It took a little travel time, but it was certainly worth it for the Cheverus and Portland football teams last weekend.
Deering stayed home, but suffered an agonizing defeat.
Cheverus went to Bangor Saturday afternoon and made it 41 wins in 42 outings with ease, 49-7.
The Stags converted three Rams’ turnovers into a 21-0 lead less than nine minutes in.
Cheverus’ Riley Archer recovered an errant Bangor pitch at the Rams’ 20 barely a minute into the contest. Four plays later, Liam LaFountain went wide right the final 9 yards to the end zone, with the first of Patrick Mourmouras’ seven extra-point kicks giving the Stags a 7-0 lead 3:30 into the opening quarter.
Bangor fumbled the ensuing kickoff, with Matt Drouin recovering the bouncing ball in the end zone for Cheverus’ second touchdown in 11 seconds. An interception set up a 12-yard LaFountain run with 3:18 left in the first, making it 21-0.
Cheverus drove 95 yards in 10 plays early in the second quarter, with a 49-yard pass from Ethan Jordan to Noah Stebbins setting up a 1-yard scoring drive by Cody O’Brien to make it 28-0 with 7:32 left in the first half. After Bangor pulled within 28-7 at halftime, the Stags drove 62 yards after taking the second-half kickoff to re-establish command at 35-7 on a second 1-yard scoring run by O’Brien. LaFountain added a 55-yard TD run late in the third quarter, and Jacob Schott scored from 4 yards out midway through the final period.
“It took a while to get going with the long travel,” said O’Brien, “but we finally got our heads together and played well in the second half.”
“It could have been a trap-game situation, but our kids are pretty mature and I thought they prepared well,” said Cheverus coach John Wolfgram. “There’s no question it’s hard to come back after a big win like that, but every game is important to us and Bangor’s a quality football team.”
Junior halfback Joe Fitzpatrick didn’t score, but now has over 1,300 yards, first in Eastern Class A.
The 7-0 Stags (first in the Eastern A Crabtree Points standings) close the regular season at 1-6 Deering Friday night (more on that game in a moment).
There hasn’t been a lot of talk about prospective candidates for the Fitzpatrick Trophy (given to the finest senior football player in the state), but whenever that discussion commences, Portland’s Justin Zukowski should be on the short list.
Friday, Zukowski led the Bulldogs to a 42-6 win at Lewiston, their sixth victory in succession, a win streak last matched eight years ago.
Portland, which didn’t punt the entire game, punched in the first touchdown on the first possession of the game. Bulldogs quarterback Jordan Talbot connected with Brett Howell with a 29-yard touchdown pass and John Williams booted the extra point.
The Blue Devils responded with their only touchdown, but the Bulldogs scored right after when Zukowski pushed and shoved his way from the 25-yard line and scored his first touchdown. In the second quarter, Talbot zipped over a 30-yard TD pass to Domenic Fagone, giving Portland a 21-6 cushion going into the second half.
The third quarter belonged to Zukowski, who scored back-to-back touchdowns on 14- and 2-yard rushes, giving Portland an insurmountable 35-6 lead. Talbot kept the ball and rushed rushed 27 yards for the final touchdown with 1:35 left.
Portland improved to 41-30-6 all-time against the Blue Devils, in a series which dates to 1900.
Zukowski did most of the heavy work on offense and he was equally formidable on defense. The Bulldogs rushed for 371 yards and Zukowski’s three touchdowns certainly didn’t hurt.
“I like getting the ball,” Zukowski said. “They left the middle open and the offensive line did a great job.”
“This kid (Zukowski) here, on both sides of the ball, did a great job,” Portland coach Jim Hartman said. “I don’t like to do that much running with him. That’s unusual, but they put eight, nine guys outside and they left the middle open. This is what they gave us and this is what we took. He’s a great kid, a great leader.”
The Bulldogs (6-1 and second behind Cheverus in the Eastern A Crabtrees) hosts rival South Portland (5-2) in the “Battle of the Bridge” Friday night. Portland’s playoff positioning is secure, but the Bulldogs won’t have much trouble getting up for the Red Riots after being upset at South Portland last year, 19-6.
Deering, coming off its first win, almost made it two in a row and almost joined playoff discussion, but ultimately, fell just short with a 21-14 home loss to Edward Little Friday night.
Edward Little dominated the first quarter, running 20 plays to Deering’s four and outgaining the Rams, 109-13, but the Red Eddies didn’t get on the scoreboard until the third play of the second quarter, when Johnny Boyd (22 carries, 67 yards) found the end zone from two yards out on fourth-and-goal.
Mike Marzilli’s elusiveness helped him get off a key throw in Deering’s first scoring series, a 16-yard pass to Dominick Bernard on 4th-and-10 that kept the drive alive. Marzilli (22 carries, 96 yards) capped it with a one-yard sneak, but the Rams failed to execute the two-point conversion and still trailed, 7-6.
Hunter Martin immediately added to the Eddies’ lead with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that made it 14-6, which is where it stood at halftime.
Dan Marzilli’s nine-yard run and Mike Marzilli’s two-point conversion tied it at 14 with 3:13 left in the third, but the Red Eddies went ahead in the fourth and after the Rams drove deep into Edward Little territory, they couldn’t pull even as Mike Marzilli was sacked on third and fourth downs with under 30 seconds remaining to preserve the 21-14 Red Eddies’ win.
Deering (eighth in the Eastern A Crabtrees) needs to upset Cheverus Friday to become one of six playoff teams from the region. The Rams lost twice to the Stags a year ago, 21-0, in the season finale and 49-0 in the quarterfinals.
Bangor Daily News staff writer Ernie Clark and Sun Journal staff writers Tony Blasi and Randy Whitehouse contributed to this article.
Deering juniors Dan Murphy (left) and Fritz Gemmer bring down an Edward Little ballcarrier during Friday’s 21-14 loss.
Deering sophomore Dominick Bernard hauls in a reception during Friday’s close loss to Edward Little.