|Windham senior quarterback Robert 'Will' Ledbetter heads|
toward the end zone during the Class B State Championship
Game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Nov. 20.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
The Windham varsity football team has wrapped up an incredible season, finishing 9-1 and a tightknit unstoppable force since the beginning. Windham made it to the Class B State Championship Game against Marshwood at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Saturday, Nov. 20 and played their hearts out, falling 14-13.
In the second quarter, Windham senior Nick Garrison scored a touchdown and after a missed 2-point conversion, Marshwood led 14-6. Right before the end of the first half, Garrison intercepted a Marshwood pass and dashed 70 yards run into the end zone. After a successful point-after kick was good, Marshwood clung to a 14-13 halftime lead.
Neither Marshwood nor Windham would score in the second half and Marshwood’s one-point advantage held up as it won a fourth consecutive Class B title.
Windham was one of eight teams to reach the state championship game and team member predict continued success in the future.
“Coming into this week we felt confident,” said Windham senior and quarterback Robert ‘Will’ Ledbetter. “We practiced hard all week, thought our game plan was good enough to go, but just came in and fell up short at the end. I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors and couldn’t ask for a better team; I love being around these guys and wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
For Windham senior Nick Garrison, these last three weeks have been a big confidence booster. During the championship game, Ledbetter fed him the ball perfectly where he needed it, but sadly the result didn’t turn out the way they wanted. Garrison said he couldn’t ask for better fan support, teammates, coaches and overall, and it was just a great experience for him.
“Easily this is the best class-act group we’ve had. This group is one of the most relentless groups we’ve ever had,” said Windham varsity football coach Matt Perkins.
He praised what the seniors have done for this program as their hard work goes beyond what you could imagine.
The seniors are leaders on and off the field and the coaches feel lucky to have been around these seniors and what they’ve done, Perkins said.
Marshwood won the championship game coin toss but chose to kick off. Windham junior Haddon Boyle received the kick on the 25-yard line.
On third down, Ledbetter passed to Garrison for an 18-yard gain. Marshwood would get the possession, but not for long. Windham junior Max Arbour tackled the Hawks and regained possession but a third and goal field goal attempt by Windham was blocked.
Arbour said people were calling Windham underdogs, and they took that as motivation.
The Hawks scored before the end of the first quarter and again in the second quarter.
Garrison had a 55-yard run in the second quarter. Later, it was first and 15 and Windham gained six yards. Ledbetter completed a pass to Garrison who scored a TD. An attempt for a 2-point conversion wasn’t successful and Marshwood was up 14-6.
Right before the end of the half, Garrison intercepted a Marshwood pass and ran it in ahead of the Hawks defense for a 70-yard return for a TD. At halftime, Marshwood only led by a point.
The second half was back and forth. Windham’s defense bulldozed the Hawks. Windham junior Logan Hirning recovered a fumble in the third quarter to give the Eagles the ball. A 3-yard pick up and it was second down. Ledbetter completed a pass to Arbour for a Windham first down.
A 15-yard penalty on Marshwood would move the ball forward for Windham. Ledbetter would run for a 16-yard gain before the end of the third quarter.
Windham was first and goal at the 18-yard line. Windham moved the ball closer and closer. On fourth down and goal, Marshwood got the ball on a turnover, but Windham’s defense held fast. Windham fans cheered their team on until the final buzzer.
“I thought they competed, and we got some gritty kids that play their tail off,” said Perkins. “I’m really proud of this group, they’re great young men and they’re just a pleasure to coach and be around. They care about each other first and it’s not about themselves, that’s what makes them so special.”
Perkins said he felt that the Eagles moved the ball very well, played well defensively and tackled well.
Garrison said the offense played well. He said it seemed like they had trouble trying to get the ball in from 5 yards out but driving down the field Windham had good momentum. He also thought the defense played well too.
Arbour said he’d like to thank the seniors, they really helped him through the year, and he looks up to all of them. He’s proud of the team. <