TURNER — Sawyer Hathaway’s biggest catch in Leavitt’s showdown with Cape Elizabeth wasn’t on offense.

The Hornets senior wide receiver made the game’s biggest defensive play of the game, intercepting a Capers fourth-down pass at the Leavitt 10-yard line late in a 21-20 Class C South football win Friday night.

Hathaway said he recognized the play as similar to one that resulted in a Cape Elizabeth touchdown at the end of the first half.

“Earlier in the game, on that Hail Mary (to end the first half), they ran somebody down the seam and he kind of bent inside,” Hathaway said. “So when I came up as the dime safety, I saw that same seam come with the tight end, and I figured that they might go right back to it because it worked, and I just jumped and made a good play.”

The earned one more chance by forcing the Hornets to punt, and Noah Carpenter’s kick set up Cape Elizabeth at its own 43-yard line with 3.7 seconds left. But Michael Foley’s deep pass was knocked down by Leavitt’s Nick Morin to end the game and keep the Hornets unbeaten record intact at 6-0.

“I was right there, I was right behind (Nick),” Hathaway said. “The quarterback kind of scrambled around, and you can’t get your full arm to it when you’re on your back foot, so we came up a little bit, it was probably around the 15-, 20-(yard line) and Nick made a really good play.”


Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said part of the talk in the locker room before the game implored the Hornets to “empty the tank” in the key Class C South matchup, and he said Sawyer Hathaway and Morin — who each played both offense and defense — both followed through.

After a disappointing end to the first half for Leavitt, Dayton Calder’s 1-yard touchdown run on the opening possession of the second half and Carpenter’s kick pushed the Hornets’ lead to 21-12.

“Having the two-score lead is huge. We made a few adjustments at halftime. We talked to the kids, they gave us some good information, and we just felt like there were a couple things we had,” Mike Hathaway said. “I thought between (Will) Keach and Dayton, they had some really, really tough runs on that drive. And Noah hit a few, running the ball and throwing the ball, but it was just solid.”

The Capers (4-2) then countered with a long drive that spilled into the fourth quarter. Nick Laughlin’s 6-yard run three plays into the fourth and Tom Hennessey’s two-point run cut the score to 21-20.

Cape Elizabeth forced Leavitt to punt, setting up the Capers with a chance to score. But that drive ended with Hathaway’s pick with 1:11 left.

“In the timeout (before the fourth-down play), we told those guys, ‘You got to get one stop, fellas. Like that’s what you need. So we’re either going to get it or we’re not, but it’s on this, it’s on the defense. So you guys own it and do it,'” Mike Hathaway said. “Big pick by (Sawyer).”


After a scoreless first quarter — which featured two punts by Cape Elizabeth (one blocked by Maddox Demers) and one by Leavitt, and only 28 yards rushing for each team — the offenses got going in the second.

Carpenter rumbled in from 1 yard out on a quarterback run two plays into the period. He then kicked the extra point to give Leavitt a 7-0 lead.

The Capers answered with a 14-play drive — all runs — that covered 78 yards, capped off by Nick Laughlin’s 3-yard touchdown run. The kick went wide, preserving Leavitt’s lead at 7-6.

“That’s our version of football. You know, we’re a violent football team, we’re a physical football team,” Capers coach Sean Green said. “You know, a lot of people, I think, just think Cape Elizabeth and they think soft. But since we’ve built this new era, this new football program, we’re not soft. We’re violent, we’re physical, and that’s the type of game we want to play. We want to be physical in between the tackles and we want to get after it, and I know those guys do, too. So that’s why these make for such great matchups every time we play.”

The teams then traded scoreless possessions. A Leavitt three-and-out and a 46-yard Carpenter punt were followed by a Cape Elizabeth drive that was squashed by a fumble that the Hornets recovered at their own 49-yard line with 1:25 left in the half.

“Just seeing ourselves shoot ourselves in the foot over and over and over again, I think we can learn from that,” said Green of the Capers, who also committed 12 penalties for 120 yards. “And I feel like if we don’t do that, we’re a pretty hard football team to beat. So we’re going to learn from that, we’re going to learn from the turnover on that drive earlier, and we’re just going to try and get better moving forward.”


On the ensuing possession, Carpenter threw the ball four times and ran it once, finishing the drive with a running throw to Brett Coburn for a 5-yard touchdown pass and a 14-6 lead after another Carpenter kick.

There were 21.5 seconds remaining in the half, which was enough time for the Capers to answer.

Foley, Cape’s quarterback, ran for 19 yards before stepping out of bounds, then threw an incomplete pass to stop the clock with 4.7 seconds left.

On the final play of the half, Foley connected with Tom Hennessey for a 38-yard touchdown pass on which Hennessey was tackled into the end zone. The two-point run was stuffed, and the Capers went into halftime down 14-12.

“When they got the Hail Mary (to end the first half), we came and stopped the extra point, that was probably the biggest play of the game right there. It made such a difference with things,” Mike Hathaway said. “And then to come back on the first drive, and come back out of halftime after that disappointment (of giving up a last-second touchdown), and do it — so it’s just resolve and playing the next play.”

Carpenter finished the game 8 of 12 passing for 92 yards to go along with 14 carries for 49 yards rushing.

Laughlin carried the ball 16 times for 78 yards for Cape Elizabeth. He also caught three passes (two of them short shovel passes with Laughlin in motion) for 19 yards.

The Capers outgained the Hornets 355-202 but committed the only two turnovers of the game.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story