Boothbay football caps undefeated season with championship
When the history of Maine high school Class E football is written, the first champion listed will be Boothbay Region High School. The Seahawks capped an undefeated season (10-0) with a 20-14 victory over Maranacook Community School at Sherman Field Nov. 10.
This was Boothbay’s second victory over Maranacook this season. On Sept. 22, Boothbay defeated the Black Bears, 13-6, in a hard fought, come-from-behind victory in Boothbay Harbor. The rematch was another tight contest with one major difference being Boothbay took the early lead, before having to mount a second half rally for another come-from-behind victory.
In the first quarter, Boothbay soared to an early lead on wingback Cameron Crocker’s five-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed.
On defense, Boothbay, as it has all season, was dominant and held Marancook to 19 yards rushing and 97 in total offense. A strange series of events late in the first quarter assisted Maranacook in tying the score. Crocker fumbled giving Maranacook possession near midfield, but two plays later Crocker atoned for the mistake and forced a Maranacook fumble.
But another turnover resulted in Maranacook’s first score. With 19.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Black Bear cornerback Garrit Laliberte intercepted a Boothbay pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.
But as the night progressed, scoring opportunities were rare. The game began with a 23 F temperature and strong gusty winds only made for nearly unbearable playing conditions. The weather and Maranacook defense weren’t the only factors in slowing down the Seahawk offense. Boothbay committed three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception). Maranacook also lost two fumbles.
But Boothbay turned one near mistake into an opportunity. Boothbay attempted a screen pass to wingback Cameron Crocker. The Seahawks had the blocking all set up for Crocker, but the attempted play was well-defended forcing quarterback Jay Hasch to look for another Crocker. Hasch connected to wingback Hunter Crocker in the flat who raced three yards for the score and Boothbay tied it with a two-point conversion.
“It was a fouled up play,” Hunter Crocker said. “The defense played the screen pass and Jay threw over the defense to me.”
On the next possession, it was Boothbay defense’s turn to make a big play, and it did. Linebacker Cameron Crocker stripped the ball from a Maranacook runner and recovered the fumble.
With a championship in sight, the Seahawks slowly moved the ball down the final 40 yards for pay dirt. Cameron Crocker scored on a four-yard run giving Boothbay a 20-14 lead.
For Boothbay coach Ed Crocker, a competitive game between the new league’s No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams was a great way to close out Class E football’s inaugural season.
“I thought both teams fought really hard. The elements played a factor especially with us moving the ball. But Maranacook is a really good team with a tough defense. They definitely wanted it, but, in the end, we wanted it a little bit more,” he said.
This was the first year of Maine Principals’ Association Class E football. The new league included Boothbay, Maranacook, Camden Hills, Sacopee Valley, Traip Academy and Telstar. The program is for small high schools like Boothbay, with 215 students and Telstar, with 212, who don’t have a roster large enough with experienced varsity players, or larger schools like Camden Hills, with 667 students, which still have developing football programs.
The league had a four-team playoff which resulted in Boothbay winning a league title, but not a Maine Principals’ Association state championship or gold ball.