PORTLAND — Few teams in this state’s high school football history have gotten off to a faster start than the Yarmouth Clippers.
And the fifth-year varsity program used a fast start Saturday to secure its second straight Class C state championship with a 41-14 victory over Bucksport at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Senior tailback Anders Overhaug scored two of his six touchdowns — yes, six touchdowns — in the game’s first 3 minutes, 12 seconds as undefeated Yarmouth capitalized on a blocked punt and a fumble recovery to break the game open early en route to its 24th consecutive victory.
“The turnovers our defense creates always create momentum for us,” said Overhaug. “We got those first two scores and then we just got rolling.”
Rolling indeed, as the 12-0 Clippers just kept coming at a Bucksport team that lost both starting quarterback Mike Cummings (hand) and starting center Cody Gray (knee) to injury for the rest of the game on the same play late in the second quarter.
But by that time Yarmouth already had a 34-7 lead, and there would be no comeback by the Eastern Maine champs.
“They’re very quick, and we had no answers for them,” said Bucksport coach Joel Sankey, whose team finished its season with an 11-1 record. “Our kids were a little nervous and it showed, and with the blocked punt and the turnover right at the beginning we were down 14-0 before you could blink your eyes and it’s tough to come back against them.
Overhaug finished with 113 yards on 11 rushing attempts, with scoring runs of 25, 20, 1 and 30 yards, a 2-yard touchdown reception and a 92-yard kickoff return.
“[Anders] really deserves it,” said two-way Yarmouth lineman Ben Weinrich. “He works probably harder than any of us. He’s one of the greatest team members I’ll ever know.”
Fullback Matt Woodbury added 62 rushing yards and Caleb Uhl contributed 48 yards for a Yarmouth offense that generated 263 of its 297 total yards on the ground.
“They’re a good football team, one of the quickest teams I’ve coached against,” said Sankey, “and not only that, they execute very, very well.”
A blocked punt by Nathaniel Shields-Auble set up Yarmouth with the ball at the Bucksport 25 just 85 seconds into the contest. Overhaug then needed just one play to give his team a 6-0 lead, as he went wide right and used a block at the corner by Dennis Erving to score his first touchdown.
Weinrich recovered a fumbled center snap by Cummings three plays after the kickoff, again giving Yarmouth the ball deep in Golden Bucks’ territory.
This time it took the Clippers two plays to score, the first a 7-yard run by Woodbury and the second a 20-yard scoring run by Overhaug with 8:48 left in the first quarter.
Erving passed to Woodbury for the two-point conversion to give Yarmouth a 14-0 lead.
Yarmouth drove 57 yards in 11 plays on its next possession, with quarterback Brady Neujahr rolling left and then passing to Overhaug in the middle of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 2 to make it a 21-0 game with 1:58 left in the opening period.
Bucksport finally countered offensively, marching 65 yards in 15 plays to close the gap to 21-7 on a 1-yard run by Shawn Smith (18 carries, 82 yards) with 8:29 left in the half. The Golden Bucks twice converted fourth-down situations during the drive, once on a 1-yard scramble by Cummings and the second time on an 8-yard pass from Cummings to Jake Stewart on fourth-and-7 from the Yarmouth 20.
But in a fashion remarkably similar to the Class A game earlier in the day, when Cheverus of Portland answered Lawrence of Fairfield’s lone touchdown with Donald Goodrich’s 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter of the Stags’ 49-7 victory, Overhaug answered the Bucksport score with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown of his own with 8:16 left in the first half.
Both kickoff returns came with the score 21-7, and both were in the same direction and on the same side of the field. Goodrich’s return took 15 seconds, while Overhaug’s return lasted 13 seconds.
Overhaug initially mishandled the bouncing kickoff, then picked up the ball near the right hash mark and sprinted up the middle of the field for his fourth touchdown in less than 16 minutes of game time.
“I bobbled it at first, but I picked it up and there was a nice little seam and I just ran across the field,” said Overhaug.
And he wasn’t done, scoring Yarmouth’s final touchdown of the half on a 30-yard run with 4:41 remaining to cap off a 71-yard drive.
Overhaug scored his final touchdown on a 1-yard run with 2:47 left in the third quarter.
Josh Gray scored on a 55-yard run for Bucksport with 2:50 left in the game.