The Cheverus football team passed yet another playoff test with flying colors Saturday afternoon, extended its three-year win streak to a Class A state record 34 games and is now just two wins away from a third straight state championship.
After an 8-0 regular season, the top-ranked Stags had no trouble with No. 8 Deering in the quarterfinals, rolling, 49-0, to set up a semifinal round date with fifth-ranked Portland, which, after a 5-3 regular season, pulled away in the fourth quarter of its quarterfinal for a 35-21 victory at No. 4 Windham.
In the regular season meeting, Sept. 8 at Cheverus, the Stags dominated from start to finish in a 42-0 victory.
Saturday, in just the second all-time postseason encounter between the city rivals (Portland won a 2003 quarterfinal, 21-12), Cheverus rolled again.
The Stags struck through the air first, on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Liam Fitzpatrick to Jackson McMann, to take the lead for good.
By halftime, Cheverus was up, 21-0, thanks to a 3-yard touchdown run from Donald Goodrich and a 15-yard scamper from Cody O’Brien.
Goodrich scored again, on a 12-yard TD run, with 7:33 left in the third quarter to push the lead to 28-0.
Early in the fourth quarter, Goodrich scored his third rushing TD, this one from 5-yards out, to finish the Stags’ scoring. Portland broke through with 7:33 to play when Jayvon Pitts-Young scored from 4-yards out, but Cheverus closed the door from there and triumphed, 35-7.
Goodrich finished with 97 yards on 20 carries, with three TDs. O’Brien had 44 yards and a score on 13 rushes. Fitzpatrick was 4-of-5 passing for 129 yards and a touchdown. McMann caught three passes for 63 yards and a score. Brent Green continued his comeback from injury by seeing time on defense as well as offense. He had 23 yards on four carries and also made three tackles.
The Stags will host 9-1 Thornton Academy, the No. 2 seed, in Saturday’s Western A Final (12:30 p.m.). Cheverus beat the Golden Trojans, 21-10, in last year’s regional final and earned homefield for this year by virtue of a 28-14 victory at Thornton Academy Oct. 13.
The teams also met in the 1991 quarterfinals (a 36-6 Golden Trojans’ triumph), 1996 quarterfinals (28-19 Cheverus) and 2009 semifinals (a 36-7 win for the Stags).
The Cheverus-Thornton Academy winner will face either Lawrence or Cony in the Class A state final Saturday, Nov. 17 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Portland senior Joe Nielsen tackles Cheverus senior Jackson McMann early in the Stags’ 35-7 win in Saturday’s Western A semifinal.
Portland senior Nick Volger (23) and junior Jayvon Pitts-Young try to corral a loose ball. The Bulldogs made their first trip to the semifinals since 2005.