The fall sports season began in the sunshine of late August and ended with rain falling on football’s Championship Saturday.

In-between, there was memorable action, but also a pause during the postseason due to the mass shooting in Lewiston and ensuing manhunt in late-October.

On the field, trails and courses, local athletes excelled yet again and while it may feel like it’s time to move indoors for winter sports, it’s worthwhile to take one last look back at a fall campaign we’ll never forget.

Scarborough senior Lana Djuranovic toyed with opposing defenses this fall, scoring 32 goals and leading the Red Storm to a second straight Class A state title before taking her talents to the University of Miami. File photos

Soccer has long been a Forecaster Country specialty and 2023 was more of the same, as four teams took home Gold Balls and several others fell just short.

In Class A, Scarborough’s girls came into the season defending a state title and the Red Storm finished it by celebrating another Gold Ball victory. Scarborough, paced by the nonpareil skills of senior standout Lana Djuranovic, stumbled early against Thornton Academy, then closed on a 14-game surge, blanking Bangor, 2-0, in the final. Cheverus, Falmouth, Portland and South Portland enjoyed trips to the postseason as well.

Deering’s boys enjoyed the finest season in program history, getting past Falmouth and Portland to reach the state game for the first time, but the Rams’ title dreams were dashed by Lewiston in an overtime heartbreaker, 3-2. Scarborough and South Portland also reached the playoffs.


Class B proved to be another Yarmouth clean sweep.

The girls had their share of doubters when the season began, but were able to replace the production of standout Ava Feeley with a balanced attack, led by the undeniable Aine Powers, and blanked Ellsworth, 2-0, to go back-to-back. The Clippers went through Freeport and Cape Elizabeth en route to the title and Greely enjoyed a solid campaign as well.

On the boys’ side, Yarmouth made it four in a row and eight of nine, dominating John Bapst in a 7-0 state game victory. Cape Elizabeth once again was the Clippers’ victim in the regional final, while Freeport and Greely made their share of noise over the course of the season.

In Class C, Waynflete’s girls ended a decade-long title drought, enjoying a regional final victory over rival North Yarmouth Academy, the four-time reigning Class D champion which moved up in class this fall, then outlasting Fort Kent in penalty kicks in the state game to bring home the Gold Ball.

Waynflete’s boys saw their four-year title reign end at the hands of eventual champion Mt. Abram. NYA also made the playoffs.

Greely’s football team made history, winning the eight-man, large division South region title, the program’s first crown at any level.

On the gridiron, two local teams got to the state game.


Portland went undefeated in the regular season under new coach Sean Green and fought its way to the Class A state final, but there, the Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize on some golden opportunities and went down to a 24-14 defeat.

In eight-man action, Greely, which didn’t win a year ago, then lost three of its first four games this fall, surged at the right time and reached a state final for the first time before going down to a 28-0 defeat to Mt. Desert Island. Yarmouth, the defending large school champion, was upset by Brunswick in the semifinals.

Deering turned heads early in the season due to a hot start under new coach Brendan Scully, then made it to the playoffs before losing to Westbrook in the Class B South quarterfinals.

In Class C South, Cheverus reached the semifinals before losing to Fryeburg Academy. Cape Elizabeth also made it to the semifinals and lost to eventual state champion Leavitt.

In Class D South, Freeport had an up-and-down campaign, won a playoff game, then lost to eventual regional champion Wells in the semifinals.

Lucy Johnson and her Cheverus teammates had a ton to get excited about this fall, as Johnson became the state’s all-time leading career goal scorer, with her final tally giving the Stags the Class A state championship.

Two of the three field hockey state champions came from our backyard.


In Class A, Cheverus was the team to watch all season. The Stags, who won the 2021 championship then were upset by Skowhegan a year ago, had no trouble getting back to the state game, where again, the River Hawks awaited. The teams produced an instant classic and the game was deadlocked until 58 seconds remained when the state’s premier player, junior Lucy Johnson, finished in highlight-reel fashion to give Cheverus a therapeutic and scintillating 2-1 victory and its second title. The Stags beat Scarborough along the way and Falmouth was also a playoff participant.

In Class B, Freeport, coming off a surprise trip to states in 2022, was expected to get back and would ultimately do so, but it didn’t come easily. The Falcons lost to Yarmouth in the season opener and it would be the Clippers earning the top seed in the South Region for the playoffs. Freeport ousted Greely in the quarterfinals, then got a chance to face Yarmouth again in the regional final and thanks to a goal from Sophie Bradford in the second overtime, advanced, 2-1. The Falcons then took on high-powered Cony and while the Rams earned 23 penalty corners, early goals from Emily Groves and Bradford put Freeport ahead to stay and its defense did the rest in a history-making 2-0 victory, which gave the Falcons their first-ever crown. Cape Elizabeth was also a playoff team.

In Class C, Waynflete returned to stand-alone varsity status and surprised many by making the playoffs.

Yarmouth senior Annie Vinnakota led the Clippers to to yet another Class B state championship and never lost a postseason match in her high school career.

Yarmouth won yet another volleyball state title while Scarborough fell just short.

The Clippers, who welcomed Erin Quirk as their new coach after dynasty creator Jim Senecal retired, struggled early, losing three of their first five matches, but they closed on a 12-match surge and beat Washington Academy in the state match to make it five consecutive championships. Along the way, Yarmouth got past Falmouth. Greely enjoyed its best season in years and got to the state semifinals. Cape Elizabeth also qualified for the postseason.

