Raiders hammer Falmouth, back in the playoff picture

BLINDSIDED — Fryeburg Academy's CJ Bartlett sacks Falmouth quarterback Noah Nelson during Friday's matinee game. Also closing in is Raider Jake Thurston. (Rivet Photo)



First Downs: FA 12, FAL 5

Penalties: FA 9-60, FAL 7-60

Rushing: FA 50-398, FAL 29-(8)

Passing: FA 1-9-11, FAL 7-16-128

Total Offense: FA 409, FAL 120

FA Rushing: Devine Dockery 18-312, Zach Sheehan 7-45, Andrew Rascoe 11-(1), Kyle Bonner 5-27, Ryan Buzzell 1-0, Ryan Gullikson 1-6, Matt Boucher 4-9.

FA Receiving: Ryan Buzzell 1-11.

BALL SECURITY — FA running back Kyle Bonner securely wraps up the football during last Friday's action against Falmouth. The Raiders snapped a three-game losing streak in impressive fashion with a 44-6 victory. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG —  Devine Dockery had more fun on the football field than he ever could at the Fair.

Dockery rushed for 312 yards and scored three touchdowns Friday afternoon to help Fryeburg Academy snap a three-game losing skid with a 44-6 victory over Falmouth.

Behind solid downfield blocks from receivers Kyle Bonner, Ryan Buzzell and Bright Amoako, Dockery broke loose for TD sprints of 35 and 67 yards, and nearly had another long gainer, but was tracked down by speedy Falmouth senior Jacob Buhelt after an 82-yard gain.

The victory put the Raiders (3-3) back into the tourney hunt. With games remaining against Cape Elizabeth and Spruce Mountain, two more victories would land Fryeburg into the post-season.

A 22-0 first quarter was just the jumpstart the Raiders needed.

Falmouth appeared to suffer from bus lag as the Raiders played at a different speed over the first 12 minutes.

CHASE FOR THE LOOSE BALL — After a low snap, Falmouth quarterback Noah Nelson and Fryeburg lineman Rod Desroche chase the loose ball. Nelson recovered the ball deep in Yachtsmen territory. (Rivet Photo)

Fryeburg scored on its first two possessions, including a 3-yard TD run by quarterback Andrew Rascoe, who added the two-point conversion with a zip pass to Kyle Bonner, who just managed to break the goal line plane before being knocked backwards by Matt Edmunds.

Defensively, the Raiders swarmed to the ball, allowing just one Yachtsmen first down in the opening quarter.

Fryeburg pushed the lead to 22-0 when Dockery ran behind a great block on the outside by Bonner, which led to a wide open sideline resulting in a 67-yard scoring jaunt.

Whether it was a large lead or they were simply out of gas, the Raiders became pretty quiet in the second quarter.

Junior Andrew Lyman thwarted one Falmouth drive with a sack resulting in a 10-yard loss.

Fryeburg had a chance to add another score  midway through the quarter after Dockery busted free for a 43-yard gain and later picked up another 17 yards up the middle. But, FA was slapped with consecutive snap infractions (the center illegally picked up the ball, rather than rolling it so the laces were on top) to stall the drive.

Falmouth had a chance to get on the scoreboard with under a minute left when Storm Covens picked off a Rascoe pass at the FA-28. But, the Yachtsmen failed on three pass attempts. FA seniors Jake Thurston and Kevin Reardon put an exclamation mark on the Raider defensive stand when they sacked Falmouth quarterback Noah Nelson with 14.2 seconds left in the half.

“We scored 22 points in the first quarter, and then maybe we got a little tired. The blocks we were making in the first quarter, we weren’t making in the second. We were more aggressive, and came off the ball quicker than they did early on, especially our ends, which they had a tough time blocking,” FA Coach David Turner said. “I thought in the middle stretch, Falmouth came off the ball better than we were. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy, which was the case in the second and third quarters. We had things there, but we just didn’t make plays.”

If there was one downside to the offensive explosion, it had to be the FA passing game, which was virtually non-existent (1-of-9 for 11 yards).

“It was a little disappointing because we had some things there, but didn’t execute very well. Sometimes, when you are running the ball effectively, maybe you don’t get into a rhythm. We certainly didn’t have any rhythm working in the passing game today,” Coach Turner said. “Hopefully, we can throw the ball better the next two weeks because we’re going to need to.”

Cornerback Zach Sheehan ended the scoreless drought with 2:07 left in the third quarter when he stepped in front of a Falmouth receiver on a screen attempt, intercepting the ball and running it back 30 yards for a score.

The two-point pass conversion failed.

“I liked the number of blue shirts on the ball throughout the game. We did a nice job in coverage, and didn’t get beat deep,” Coach Turner said. “The best play of the day was when we had the bad snap before the half, yet stopped them in the red zone. If they had scored, it would have been just a two-possession game and suddenly they would have some momentum. The defense came up with big plays when we needed them.”

FA ends pressured the Falmouth backfield all day with CJ Bartlett and Dockery each registering sacks. In fact, Falmouth had 12 negative plays on the day as the Raiders held the Yacht to minus-8 yards rushing.

Buzzell set up the next scoring drive with a 20-yard punt return, which Falmouth added 15 more yards to as the result of a facemask penalty. Starting at the FAL-26, Dockery picked up 16 yards and three plays later scored from 3 yards out. Rascoe scrambled for the 2-point conversion to up the margin to 36-0.

Reserve lineman Winston Richards recovered a fumble to stop a Falmouth drive with 8:34 left. The Raiders cashed in as the second offensive unit drove 57-yards in eight plays with Sheehan scoring from 17 yards out. The FA sophomore added a 17-yard pick-up to start the drive. He added the two-point conversion, following strong blocks by David McLaughlin and CJ Bartlett.

Falmouth avoided the shutout when reserve quarterback Jack Simonds connected on a 65-yard bomb down the left sideline to Austin Wheeler with 3:21 remaining.

Up next: If the Raiders entertain any shot of reaching the playoffs, they face a must-win Friday night at Cape Elizabeth. Game time is 7 p.m.

The top 8 teams qualify for the post-season, and as of today, the Raiders are eighth, just barely ahead of  Cape, and just behind Spruce Mountain and Mountain Valley.  A win Friday and a victory against Spruce Mountain in the regular season finale — Homecoming — would put the Raiders at 5-3 and in the playoffs.

But, Coach Turner knows better than to look too far ahead. His only thought is on how FA can beat the Capers.

“Cape has played tough teams tough. They are better than their record indicates. Honestly, they are better than what people give them credit for. I know they are better. I have seen them. They are tough,” Coach Turner said. “We have to play our best.”

The coach is right. Cape’s losses are: 20-0 to Marshwood (5-1, Number 2), 22-7 to Westbrook (5-1, Number 1), 20-7 to York (4-2, Number 4) and 21-7 to Wells (5-1, Number 3).

Cape has wins over Lake Region (28-0) and Falmouth (30-14).

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