Football: Windham bounces back with shutout victory over Falmouth

Oct. 1—WINDHAM — The Windham High football team lost its first Class B North game since 2019 last week.

A swarming defense and opportunistic rushing attack ensured it wouldn't become a habit.

Haddon Boyle ran for 126 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and an Eagles defense led by Brayden Penney and Jordan Bridge stifled Falmouth's dangerous run game in an 18-0 victory Friday night.

Windham (4-1), the defending B North champion, fell to Cony last week, 34-10. The Eagles couldn't wait to return to their winning ways.

"It's very satisfying," Boyle said. "We wanted it. It was tough last week. This one meant a lot."

Falmouth (3-2) made its share of mistakes, committing 11 penalties that were accepted on offense, but Windham's defense didn't need much help. With Penney disrupting plays on the defensive line and Bridge, who also sealed the game with an interception, and Alex Yeaton winning battles on the edge, the Eagles swamped the talented duo of Finn Caxton-Smith (14 carries, 25 yards) and Indi Backman (six carries, 30 yards).

"The pursuit of the (defensive) line, we focused on all week," Windham Coach Matt Perkins said. "Those big guys, having to close the seams, because they're so good on cutbacks."

Both teams' opening drives stalled, but Windham found success on its second possession. Yeaton began the march by keeping for 30 yards to the Falmouth 43, and the Eagles kept the drive going when Landon Buzulchuck found Ezra Foster for 19 yards on 3rd-and-13, putting the ball on the Navigators 27.

Four plays later, Boyle (98 rushing yards in the first half) darted in from 10 yards out to put the Eagles on the board. Yeaton found Max Arbour on the conversion to make it an 8-0 advantage with 2:49 left in the first quarter.

Falmouth made an impressive stand at the end of the first half, allowing Windham to reach the 15-yard line but holding it to a 32-yard Bridge field goal, but the Eagles struck again on their second drive of the second half when Buzulchuck hit Yeaton on a 17-yard post route for an 18-0 lead with 6:28 to go in the third.

Windham's defense took it from there. Falmouth worked its way to the Windham 40, but Bridge sniffed out a Caxton-Smith sweep for a loss of nine, and Penney jumped on a fumbled snap on fourth down to end the series.

"It was a great game overall," said Penney, a sophomore. "We practiced all week for (their run game). ... Last week, I feel like we took some plays off. But we got back to it this game."

Bridge, whom Perkins said had "a monster game," also said the team was eager to move on from last week.

"We take pride in our defense," he said. "We have to show teams we have the best defense in the league."

Whenever Falmouth did move the ball, yellow flags flew. The most devastating came on the Navigators' final drive, when a holding call negated a 38-yard touchdown pass from Caxton-Smith to Tony Severino.

"We were right with them, except we kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Falmouth Coach John Fitzsimmons said. "This was an all-time low, with the number of penalties. I'm surprised. We had a great week of practice. ... This is not the outcome we expected."