Cape Elizabeth and South Portland’s football teams bounced back from opening week losses with impressive victories over highly-touted foes last Friday night.
The Capers, who gave Wells, one of the preseason favorites, a scare in a 14-6 loss in the opener, defeated visiting rival York, 28-17, to balance their record at 1-1.
Cape Elizabeth took the lead for good on senior Donald Clark’s punt return for a score. By halftime, the Capers were up 20-3 thanks to a TD pass from junior Connor Maguire to senior Derek Roberts and a long scoring run by senior Andrew Lavallee. A third quarter Clark TD run and two-point conversion put the game away.
“We held our own,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Aaron Filieo. “We improved a lot from the Wells game to the York game. We played hard but not well against Wells. We played better against York. We got confidence from the Wells game. The guys felt they could have won that game.
“Our special teams played well. We scored on a punt return. We were able to keep momentum and mix up the pass and run. We played pretty good defense. We bent, but we didn’t break. We scored more TDs later on. Andrew’s pretty elusive and fast for a big guy.”
Much was made afterwards of injuries incurred by York and the physicality of the game, but Filieo said he felt the game was clean.
“We’re a physical team and York likes to play physical,” said Filieo. “That’s our conference. We hit them clean. They hit us clean. We got called for some unnecessary roughness penalties and I don’t think they were justified.”
Cape Elizabeth visits 0-2 Lake Region Friday. Last fall, the Capers downed the visiting Lakers, 28-13.
“(Lake Region) played us tough last year and almost beat us so we’re not taking them for granted,” Filieo said. “They play a double wing offense. That will present a challenge. It will be a good test for us.”
South Portland, which showed some positive signs in a 59-21 loss at defending state champion Cheverus in the opener, sprung a 20-16 home upset over a Thornton Academy squad which was coming off a big win over Bonny Eagle in its opener.
A short TD run from senior Joey DiBiase gave the Red Riots an early lead, but a kickoff return for a score allowed the Golden Trojans tied the score at 7-7 after one quarter. Senior Max Porter gave South Portland a 14-7 lead with a TD run in the third period, but the visitors answered with a touchdown and field goal to lead, 16-14.
Then, the Red Riots rallied for the dramatic win as senior Michael Salvatore, stepping in for the injured Jordan Muller, hit senior Dan Medici for a 67-yard TD.
South Portland looks to improve to 2-1 Friday night when it hosts surprising 2-0 Sanford, a team the Red Riots haven’t faced since Sept. 1, 2006 (a 39-6 loss).
Scarborough wasn’t as fortunate. A week after an emphatic home upset win over Windham, the Red Storm dropped a close contest at Sanford, 23-12.
The only score in the first half was a Redskins’ field goal, but the offenses opened up in the second half. Trailing 10-0, Scarborough got going when junior quarterback Dillon Russo found senior Conor McCann for a 25-yard scoring pass. In the fourth quarter, junior Merrick Madden’s TD run put the Red Storm on top, 12-10, but Sanford got off the deck and scored consecutive touchdowns to put the game away.
“It was a tough night in Sanford,” said Scarborough coach Lance Johnson. “Mike Fallon and his staff did a great job getting their team ready to play. Mike has worked through some tough years at Sanford and his efforts are starting to pay dividends. Sanford’s two running backs ran extremely hard and are very talented. Our players played extremely hard as well, it was a physical battle. Unfortunately, we turned the ball over five times and had way too many penalties.
“Scott Thibeault rushed for 235 yards on 30 carries. Dillon Russo was 7 for 13 for 157 yards and 1 touchdown. Conor McCann had 3 catches for 121 yards and 1 touchdown. Defensively, we were led by Kellen Smith with 14 tackles, Kolbey Adams with 9 tackles and Dillon Russo with 9 tackles and an interception.”
Scarborough hopes to bounce back Friday when it returns home to meet 0-2 Biddeford. A year ago, the Red Storm beat the Tigers twice, 21-9 in the regular season and 48-14 in the Western A quarterfinals.