Game changing plays power Raiders to 41-0 romp of York in C quarterfinals

BREAKING THE GRIP of a York defender, Jared Chisari heads down the sideline for a long touchdown run. (Rivet Photo)
First Downs: 10
Penalties: 9-80
Turnovers: None
Rushing: Jared Chisari 14-236, Cody Gullikson 17-94, Oscar Saunders 2-4, Justin Daniels 2-1, Liam Chisari 1-0. Total: 36 carries, 335 yards
Passing: Oscar Saunders 3-7-33
Receiving: Cobey Johnson 2-15, Cody Gullikson 1-18
Total Offense: 368 yards
Tackles (solo, assist, total): Cody Gullikson 3-1-4, Tucker Buzzell 3-0-3, Jack Campbell 2-1-3, Justin Daniels 0-1-1, Caleb Eklund 2-2-4, Eli Mahan 0-1-1, Liam Harriman 3-0-3, Cobey Johnson 1-0-1, Nathan Knapp 1-0-1, Josh Frye 0-1-1, Arnold Jaber 0-1-1, Scott Parker 2-1-3, Calvin Southwick 1-0-1, Charlie Stokes 2-0-2, Isaak McKenney 0-1-1, Cole LeBlond 1-1-2, Jaycob Lingren 1-0-1
Fumble recoveries: Caleb Eklund, Bryce Micklon
Interceptions: Cobey Johnson, Eli Mahan
Record: 7-2
First Downs: 7
Penalties: 2-15
Turnovers: 4
Rushing: Jake Martin 11-18, Noah Caramihalis 1-(1), Shane Pidgeon 1-6, Connor Daley 1-0, Teagan Hynes 3-3, Trevor Yorke 1-10, #40 2-10. Total: 20 carries, 46 yards
Passing: Payton Small 8-16-68, Teagan Hynes 2-4-5
Total Offense: 119 yards
Record: 4-5

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — As speedster Jared Chisari barely avoided stepping onto the white-painted sideline, all York defender Riley Linn needed to do was deliver a bump or tug of the jersey to stop the play.

Easier said than done.

Chisari broke Linn’s shirt grab and turned on the jets for a 69-yard touchdown on the fourth play of Saturday’s Class C quarterfinal game.

The electric Raider senior rushed for 236 yards on 14 carries to lead Fryeburg Academy (7-2) to a 41-0 stomping of sixth-seeded York (4-5). Fellow senior back Cody Gullikson provided the inside thunder, rushing for three touchdowns and 94 yards on 17 carries as the Raiders scored 27 first half points.

Thunder & lightning — an unstoppable Raider one-two punch, at least in Round 1 of the playoffs.

“It doesn’t take long for Jared to get to full speed. He ran hard today. He wasn’t going down on the first or second hit. He kept running through tackles. The difficult thing about defending Jared is he can break through and be at full speed. Once he gets out there, he’s gone. It doesn’t matter if you think you have the angle on him, he will run by you. It doesn’t look like he’s running hard at all, but he has that deceptive speed that defenders suddenly find themselves unable to catch him,” FA Coach David Turner said. “Jared and Cody both run the same plays. Cody can run sweeps, as well. He doesn’t have Jared’s speed, but does set things up and can break off long runs. It’s a tremendous advantage to have two guys that can each run the same play.”

FUMBLE FORCED by Raider cornerback Scott Parker, which was recovered by FA's Caleb Eklund and resulted in a Chisari score.
What: Class C South semifinal
Who: #2 Cape Elizabeth (7-2) vs. #3 Fryeburg Academy (7-2)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Cape Elizabeth
Previous meeting: Cape 23, Raiders 7. The Capers dominated up front as senior running back Ryan Weare rushed for 123 yards on 36 carries while the CE defense held the Raiders to just 18 yards on 12 plays offensively in the second half. FA finished with 139 yards for the contest. CE lead 14-7 at the half.
Cape is 5-0 at home.
Fryeburg is 3-1 on the road — the lone loss to the Capers.
Coach’s Comments: “We played them three weeks ago and they took it to us. We hung in there for a half, but we couldn’t get anything going offensively. They are very fast defensively. They are quick up front. They beat us at every position last time. We have to play extremely well up front and match their speed,” Coach David Turner said. “I think we came out a little flat for some reason. I am hoping that won’t be the case this time. We did a pretty good job defensively, but penalties that eliminate big plays always come back to bite you in a playoff game, particularly when you are in the second round against a good opponent.”
Coach Turner added, “Offensively, Cape does a lot of things. They run it well. The guys on the perimeter that can run and catch. And, they have a quarterback that can throw it. We can’t give up big plays.”
Winner advances to the Class C South championship game against either #1 Leavitt (8-1) or #4 Gardiner (4-5). Leavitt beat Yarmouth 48-7 in the semis while Gardiner edged Morse 13-8.

Gullikson was quick to praise the play of the big boys up front — the offensive line that included Caleb Eklund, Joe LeBrun, Reese Kneissler, Tucker Buzzell and Kempton Maillett.

