Cheverus bounces back in a big way, blanks Bangor

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Cheverus senior Max Coffin, right, is congratulated by classmate Finn Cawley after one of his three touchdowns in Saturday’s 42-0 win over Bangor.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Cheverus 42 Bangor 0

B- 0 0 0 0- 0
C- 14 28 0 0- 42

First quarter
C- Coffin 19 run (Harris kick)
C- Cawley 1 run (Harris kick)

Second quarter
C- Cawley 3 run (Harris kick)
C- Lindstedt 19 run (Harris kick)
C- Coffin 27 run (Harris kick)
C- Coffin 3 fumble return (Harris kick)

Third quarter
No scoring

Fourth quarter 
No scoring

PORTLAND—Cheverus’ football team took it on the chin in its opening game last week in Windham, but the Stags didn’t get demoralized and Saturday afternoon at Boulos Stadium, in their home opener, returned to form with a vengeance, dominating visiting Bangor over 48 impressive minutes.

After the defense, led by senior captains Bobby Holzhcker and Zeb Leavitt, forced a Rams’ three-and-out to start the game, Cheverus drove for the only score it would need, a 19-yard touchdown run from senior Max Coffin, less than four minutes into the contest.

Late in the first period, the Stags took advantage of a short field and went on top, 14-0, thanks to a 1-yard TD run from senior Finn Cawley. 

Cheverus then ended all doubt in the second quarter, getting a 3-yard touchdown run from Cawley, a 19-yard burst from junior Teigan Lindstedt, a 27-yard scoring run from Coffin and a 3-yard fumble return off a failed lateral pass by Coffin to go ahead, 42-0, at halftime.

The Stags played their reserves the majority of the rest of the way and a mercy rule running clock helped speed the second half along as Cheverus went on to a 42-0 victory.

Coffin ran for 141 yards and the Stags’ defense held Bangor to negative yardage until deep into the fourth quarter as Cheverus evened its record at 1-1 and dropped the Rams to 0-2 in the process.

“The kids we have are very even-keel,” said Stags coach Mike Vance. “That’s kind of been our trademark for years. We had no problem getting it back together.”

Confidence boost

Bangor and Cheverus have played many times over the decades (including a 46-8 Stags’ romp in the 2010 Class A state game), but the regular season rivalry was dormant for a long stretch before being renewed in 2013. That year, the Stags won, 49-7, in Bangor and again, 37-0, in the semifinals. Three years ago, Cheverus prevailed at home, 28-14, in the regular season, then ousted the visiting Rams in the semifinal round of the playoffs, 35-6. In 2015, the Stags made the trip north and came away victorious, 34-14. Last autumn, in Portland, Cheverus blanked Bangor, 30-0.

Both teams struggled in last week’s opener, as Bangor was shut out at home, 44-0, by resurgent Edward Little and the Stags couldn’t score in a 24-point loss at Windham

Saturday, Cheverus handled the Rams again, putting on an impressive effort in all three phases.

Bangor won the opening coin toss and opted to take the ball, but the Stags forced a three-and-out, holding junior Gabe Higgins to no gain, then allowing senior Nick Canarr to run twice for eight yards, leading to a punt.

With 9:52 left in the opening quarter, Cheverus got the ball at its 33 and in a drive that needed just 1 minute, 42 seconds, the Stags marched 67 yards for the only points they would need.

Lindstedt got things started with a 22-yard burst. Coffin’s first carry resulted in a 34-yard run to the Rams’ 11. On the next snap, Lindstedt appeared to score on a run, but a holding call took the points off the board and moved the ball back to the 20. After Coffin ran for a yard and senior quarterback Perrin Conant threw incomplete, Coffin got the ball again and on a run to his left, he cut back and ran into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown with 8:10 to go in the opening stanza. Junior Cam Harris added the extra point for a 7-0 advantage.

After Canarr ran for three yards on the first play of Bangor’s next series, Lindstedt threw Canarr for a three-yard loss and freshman quarterback Elizyah Bradford’s pass resulted in a two-yard loss, forcing another punt.

