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It’s starting to look like the defending Class A state champion Cheverus football team might never get a challenge this autumn.
Saturday afternoon, the Stags benefited from nine Scarborough turnovers and blanked the Red Storm, 38-0, for their fifth win in a row this fall and 17th successive victory overall.
In a rematch of last year’s tight regional semifinal round playoff game (won by the Stags, 21-14), Cheverus recovered a fumble on the game’s first play and went up, 7-0, when senior standout Spencer Cooke scored on a 24-yard run. After Stags senior Cam Olson intercepted a pass on Scarborough’s second play, Olson (who also plays quarterback) found sophomore Donald Goodrich for a 16-yard score. The Red Storm would commit two more turnovers before the first quarter ended and the Stags went up, 21-0, when Olson found senior Louie DiStasio for a 22-yard scoring pass.
Cheverus ended any remaining drama in the second period, forcing two more turnovers and sandwiching TDs from junior Brent Green (1-yard run and a 40-yard interception return) around a 29-yard DiStasio field goal for a 38-0 lead.
That would be the final score as the Stags showed without a doubt that they have no peer at this point of the season.
“The field position was a big, big help, especially in this kind of weather,” said Olson, who complemented his two TD passes with three interceptions on defense. “We got it done.”
“It’s a quality win over a very good team,” said Stags coach John Wolfgram. “I thought we started pretty well. We took advantage of some turnovers. The turnovers set the tone and we got ahead.”
Cheverus, finishes its regular season home slate Saturday of next week against 0-5 Biddeford (in the first meeting between the teams in at least eight years), then goes to Portland and Deering to finish the regular season.
If the Stags stay healthy and focused, they’re on their way to another special November.
“We have a lot of things to work on,” said Olson. “We have to execute on defense and offense and special teams. Bottom line, is we have to get it done.”
“We will have some close games,” Wolfgram said. “There are a lot of good teams out there.”
Deering finally suffered its first loss Friday night, failing to hold a 14-0 lead and falling, 28-21, to visiting Thornton Academy, the Rams’ first setback in five games this autumn.
Senior quarterback Matt Flaherty hit classmate Renaldo Lowry for scoring passes totalling 25 and 40-yards, but the Golden Trojans scored three unanswered touchdowns to go up, 21-14, at halftime. Thornton Academy made it 28-14 early in the third, but an 80-yard Flaherty-to-Lowry hookup made it a 28-21 game.
“Renaldo is a special talent,” Deering first-year coach Jon Gallant said. “So is Matty. Matty doesn’t get a lot of credit for being a good quarterback. He can run, he can throw. He’s very good. I think every touchdown we had was on an audible. He saw what they were doing in the secondary and we’re going to take advantage when we see that.”
The Rams hoped to rally late, but Flaherty was intercepted and the team’s first loss since last year’s regional final was in the books as Thornton Academy was able to avenge a couple losses to Deering from a year ago (including a 56-18 romp in the Western A quarterfinals).
“We did uncharacteristic things that we hadn’t done all year,” said Gallant. “I think a little bit of panic set in.”
Deering will look to eliminate the mistakes as the Rams have three tough games to close the regular season. The Rams visit 2-3 Scarborough Thursday night (the team’s first meeting since Oct. 8, 2004, where Deering won, 41-0), then play at Bonny Eagle and host Cheverus in the finale.
“It’s the SMAA. It’s the best league in the state,” Gallant said. “There are no easy games. Every game is tough. We knew this would be a tough stretch. We’ve got to turn around and play again in five days. Hopefully we just keep our heads up, stay positive and stay together. That will be telling of our season.”
Portland had a chance to propel itself into the middle of the playoff race, but couldn’t hold a 7-6 halftime lead and lost, 16-7, at Windham, falling to 2-3 on the year.
The Bulldogs lost at home to the Eagles a year ago, 20-14, but took a 7-6 advantage on sophomore Jayvon Pitts-Young’s TD run. Windham went on top to stay on a field goal in the third period, then added a TD in the fourth to hand Portland a frustrating loss.
“We just didn’t make plays,” said Bulldogs coach Mike Bailey. “They only ran nine plays in the first half. We’re still young.”
Portland hopes to balance its record Thursday, but has a tough task as it hosts 4-1 Thornton Academy. The teams haven’t met since Sept. 1, 2006 (when the Bulldogs eked out a 26-20 home win).
Portland closes with home games versus Cheverus and South Portland.
Freelance writer Tom Minervino contributed to this story.
Standout Cheverus senior running back Spencer Cooke gets tripped up during Saturday’s 38-0 home win over Scarborough. Cooke rushed for 101 yards as the defending Class A state champion Stags improved to 5-0.
Deering senior Alex Stilphen completely obscures the passing lane for Thornton Academy quarterback Eric Christensen. The Rams fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Friday night, after a 28-21 home loss to the Golden Trojans.