TURNER — Noah Carpenter added another feat to his stellar career, totaling five touchdowns and intercepting Fryeburg Academy’s final pass as Leavitt rallied back to secure the Class C South title with a 36-32 victory Saturday night at Libby Field.

The top-seeded Hornets (10-0) trailed 20-7 in the first half and 32-21 heading into the fourth quarter against the second-seeded Raiders (8-2)

“I didn’t doubt our guys,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “I told our guys at halftime, like we were down worse than this at (Thornton Academy), and it was at TA, so there’s nothing that we can’t come back from. So either way, we’re just going to leave it on the field. Like we’ll have no argument with ourselves if we just go out and empty the tank.”

Carpenter ran for an 11-yard touchdown early in the final period, then threw to Keegan Reny for the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 32-29 with 10:19 remaining.

Carpenter gave the Hornets a 36-32 lead with a 2-yard TD run with 3:35 left in the game.

“There was a couple of times where, you know, I didn’t think I had much more in the tank, but I’d do anything for these boys. And just to know that that could have been our last game, I wanted to leave it all out here,” said Carpenter, who was 6 for 9 passing for 151 yards and ran 30 times for 199 yards.


His interception sealed the victory in what was a much different contest than the teams’ first meeting of 2023, when the Hornets opened the season by routing the Raiders 45-8 at home.

Fryeburg surpassed that points total on its first play of the second quarter Saturday night, when Cohen Carter connected with Logan Walton on a 70-yard touchdown pass and Livne Tavor-Grinberg kicked the extra point for a 13-7 lead.

“We fully expected them to give us a good game,” Hathaway said. “We knew how good they were when we played them Week 1. We also know that Fryeburg’s a team, if you get them early in the season, you’re lucky because they’re so well-coached by the end that they’re going to develop their players and their schemes and be so much better.”

The Raiders’ go-ahead score came one play after Carpenter started the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run and kicked the ensuing extra point to get Leavitt on the board and in the lead 7-6.

Soon after Walton answered with touchdown, Malik Sow recovered a fumble to give the ball back to Fryeburg.

Three plays later, Carter and Walton hooked up for a second time, this time from 40 yards out, for a 20-7 lead.


It was Carter’s third touchdown pass in three drives. He also had an 18-yard connection with Gunnar Saunders in the first quarter.

“We were up here however many weeks ago, beginning of the season, first game, and we were trying to figure stuff out. But we thought tonight we just had to go out and … play our best, and hopefully get some breaks,” Fryeburg coach David Turner said. “We thought we could throw the ball, just because we’ve thrown the ball all year. And we said, ‘You know, you’re not going to make a living being one-dimensional, you’re not going to make a living trying to pound it against them.’ So even though we had some success the first time, we had to throw the football, and so I think that helped us.”

Down two scores, the Hornets quickly created two of their own. Both were Carpenter-to-Reny connections, but they were quite different.

The first was a 17-yard dart on a fourth-and-14 play.

Soon after a short Fryeburg punt following a three-and-out, the Hornets used some trickery to score again. Brandon Bilodeau took a handoff on a sweep, then tossed back to Carpenter to set up a flea-flicker, and Carpenter hit Reny for a 40-yard score.

“We were in practice, and (Hathaway) told me that I was going out at slot, and I’m like, ‘All right.’ And then he told me the play, and I was like, ‘That might actually work,'” Carpenter said. “And when he called it, I knew that their safeties are pretty aggressive, so I knew we had a chance on that. And saw Keegan come out back, and I knew I just had to put a good throw on.”


Carpenter’s extra point made it 21-20 with 6:21 left in the second quarter.

The Raiders ran a lot of time off the clock before taking the lead back. A third Carter-to-Walton hookup, from 10 yards out, made it 26-21 with 27 seconds left.

Leavitt got down to the Fryeburg 28, but a last-second pass went incomplete in the back of the end zone.

“You know, going into halftime, we were pretty calm and relaxed. We just had to talk over a few things,” Carpenter said. “And then we came out, third quarter was iffy, and then we knew that we had to give it all we had in the fourth quarter.”

The Raiders added to their lead two plays into their opening drive of the second half, again with a Carter-to-Walton connection. The fourth scoring hookup was from 62 yards out to make it 32-21, though Carpenter’s interception of the two-point pass kept it an 11-point game.

The Raiders returned the favor on the ensuing possession when Saunders intercepted a deflected Carpenter pass to end a drive that got into Fryeburg territory.


Carter finished with 316 yards on 18-for-36 passing, with Walton bringing in 14 of those throws for 271 yards.

Carpenter called Walton “probably the best receiver in the whole entire league” and said he “balled out.”

But the Hornets closed up the gap he was creating as the second half wore on. Aiden Turcotte was switched on to Walton in the second half and, Hathaway said, “did a pretty good job on him.”

Carter also had a harder time getting passes to his receivers when Leavitt defensive lineman Jace Negley started batting down attempts, including a fourth-down pass that gave the ball back to the Hornets for their game-winning drive.

“(Negley) did a great job, he just got his hands on all kinds of balls out there,” Turner said.

Negley said his effort was all heart.


“I mean, it’s definitely a momentum-shifter,” he said. “It’s great. It feels amazing. It feels like the whole world’s on you, looking at you. Love the feeling.

“But got to give credit to every one of my guys. You know, if one guy gets doubled, the other guy’s one-on-one, he makes a bat-down like that. It’s a team effort.”


The last time the two teams met in a regional final was also in Turner, and the Raiders also shocked the Libby Field home crowd in that game.

Second-seeded Fryeburg beat No. 1 Leavitt 20-13 in the 2018 C South regional final. Hathaway remembered that game not so much for the loss on the field, but the loss in the program earlier that week.

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about 2018 all week, man. All week. So, you know, our coaches were thinking about Pete a lot this week,” said Hathaway, talking about assistant coach Pete Casey, who died the week leading up to the that year’s regional final. “And the kids didn’t know anything about it, but they know that they’ve been claiming some redemption on this field for a couple people. And the last two regional finals we lost here (to Fryeburg in 2018 and Cape Elizabeth in 2021), and they were behind, and them guys dug in and played, man.

“So, I don’t know if I was worried about it or whatever, but I just thought about Pete all week.”

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