This time, the Stags began at their 39 and began to drive, but a penalty would hold them at bay.

After Coffin ran for six yards and Lindstedt picked up one, Coffin appeared to spin away from a defender for seven yards to move the chains, but an illegal block in the back penalty moved the ball back to the 44 and Conant threw incomplete.

The Rams then started at their 26, but a pair of incomplete passes sandwiched around a four-yard run by Higgins forced Bangor to kick again and a nice Coffin return set Cheverus up at the Bangor 17 with 2:11 to go in the first quarter. Coffin was hurt on the return and left the game for several minutes.

Three plays and 69 seconds later, the Stags were in the end zone again.

Lindstedt got things started with a nine-yard burst. After Cawley ran down to the 1, he got the ball again and scored easily with 1:02 on the clock. Harris added the PAT for a 14-0 advantage.

The Rams immediately went backwards again, as a holding penalty and a rush for no gain by junior Lucas Burt brought the curtain down on the first quarter.

In the first 12 minutes, the Stags picked up 89 yards, while Bangor lost 17 yards.

On the first snap of the second period, Higgins ran for 11 yards, but on third-and-13, Holzhacker threw Canarr for a two-yard loss, necessitating another punt.

Disaster then struck for the visitors, as sophomore punter Addison Darcy dropped the ball and was tackled, giving Cheverus the ball on downs at the Rams’ 17 with 10:30 left in the first half.

Again, the Stags needed just three plays (and 1:33) to strike paydirt.

After a holding penalty, Lindstedt ran the ball down to the 18 and Cawley barreled 15 yards to the 3. Cawley then finished it off with a 3-yard run and with 8:57 to play before halftime, Harris’ extra point extended the lead to 21-0.

Bangor started its next drive at its 43, but Canarr lost two yards, got one back, then Higgins was held to no gain by Leavitt, the state champion wrestler, who had a league-high 10.5 tackles in the opener and was a force again all afternoon.

“Zeb is really coming into his own as a leader,” Vance said. “He was captain of the wrestling team last winter and that’s continued into this season. We need that from him. The kids look to him for leadership.”

With 6:50 to play before halftime, Cheverus got the ball again at its 44 and this time needed six plays and 2:35 to find the end zone again.

Cawley got things started with runs of six- and 11-yards. After Lindstedt picked up seven, Cawley did the same. After Cawley ran for six yards, Lindstedt did the rest, bursting up the gut for a 19-yard score, his first in varsity action, with 4:15 on the clock. Harris added the PAT to make it 28-0.

The Stags then turned to their special teams to make things happen, as Bangor couldn’t handle the ensuing kickoff and sophomore Sean Tompkins pounced on the loose ball at the Rams’ 27.

Coffin then returned and returned with a flourish, taking the ball and racing through daylight to the left en route to a 27-yard scoring run. Harris added another extra point and with 4:03 remaining before halftime, Cheverus was on top, 35-0.

The Stags’ defense scored the game’s final points.

Bangor started from its 19 and after being backed up by a personal foul penalty, the Rams saw Burt run for three yards. After Canarr was thrown for a one-yard loss by sophomore Sean Sullivan, Bradford attempted a pass, but the lateral went backwards and the ball rolled loose. Coffin didn’t hesitate and pounced on the loose pigskin at the 3 and sauntered into the end zone for the touchdown.

“I was just trying to scoop-and-score,” said Coffin.

“Max did a great job sniffing that one out pretty quickly,” Vance said.

Harris’ PAT with 2:12 remaining extended the lead to 42-0.

One final Rams’ first half drive gained just one yard and the game went to halftime.

In the first 24 minutes, Cheverus mustered 189 yards, while Bangor finished with minus-38.

“Our drive is substantial and today was a great example,” said Leavitt. “We went all out between the whistles.”

“The defense set the tone,” said Vance. “That’s how we’ve played in the past.”

By rule, with a separation of 35 points or more, the clock runs in the second half. That led to a quick end of the contest.