“We (Jared and I) both like having the ball, but it’s really about our offensive line, which took over the game. On the stat sheet, Jared and I look like we had good games, but it’s really the offensive line,” Gullikson said.

Indeed, the Raiders smothered the York running game on the defensive side, allowing a mere 46 yards on 20 carries, while were devastating on the offensive front as FA rolled to 368 total yards.

The bounces certainly went the Raiders’ way right from the start.

On the opening drive, FA quarterback Oscar Saunders was stripped of the ball, but Chisari recovered it for a four-yard loss. The next play, Chisari bolted right, picked up a few blocks and beat Linn down the sideline for a score. Freshman Eddie Thurston kicked the extra point, and with just three minutes gone, FA was up 7-0.

York went 3-and-out on its first possession as Gullikson and fellow linebacker Tucker Buzzell set the defensive tone with big time hits, limiting the Cats to just four yards.

Fryeburg jumped out 14-0 on an eight-play, 64-yard drive with Gullikson rumbling over Linn off tackle and then breaking a shirt-tackle try by Dawson Gundlah for a 9-yard TD.

Gullikson kept the drive alive by hauling in an 18-yard completion from Saunders, who rolled right to escape Wildcat pressure and then fired a strike.

The Raiders had a chance to deliver a knockout punch when freshman Bryce Micklon recovered a squib kick at the Y-41. But, a holding penalty erased a Chisari 26-yard TD run and stalled the drive. FA was plagued throughout the first half by holding penalties (four).

“We had some holding penalties out on the perimeter, as well. You try to teach your guys to keep blocking until you hear the (official’s) whistle. Our line and our receivers do a great job of blocking downfield,” Coach Turner said. “I think its unfortunate, at times, that the officials don’t see the entire play that we get called for holds. It was frustrating, but fortunately, we were able to overcome it.”

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Chisari made it 20-0 when he showed patience for a hole to open up off tackle, then shook off a couple of hits and raced 76-yards for his second TD. A holding penalty on the PAT kick and a block-in-the-back on a subsequent play forced the Raiders to attempt a pass. Saunders was sacked by York’s Owen Grader.

The Wildcats did manage to pick up a first down when quarterback Payton Small hooked up with Shane Pidgeon along the sideline for 21 yards. FA’s defense, however, shut down three running plays to force a punt.

Chisari put the Raiders in position to score again with a 23-yard jaunt off the right side, but the drive stalled on two incomplete passes with 2:48 left until halftime.

York didn’t keep the ball long. Running back Jake Martin tried to get to the outside, but was hit by Raider corner Scott Parker, who jolted the ball free. York had a chance to recover, but the ball somehow skidded under tight end Tim MacDonald, and eventually secured by Raider end Caleb Eklund.

With 2:30 left on the clock, the Raiders needed just three plays to score as Gullikson gained 10, 1 and 1 yard. Thurston booted the extra point for a 27-0 halftime lead.

Coach Turner had a simple message for his club inside the lockerroom.

“We needed to go out and stay focused, keep our mouths shut, play to the whistle, do our assignments and play good football,” he said. “If they don’t score, we win. It was about keeping our composure and keep pounding in hopes of putting them away.”

Challenged by their coach, Randy Small, to play with more intensity, the Wildcats found some success throwing the ball as senior signal caller Payton Small coolly executed a screen pass to MacDonald for a nine-yard gain on fourth down, near midfield, to keep possession.

Then, the rookie stole the show. Freshman lineman Eli Mahan intercepted Small’s next pass and rumbled all the way to the Y-17. Gullikson converted a third down play with a five-yard pickup, lineman Josh Frye saved the drive with a fumble recovery, and Chisari scored his third TD of the game from 8 yards out. The extra point try was good for a 34-0 lead with 6:59 left on the clock.

Small was intercepted on his next pass try, this time by Cobey Johnson. FA tacked on the final score of the day as Gullikson bounced off a few tacklers for a 8-yard TD. The drive featured a 28-yard sweep by Chisari.

Steady Eddie (Thurston) was perfect on the day, going 5-for-5 in extra-point kicks. The backup Raider lineman started kicking in fourth grade as a way to get on the field during Rec football, since only fifth and sixth graders played. Kicking in the basement during the winter months and on the field during the summer has paid off for the FA freshman and the Raiders.

With the Raiders up big, “running time” started with 4:39 left in the third quarter. After FA held against the Cats’ passing attack to end the third, second string players took over and like the starters kept York out of the red zone, preserving the shutout.

As Raider seniors shook hands with York players, they suddenly realized that Saturday was the last time they would play on the Academy field.

“It was a little weird, but we also know we now have another week,” Gullikson said. “We knew they were going to come out hard and we needed to match their intensity. We came out with a lot of energy on defense, and were able to get some turnovers, which our offense took advantage of.”

As for a rematch against Cape Elizabeth, just one of two losses on the Raiders’ record this year (the other being to Leavitt), Gullikson looks forward to Friday night.

“I don’t think we gave them the very best that we have, by any means, in that first game. They’re really, really good, but we didn’t do anything on offense when he had our opportunities. This week, we’re coming back harder,” he said. “We are confident. We just need to stick together, like this week, which the final score today reflected.”

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