LEWISTON — As Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” blared over the Don Roux Field loudspeakers following Saturday night’s Class C South regional final, the line, “Good times never seemed so good,” perfectly fit what the Leavitt Area High School football team had just accomplished.

The Hornets kept their perfect record intact and found the perfect revenge for heartbreak in last season’s regional final by routing Cape Elizabeth 43-0 to advance to next weekend’s state championship game.

Brett Coburn of Leavitt Area High School hauls in a second-half touchdown pass across the middle of the field to put the Hornets up 34-0 over Cape Elizabeth in the Class C South championship game Saturday at Lewiston High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The No. 1 Hornets (10-0) will face North champion Medomak Valley (9-2) on Saturday at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.

“We weren’t really playing angry, we just were playing with a purpose,” Leavitt junior quarterback Noah Carpenter said. “You know, I wouldn’t say — a lot of people say it’s revenge of last year (losing to Cape Elizabeth in the regional final), but it’s just proving to ourselves that we’re so much better than what we were. And we have just kept working at it, and we just had to prove it at the end of the day.”

Carpenter was on a mission for Leavitt in the first half. He was part of four touchdowns and ran for 200 yards while also passing for 104 yards on three completions. He finished the game 6-of-14 passing for 184 yards, and 244 yards rushing on 15 carries.

“It’s fun, man, because he’s my quarterback,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “That dude, he can run it, he can throw it. He’s really elevated his game, like mentally, to another level. Like the way he can process things is so far ahead of where he was last year. And his leadership has really come around, too. So he’s just a complete football player. You know, if there’s a better player in the state — I don’t know, man.”


The third-seeded Capers (8-3), who beat Leavitt 25-23 on the last play of the game in last year’s C South final on their way to winning the state championship and then narrowly lost to Leavitt 21-20 during the regular season this year, had the ball first Saturday. They got one first down on Nick Laughlin’s fake-punt run on fourth down before Michael Foley’s fourth-down pass to Laughlin four plays later was incomplete because Laughlin’s toe-tap on the sideline was ruled out of bounds.

Starting at their own 45-yard line, the Hornets needed only three plays to score. Maddox Demers ran for 2 yards, Carpenter followed with a 4-yard run, and then hurdled a defender on his way to a 49-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion failed, so it was a 6-0 Leavitt lead less than five minutes into the game.

“It was too bad they got the fake punt. That hurt, and extended that first drive a little longer,” Hathaway said. “But after they got it, for our defense then, in the shorter field, to defend them on four downs was pretty big. And then to come back and get a score, even though we missed the (2-point conversion), get up 6-0, that’s obviously a good way to start. And then we had it rolling pretty good.”

After a Cape Elizabeth three-and-out, The Hornets scored again, this time in five plays. Carpenter opened the 86-yard drive with another 49-yard run, giving him 104 yards rushing on his first three carries, and then four plays later connected with Dayton Calder on a 37-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. Carpenter found Brett Coburn on the two-point conversion pass to make it a 14-0 lead.

“It’s funny, he’s had a couple great games against us, we’ve had a couple great games defensively against them, and it’s usually all the same stuff,” Capers coach Sean Green said. “Mike and I joke about it all the time: We know what they’re going to run, they know what we’re going to run, and it’s just about who stops it and who doesn’t on a given night. And we couldn’t stop it tonight.”

The defenses took turns stuffing the offenses for the rest of the first quarter and much of the second quarter. The Capers had drives fizzle out on downs, with a punt near midfield and on a fumble that gave the Hornets the ball at their own 44-yard line with 2:59 left before halftime.


Leavitt had a drive stopped on fourth down at the Capers’ 32-yard line, with Luke Mello breaking up pass play, and another ended with the Hornets’ lone punt of the game — a 43-yard kick that forced Laughlin to trail backwards and call a fair catch.

With the ball at the 44 with a tick under three minutes left in the half, the Hornets were about to effectively put the game away, as Carpenter finished back-to-back drives with touchdown runs.

The first possession lasted four plays, all runs, with Calder and Carpenter alternating carries. Carpenter ran the final 23 yards for the score.

The Capers’ ensuing drive, which started at the Leavitt 47-yard line, as the Hornets were determined to not kick it to the dangerous Laughlin, lasted just one play — a Foley pass that deflected off of Calder and into the hands of Sawyer Hathaway for an interception.

Carpenter immediately went to Hathaway on a deep pass on the next play, which Hathaway hauled in before he was taken down at the Cape Elizabeth 3-yard line. Carpenter then ran it in from there. The 2-point conversion failed, but Leavitt had doubled its lead to 28-0 with 33 seconds left in the half.

“Those were huge. To get it to (22-0), we thought, was huge. And then we just wanted to hold the fort,” Mike Hathaway said. “And then we were able to get the ball back … and typical Sawyer, he came out and he’s like, ‘Just throw up a fade on this left side, I’ll go get one.’ And I told Noah, ‘Throw it as far as you can.’ And that’s what we did, and we scored. And to be (28-0), that was probably a huge momentum shift going right into the half.”


Green said the writing was on the wall at that point.

“If I’m being honest with you, that was pretty much close to sealing it,” he said. “Obviously, we knew, with our kids, that we would come out and try and battle in the second half, but that two-score swing at the end of the half was pretty brutal. And it was going to be hard to obviously come back from that, and obviously we didn’t have a chance to tonight.”

The Leavitt defense held the Capers to 56 yards of total offense in the first half, including holding Laughlin to 15 yards on nine carries and one catch for 16 yards. That was Foley’s lone completion on nine attempts in the first half.

Jace Negley, left, and Maddox Demers of Leavitt Area High School stop Ceroi Mello of Cape Elizabeth during Saturday’s Class C South championship game at Lewiston High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

It didn’t get any better for Cape Elizabeth in the second half. Foley was held to 2 of 13 passing for 13 yards, and 7 yards rushing on six carries. Laughlin had runs of 16 and 8 yards on the Capers’ final possession of the game that improved his rushing statistics to 39 yards on 11 carries.

“We just had to worry about everyone playing their squares. You know, not trying to do too much that one person couldn’t handle. And that’s what we did,” Carpenter said. “Everyone played a huge role into the game. Our defensive line stopping them up front was massive. We had good coverage all throughout the game. And it was just everyone playing their square and playing to the best of their ability.”

The Capers tried an onside kick to start the second half, but Leavitt was able to recover it. The Hornets then went 56 yards in six plays, capped off by Carpenter’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Coburn. Carpenter kicked the extra point to make it 35-0 and start the running clock.


Will Keach rounded out the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Carpenter completed the 2-point pass to Nick Morin.

“The practice that we had during the bye week (two weeks ago) let me know that this could happen because we had three of the best practices we’ve had all year, and we spent all of them getting ready for Cape,” Mike Hathaway said. “So to have that bye week, and to have those kids handle it in that kind of way, and take it that serious — we were ready to play Cape that week.”

The Capers tried everything they could against a Leavitt team they played tougher than anyone else did during the regular season, including a Laughlin halfback pass attempt in the fourth quarter, but the defending state champions’ reign ended without much noise. The Capers were outgained 468-102, with 39 of those yards coming on the final drive of the game.

“I think there’s probably two plays on this call sheet that I didn’t call tonight. And they stopped everything,” Green said. “So hats off to them. You know, credit to Mike, credit to that staff, credit to those players for executing. They should be proud, and it’ll be great for them to get another ring next weekend.”

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