half

Poland has a huge test Friday, when it goes to 2-2 Wells, which is coming off a tough loss to Cheverus.

“We have a big game next week with Wells,” LeBlanc said. “The real value of this win is the energy it gives us. We have some tough games coming.”

Freeport will go Oak Hill (0-3) next Saturday. The Falcons hope to regain their health as the season progresses and be a dangerous out come playoff time.

“I’m sure we’ll watch film and find some things to build on,” said St. Pierre. “The number one thing moving forward is just to get healthy. Luckily, a lot of these injuries aren’t season-ending. While those guys are getting healthy, we have to get other guys up to speed.

“Now, we’ll get a full week of practice. I think for the most part we can play with anybody. We only have so much depth and older guys, but that’s the whole conference. I think every team is one or two injuries away from going from being solid to being a building project. There’s still hope and there’s still time.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

Comments are not available on this story.