TURNER — York appeared ready to keep up with Leavitt after the team’s opening possessions of the Class C South football final Friday.

But three plays that Leavitt made on defense and special teams turned the game in the Hornets’ favor in a big way, and they eventually cruised to a 42-7 victory over the Wildcats at Libby Field.

Leavitt’s Mark Herman, right breaks up a pass intended for York’s Evan Bourgoine during the first half of Friday’s game in Turner. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Top-seeded Leavitt (11-0) regained the lead, 14-7, after the second-seeded Wildcats (9-2) led 7-6 following the teams’ first drives of the game. Then the Hornets converted an onside kick, and scored on the ensuing drive to push their lead to 22-7.

“That was a big turning point in the game,” York coach Matt Nelson said.

Wyatt Hathaway’s bouncing squib kick went off a York up-man and into the diving arms of Leavitt’s Denver Taylor.

“It wasn’t intentionally an onside,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “After that first big return, and they had (Riley) Linn and (Hayden) Henriksen deep, we really didn’t want to kick it to those guys, so we were trying to just kick it a certain area and put it down in there, and we had kind of loaded up some speed on the outside and those guys came down and just made a play.”

The Hornets capped off a nine-play, 44-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hathaway to Cole Morin, the first of scoring connections between the two.

“We felt like if we could really come out and run the ball early that we would get some play-action stuff because of the amount of man-to-man they play,” Mike Hathaway said. “Obviously, Cole was a big target, and they were kind of putting their best guy, we thought, on Cam (Jordan). So Cole had a good matchup, and we had three or four good plays in the game plan for him, and Wyatt connected, and got some time and we made the play.”

The Hornets ran the ball well from the start. Damion Calder opened the scoring with a 46-yard touchdown run four plays into the game, and Leavitt racked up 231 yards on 25 carries in the first half.

Morin’s second touchdown catch was a 59-yarder in the second quarter that made it 30-7. He caught Hathaway’s pass near the back end of the Wildcats’ secondary and out-ran the chasing defenders the rest of the way.

“I don’t get in that situation very much, so I peaked back there a little bit,” Morin said.

Calder ended the Wildcats’ ensuing drive with an interception of York quarterback Teagan Hynes, and then twin brother DaSean ran for an 82-yard touchdown on the next play to put the Hornets even farther ahead.

“When DaSean comes out and hits that home run, with that long run after that pick, that was a big play,” Mike Hathaway said. “I thought that really tilted the game.”

The Wildcats, who were shut out in the first half of the teams’ regular-season meeting (York’s lone loss of the season prior to Friday), scored on their opening possession, with Hynes running in from one yard out on fourth down. He was also 3-for-3 passing on the drive.

“That’s been the strength of our team all year is our ability to throw the ball,” Nelson said.

Leavitt’s Dasean Calder breaks up a pass intended for York’s Hayden Henriksen during the first half of Friday’s game in Turner. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

But the Wildcats didn’t complement that passing attack (Hynes was 11 of 24 for 150 yards) with a running game. York was held to only 16 yards on 10 carries in the first half, including just one yard by Linn on a key fourth-and-goal play from the Leavitt 4 in the first quarter when the Wildcats were trailing 22-7.

“They just played great, solid defense and we just couldn’t punch it through,” Nelson said of the Hornets.

Hathaway finished 6 of 10 for 141 yards and four touchdowns. His 30-yard scoring pass to Jordan gave the Hornets the lead for good in the first quarter.

Leavitt will face the winner of Saturday’s Class C North championship between Winslow and Maine Central Institute in next week’s state title game in Orono.


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