LEWISTON — Team Grey caught momentum and rode it to a championship at the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl 7-on-7 football tournament Saturday at Lewiston High School.

Grey defeated Team Red 25-14 in the title game.

“We had fun, we just had fun. Our team chemistry was outstanding,” said Grey’s Keagan Whiting (Lewiston), who was named the tournament MVP.

Grey finished 1-2 and earned the third seed in its pool, but then knocked out second-seeded Purple and top-seeded Green to set up a title-game showdown with Team Red, the top team in Pool B which was led by Lisbon coach Chris Kates.

“Our guys’ team chemistry was pretty cool,” Grey coach Devin Roberts of Mountain Valley said. “In between the round robin and the tournament we actually sat together and went around in a circle and said, ‘Where are you from? Tell us something about your past,’ and as soon as we started playing in that tournament something clicked with all of them and they were a group, they were together, they played smart, knew what we were thinking and they took it and ran with it.”

Grey seized control early in the championship. On the first possession of the game, Grey’s Gavin Perkins (Winthrop) intercepted a pass by Red quarterback Jack Kearing (Mt. Blue), giving Grey a 3-0 lead.

Mountain Valley’s Anthony Mazza extended Grey’s lead to 11-0 by catching a 10-yard touchdown pass thrown by Dylan Coombs (Lawrence).

“We had a couple different defenses and you usually don’t see that in 7-on-7. We had cover-2, cover-3 and cover-4 and then we had some man and some mixed,” Perkins said. “I think all the different defenses put the offenses’ minds in circles.”

Red quickly responded. Kearing hooked up with Bonny Eagle’s Jacob Humphrey for a TD that made the score 13-6.
Whiting, who was a playmaker on both sides of the ball in each round, intercepted the two-point conversion.

“I didn’t think I would (win MVP), I just did my job,” Whiting said.

An interception by Coombs made it 16-8 and gave Grey the ball at the 25-yard line.

“Definitely, the two interceptions — those were pretty clutch, and to start the game like that, it set the whole tone for us,” Roberts said.

Coombs quickly connected with Perkins for a TD that extended the lead to 22-8.

Red again bounced back. Kearing threw another TD pass to Humphrey to cut the deficit to 22-14.

Red’s defense held Grey on its next possession. Still within one score, the Red offense moved the ball, but Perkins halted the drive with an interception in the end zone that gave Grey three points and made its lead 25-14 with about three minutes left.

Red’s defense again stopped Grey, but Red only had time for one play before the clock ran out.

“Most of us were on a pretty good roll and felt like we were going to keep going. It was our last football game that a lot of us would ever play, so let’s just give it our all and have fun,” Perkins said.

“Last football game ever, feels really good.”

SEMIFINALS

RED 21, ORANGE 15, OT: Lisbon’s Daytona McIver returned an interception for a game-winning touchdown that pushed Team Red into the Lobster Bowl tournament final with a semifinal win over Team Orange.

“I happened to get my hand up, and I just got enough of the ball (to) where it popped up, and luckily I was in stride … and it was a footrace at that point,” McIver said.

Quarterback Jack Kearing (Mt. Blue) helped Red control the game early. Kearing, who was originally slated to play for Team Yellow but made a late switch because Red needed a QB, threw touchdown passes to Shamous Cole (South Portland) and Mason Savary (Morse) to give Red a 15-4 lead.

Orange scrapped its way back into the game and tied the score when quarterback Ryan Friend (MCI) connected with Jamal Cariglia (Cony) to tie the game at 15-15.

Orange had the first possession of overtime, but McIver stepped in front of Friend’s pass and raced up the left sideline for the deciding touchdown.

“Previously, they ran the same play, the kid came across the middle and I got burned on it,” McIver said. “I saw it again, and I just jumped it.”

GREY 17, GREEN 16: Green jumped out to the early lead but Grey kept the opposition within its grasp and earned a come-from-behind victory to head to the final against Red.

Wyatt Hathaway (Leavitt) opened the scoring with a touchdown throw to the right side to Robert Dorman (Dexter), then Green added a successful two-point conversion to put the team up 8-0 on the first drive.

Dylan Coombs (Lawrence) answered back quickly with his first of two touchdown throws to Ryan Crockett (Old Orchard Beach) to make it 8-6 Green.