In Class A, Scarborough took part in a three-team race to the top along with Gorham and Biddeford, splitting with both teams during the regular season. The Red Storm then knocked off the Tigers in a five-set thriller in the semifinals, but couldn’t solve the Rams in the state match, falling in four games as Gorham took home the big prize for the first time. Deering had a terrific season as well, getting to the state semifinals before losing to Gorham. Cheverus, Portland and South Portland were also playoff teams.


Portland’s Nathan Blades helped his team win a Class A state title for the first time in 45 seasons.

On the trails, Portland and Freeport’s boys’ teams won state titles.

The Bulldogs’ crown ended a drought which dated to the Carter Administration in 1978, as they held off Scarborough to bring home the Class A prize. Nathan Blades was second individually, but came in first for scoring purposes. Portland’s girls placed third and featured individual champion Samantha Moore.

Freeport repeated in Class B, while Greely came in third. In the girls’ meet, Greely was second to York.

Waynflete’s girls finished second in Class C.

Freeport’s Eli Spaulding won another Class B individual golf title earlier this fall.

Golf produced one team and two individual state champions.

Falmouth took home the Class A title.


In Class B, Freeport’s Eli Spaulding won on the boys’ side for a third year in a row, shooting a 2-under round of 70.

In Class C, NYA’s Maddy Prokopius won the girls’ crown with a score of 88.

Fall 2023 team state champions

Cheverus Stags field hockey, Class A
Falmouth Navigators golf, Class A
Freeport Falcons field hockey, Class B
Freeport Falcons boys’ cross country, Class B
Portland Bulldogs boys’ cross country, Class A
Scarborough Red Storm girls’ soccer, Class A
Waynflete Flyers girls’ soccer, Class C
Yarmouth Clippers boys’ soccer, Class B
Yarmouth Clippers girls’ soccer, Class B
Yarmouth Clippers volleyball, Class B

Fall 2023 team regional champions/state finalists

Deering Rams boys’ soccer, Class A South
Greely Rangers football, eight-man, large division, South region
Portland Bulldogs football, Class A North
Scarborough Red Storm volleyball, Class A
Waynflete Flyers girls’ cross country, Class C South

Fall 2023 individual state champions


Cross country
Samantha Moore, Portland, Class A

Maddy Prokopius, NYA, Class C girls
Eli Spaulding, Freeport, Class B boys

Michael’s top five stories

5) Close calls on the gridiron

There was ample excitement on the football field this fall, but ultimately no Gold Balls returned to Forecaster Country. Portland got all the way to the Class A state game before losing to Thornton Academy. Greely was a state finalist as well, in the eight-man, large school division, but was blanked by Mt. Desert Island in the final.

4) Yarmouth volleyball does it again


Yarmouth’s volleyball program dominated Class B between 2018-22, but this fall, the Clippers were supposed to come back to the pack, a prediction that appeared to be playing out when they began the year 2-3. Yarmouth wouldn’t lose again, however, winning nine straight matches to finish the regular season, then the Clippers fought their way through Falmouth, Messalonskee and Washington Academy (avenging a regular season loss in the process) to make it five straight state titles.

3) Portland cross country ends title drought

Portland’s boys’ cross country team was on the short list of title favorites coming into the fall season, but the Bulldogs simply wouldn’t be denied in the postseason. After winning the regional meet by a convincing 33 points over Bonny Eagle, Portland would be pushed by multiple teams at the state meet, but the Bulldogs tallied 68 points, held off runner-up Scarborough by 10 and for the first time since 1978, celebrated a championship. Portland was led by Nathan Blades, who was second individually at states and first for scoring purposes, with a time of 15 minutes, 51.59 seconds. Benjamin Prestes, Elias Coleman, Owen Blades and Aran Johnson rounded out a powerhouse squad.

2) Cheverus and Freeport win field hockey titles

Expectations were high entering the 2023 field hockey season and ultimately, local teams exceeded them. Cheverus, for the third year in a row, ran roughshod over the opposition, as junior standout Lucy Johnson scored goals with abandon and became the state’s all-time career leading scorer. The Stags, as expected, finally got tested in the Class A state game by perennial powerhouse Skowhegan and thanks to a Johnson goal with 58 seconds to go, won the title, 2-1. In Class B South, Freeport and Yarmouth were without peer and met in the regional final. There, Sophie Bradford’s goal in the second-overtime allowed the Falcons to advance and after losing in the Class B state game in 2022, Freeport wouldn’t be denied this time around, downing Cony in a thriller, 2-0, to win the first championship in program history.

1) Four Gold Balls on the pitch


Everywhere you looked in Forecaster Country this fall, you found a soccer state champion. In Class A, the Lana Djuranovic-led Scarborough girls went back-to-back and Deering’s boys got to the final for the first time, only to lose an overtime heartbreaker to Lewiston. In Class B, the Yarmouth boys won their fourth championship in a row and the girls were along for the ride as well, going back-to-back. In Class C, the Waynflete girls brought home their first Gold Ball in a decade.

The parade of champions figures to continue in 2024.

Final super-six polls (Forecaster coverage area)


1 Portland
2 Cheverus
3 Greely
4 Yarmouth
5 Deering
6 Cape Elizabeth

Boys’ soccer


1 Yarmouth
2 Deering
3 Portland
4 Cape Elizabeth
5 Falmouth
6 Scarborough

Girls’ soccer

1 Scarborough
2 Yarmouth
3 Cape Elizabeth
4 Waynflete
5 Cheverus
6 Greely

Field hockey

1 Cheverus
2 Freeport
3 Yarmouth
4 Cape Elizabeth
5 Scarborough
6 Falmouth


1 Yarmouth
2 Scarborough
3 Deering
4 Greely
5 Falmouth
6 Cheverus

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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