Saturday’s Class D South regional championship game between Lisbon and Winthrop/Monmouth had so many twists and turns, and storylines galore, that one game story couldn’t possibly do the instant classic justice.

Here are some leftover stories to tell from an “all-timer,” as one person described the game.

Anatomy of a game-winning play

Through 47 minutes and 44 seconds of play, Lisbon senior Kurtis Bolton had accumulated no offensive statistics. Yet he ended up making the biggest offensive play of the game.

It was his 55-yard catch on a Hail Mary pass that put the Greyhounds on the doorstep of the game-winning touchdown. Noah Francis’s 1-yard scoring run provided the points, but Bolton’s one play made it possible.

Bolton said he’s never been the one to get his number called on a play like that. And truthfully, it wasn’t his number called on the Hail Mary play either.


“I was definitely going to Tyrese (Joseph), my big target,” quarterback Tyler Halls said. “But I couldn’t even see. I got hit. I think the ball got hit around a couple times, and Kurtis — he’s our sneakiest, fastest, quickest player on this team, and he came through. He’s a big player. I knew he had it in him.”

If the play was called as Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan originally wanted, Halls wouldn’t have been the player throwing the ball on that play.

“Tyler can throw that ball a long way downfield. To be honest with you, I wanted Tyler on the receiving end, and Coach (Chris) Kates said, ‘I’d rather have Tyler throwing it,’ and that was the key,” Mynahan said. “I don’t know how Kurtis got up that high for the ball, but the smallest guy in the group, I guess he just wanted it.”

The unlikely recipient of Halls’ pass, Bolton admitted the unlikeliness of the play actually working in Lisbon’s favor.

“This is like when you play Madden, and there’s three seconds in the fourth quarter and you’re down by one point, and you’re like, ‘I’ll just throw it to my best receiver,’ and he happens to bring it,” Bolton said.

On the flip side of the play, Winthrop/Monmouth coach Dave St. Hilaire could only lament Bolton’s Madden and its success.


“You knock that one down, then it’s four seconds (left),” St. Hilaire said. “You knock another one down, game over, you head to Fitzpatrick (Stadium). And instead it was a miracle play, and season over.

“I’ll have to see it on film, and I don’t know if I want to really watch it.”

A big heart

That Noah Francis scored the game-winning touchdown in Saturday’s Class D South final may get lost in history, and in many people’s memories, but there are few options that would cross Mynahan’s and Kates’ minds when deciding who would get the ball at the 1-yard line out of a timeout with 4.1 seconds left.

Not that Francis would give them a choice, anyway.

“I was just in shock that we came up with that big play,” Francis said. “When Coach (Kates) came to the huddle, I just told him, ‘Coach, give me the ball, I’m getting this in for us,’ because I didn’t want to lose. I knew we had to come up big because Kurtis came up big for us. I just jammed it in there and saw the hands go up.”


Francis and his 275-pound frame are tailor-made for a have-to-have-it play at the goal line. It was his number that was called for Lisbon’s first touchdown run, and again on its last.

“I’ve been fortunate. I’ve had a lot of really tough backs, but Noah is right up there with all of them,” Mynahan said. “I think that his heart was in that game out there today, and it meant a lot to him. What a way for him to go out, too.”

Francis finished with 21 carries for 72 yards. It was a far cry for the small handful of touches he got in a season-opening loss to the Ramblers. But Mynahan has called Francis one of the hardest-working players on the team and the heart of the team, and he was at the center of it all  when Lisbon needed to score the game-winning touchdown.

Final thoughts

There may be a new South regional champion in Class D, with Oak Hill’s three-year reign over, but the North champion is a repeat one from the past two years. The Huskies from Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield will once again play for a gold ball, thanks to a 41-0 win over Dexter in their regional final. But thanks to the Raiders the past two years, they’ll be looking for their first title in three consecutive tries next Saturday.

The matchup between MCI and Lisbon will be one of three state championship games at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.


The Class A title game will feature last year’s loser and a school with multiple titles. North champion Portland advanced to its second straight state final thanks to another win over Windham, which the Bulldogs beat in last year’s North final. They’ll face Bonny Eagle, which beat upset-minded Scarborough in the South final. The Scots were state champions three years ago.

The Class C final will also be played in Portland. Last year’s South runner-up, Wells, will get to play for the title this year. the Warriors, the 2011 Class B state champs, will clash with North champ Mount Desert Island, which ended Winslow’s four-year run of playing the state final. The Trojans avenged their only regular-season loss, as did Wells, which knocked off Cape Elizabeth in the regional final.

The appetizer for Championship Saturday in Portland is the Class B state final at the University of Maine on Friday night in Orono. The first gold ball handed out will go to either Brunswick from the North or Kennebunk from the South. Both teams will be looking to make amends for missing out on prior championship chances.

The Dragons are playing in their third straight final, but don’t have to worry about facing Marshwood this time around. The Rams are returning to Orono for the first time since being on the wrong end of a heartbreaking state-final defeat to Cony three years ago.

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