“I think coach called an out and I read the safety and he was standing there so I just went opposite of him,” Crockett said.

Hathaway then found Joe Ringuette (Poland) for a score, which increased Green’s lead to 14-6.

Coombs picked off Hathaway on Green’s next possession to climb within 14-9.

“They took us up big time on zone. Hathaway, the father and the son, know how to read that well,” Grey coach Devin Roberts (Mountain Valley) said. “The second game (against them) we started following the motion and manning up on it and I don’t think they were expecting us to go one-on-one.”

With possession after the interception, Coombs found Crockett again for a touchdown, then found him again for the two-point conversion to go up 17-14.

With less than a minute left, Grey took a sack and gave up two points to make it 17-16 but were able to hold off the charging Green to advance to the final.

“We know it is in the rules but as the game goes on you kind of forget about it,” Roberts said of the sack rule. “When they said it, we were kind of surprised, like, ‘What? They get two points?’”

Grey was undermanned all day, so while the confidence was high, Saturday was an uphill battle.

“They were kind of unexpected because we started with 10 guys but Nathan Newgard (Winslow) got his shoulder popped out and now we are down to nine,” Roberts said.

Grey wasn’t intimidated by Green’s undefeated record heading into the game.

“They’re no better than anyone else, we are all here for a reason and we can beat anyone we want,” Crockett said.

QUARTERFINALS

RED 20, BLUE 11: Red quarterback Jack Kearing of Mt. Blue threw three touchdown passes, including two long scoring strikes to Lisbon’s Daytona McIver.

Kearing’s other TD throw was to Jacob Humphrey (Bonny Eagle).

Peyton Jones (Thornton) scored Blue’s touchdown on a pass over the top by Winthrop’s Ian Steele. Greyden Lindstedt (Cheverus) had an interception for Blue.

ORANGE 14, YELLOW 11: Ryan Friend (MCI) threw touchdown passes to Edward Little’s Cam Irish and Lewiston’s Garrett Mack, and Orange held off Yellow’s comeback to advance to the semifinals.

Mack’s touchdown gave Orange a 14-0 lead. Yellow QB Cam Green (Skowhegan) hooked up with Daniel Tarbox (Thornton) and Ashton Crowell (Biddeford) earned three points with an interception return to cut the deficit to three points with less than five minutes to play.

GREEN 28, GOLD 12: Green and Gold traded touchdowns in the beginning but Wyatt Hathaway (Leavitt) and Team Green kept their foot on the pedal and advanced to the second round of the pool playoffs with a 28-12 win.

Green’s Hathaway threw four touchdowns in the matchup — distributing them to Tyreek Rose (Noble), Joseph Pike (Portland), Zach Delano (Mt. Blue) and Robert Dorman (Dexter) — some from the pocket and some on the run.

Atticus Soehren (Oxford Hills) threw a touchdown to Caden Benedict (Freeport), as did Anthony Panciocco (Freeport), with the two splitting time under center for Gold.

GREY 34, PURPLE 6: Grey’s Dylan Coombs (Lawrence) threw four touchdowns and his defense helped the cause with a couple interceptions in a win over Purple.

Coombs threw a touchdown to Keegan Whiting (Lewiston), who also had an interception brought back to the 25 resulting in three points, as well as Gavin Perkins (Winthrop), Ryan Crockett (Old Orchard Beach) and Anthony Mazza Jr. (Mountain Valley). Purple scored first and held an early 8-6 lead, but ran away with the victory after that.

POOL PLAY

Team Green was the class of Pool A, going 3-0 with victories over Team Purple (21-18), Team Grey (28-16) and Team Gold (18-14). Green’s opening win came in the closing seconds against Purple, with Wyatt Hathaway (Leavitt) connecting with Tyreek Rose (Noble) for his third TD pass of the game.

Team Purple had wins over Team Gold (23-14) and Team Grey (19-17), and Team Grey earned its lone win in its first matchup against Team Gold (16-10).

Team Red went 3-0 in Pool B, beating teams Orange (18-11), Yellow (16-9) and Blue (30-6). Team Orange rebounded with wins in its final two pool-play matchups, taking down Blue (23-6) and Yellow (24-16). Team Yellow earned its lone win with an opening victory over Blue (33-6).

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