The Stags got the ball first in the third quarter and with reserves on the field, a false start penalty and three runs for nine yards forced a punt.

Bangor took over at midfield, but Canarr ran three times for just two yards.

Midway through the third period, Cheverus got the ball back at its 9 and the starters returned for three plays, as Lindstedt ran for 11- and three-yards and Coffin took off for 54, putting himself over 100 yards in the process.

With the ball at the Rams’ 11, the Stags’ reserves returned and weren’t able to punch the ball across, as freshman Greyden Lindstedt was held to three yards on fourth-and-5 from the 18.

On the final play of third, Canarr ran for eight yards and on the first play of the fourth, he picked up eight more for Bangor’s first first down. After Burt rumbled for 15 yards, Bangor fumbled and Cheverus recovered at the Rams’ 40.

The Stags would go four-and-out, gaining five yards.

Bangor got the ball for one final possession and threatened before falling short of the goal line as time expired. Canarr ran eight times for 53 yards on the drive, but the Rams could only get to the Cheverus 11 before the horn sounded, making the Stags’ 42-0 victory official.

“We had some things not go our way in the first quarter of last game, but I think we played a great game this time around,” Leavitt said. “The shutout wasn’t the important factor. The important factor was rooting for the younger guys to do it. They played very well. We did everything our coaches told us to do. We played hard and smart for 48 minutes.”

“First day back this week, Coach said, ‘Rough game, but all we can do is bounce back,'” Coffin said. “The rest of the week, we put it in the past and we enjoyed it today. A shutout made it that much better. It was much better to have it end 42-0 than 42-7.”

“We controlled the clock and wore people down,” Vance added. “That’s what we try to do.”

The Stags finished with 276 yards of offense. They overcame five penalties for 38 yards and didn’t turn the ball over.

Coffin paced the offense with 141 yards and two TDs on six carries.

“We focused on carrying the ball better and our line gave it to them,” Coffin said. “Last week, I got a bone bruise and I re-injured it, but it’s my senior season, so I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back.”

Lindstedt turned heads with 81 yards and a score on eight rushes.

Cawley was solid as well, gaining 56 yards on eight attempts with a pair of touchdowns.

“Max and Finn ran hard and Teigan came in and ran hard,” Leavitt said. “He scored his first varsity touchdown. A lot of that came from the line. We switched a couple things up and it worked out well for us.”

“We cross-train all those guys,” Vance said. “They’re smart kids who can play multiple positions. It creates depth.”

Bangor, which turned the ball over three times, finally got into positive yardage on its final drive and wound up with 37 yards. Canarr ran the ball 24 times and gained 76 yards.

The Rams were penalized four times for 50 yards.

The quarter pole

With one-quarter of the regular season over, both teams have work to do.

Bangor is back home Friday to welcome 1-1 Oxford Hills.

Next Saturday afternoon, Cheverus hosts 2-0 Edward Little, which is coming off a 24-16 win over defending regional champion Portland, in a pivotal contest for Heal Points and playoff positioning.

“We’ll do exactly the same things we did this week,” Leavitt said. “We’ll work hard and keep playing hard and smart.”

“We’ll come in tomorrow and work on calisthenics, pregame plans and watch film,” Coffin said. “Same thing as this week. Full effort. There are a lot of contenders, but I have faith in us. We have a lot of seniors who want to win. Hopefully, we keep getting better.”

“We have to grow because Edward Little is a good team,” Vance added. “There’s no resting now. I had a feeling it would be a very even league. There are a couple teams who have a lot of pieces, but everyone is competitive. That makes it fun.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cheverus junior Teigan Lindstedt shakes off a Bangor defender.

Cheverus senior quarterback Perrin Conant throws a pass.

Cheverus senior Finn Cawley bounces off a Bangor defender.

Cheverus senior Max Coffin falls into the end zone for a score.

Cheverus sophomore Sean Tompkins recovers a fumble and is congratulated by sophomore Sean Sullivan.

Cheverus junior Vic Morrone, right, and senior Max Coffin prepare to make a tackle.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.