ROCKPORT — Despite out-gaining last year's Class C playoff team in total yards (192-92), first downs (13-7) and running 18 more plays, it was turnovers (3-1) that doomed the Camden Hills varsity football team in its 14-6 Saturday, Sept. 15 loss to Freeport in what was considered an upset bid to prove to the high school football pundits locally and around the state that this squad is to be taken seriously.
The enthusiastic crowd at Don Palmer Field started the day by singing our National Anthem acapella due to some technical difficulties. Both teams’ players and fans joined in and at that moment one knew this was going to be a great day for football, and it started with a Freeport fumble on its opening play.
However, the Jammers returned in kind a few plays later and from there the back and forth defensive tussle commenced.
Camden Hills took the early lead 6-0 on a 20 yard touchdown scamper by Ethan Cayouette in the first quarter that featured high stepping out of some tackles and sprinting the final 15 yards.
The crowd cheered with much optimism towards the contest the rest of the afternoon.
Cayoutte would later come out of the game after being shaken up on the defensive side of the ball.
In the second quarter, the Windjammers held Freeport on downs near midfield but a superb punt spotted the ball at the Jammers own one yard line.
Two plays later a bobbled hand-off gave the Falcons the ball at the Camden Hills two yard line that was then punched in from the one as the Falcons used a formation consisting of two lineman size players in the backfield stacked behind the offensive line.
A later second quarter touchdown was enabled by an earlier quarterback scramble out of trouble by Freeport finding an open receiver for a 34 yard gain into Camden Hills territory.
The second half featured great defense with both squads refusing to resign their efforts, the Jammers being lead on the day by linebackers Brady Hedstrom (six total tackles) and Sam Hebert (two tackles for loss).
Camden Hills assumed possession with a little under five minutes to go in the game deep in their own territory. A 30 yard off-tackle burst by senior Connor Hedstrom brought the Jammers to midfield and gave life to the Windjammers and a raucous crowd.
It was at this point that Camden Hills showed its mettle.
Quarterback Spencer Johndro (team high 61 rushing yards on the day) found his way to a first down inside the Falcons 25 yard line and on a late down whipped a perfect pass to junior Aedan Kehoe for another first down at the seven yard line.
The Windjammers worked the ball to the three yard line on a weakside flat route to sophomore Will Thorn.
As 4.4 seconds showed on the clock, Johndro rolled to his right looking for an open receiver in the end zone with the hope of a touchdown to get to a game-tying conversion attempt. But the ball was deflected by a pack of players on both teams and fell short of junior Brady Hedstrom's attempt to haul it in before it hit the turf.
Camden Hills head coach Jeremy Marks said about the crowd support and enthusiasm on Saturday: “It was a shining example of why this community is so special. Regardless of the challenges we face there always seems to be a can do attitude and willingness to support one another.”
“We had targeted this game as measuring stick and while we feel good about how we measure up to one of the better teams in Class E, we now realize that we are far from being the team we can be,” said Marks.
Camden Hills next goes to Readfield to play undefeated Maranacook, another former Class C and Class D team looking to return to prominence on Friday, Sept. 21.
“In terms of Marranacook, we are looking forward to letting them know we still have not gotten over our loss to them last year in the Class E semi finals,” Marks said. “It should be another tough fight between two well coached teams.”
The Windjammers then return to Rockport for homecoming under the lights on Friday, Sept. 28 against Traip Academy.
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