Plethora of highlights in early fall action for southern teams
It didn't take long for local fall athletes to make a mark. With the season less than a week old, it appears that Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland will make noise across the board. Here's a glimpse.
While South Portland's football team opened with a huge upset win over defending Class A champion Windham, the Lance Johnson Era of Scarborough football also began with a bang Friday night.
The Red Storm had only won two season openers since moving up to Class A in 2003 and it didn't look good when they trailed, 22-6, at halftime at Massabesic. Undaunted, Scarborough got back to within 22-20 after three periods (senior Zach Bean had two short TD runs), then went ahead with 11 minutes to play on a 54-yard TD run from senior Dennis Liu. After the Mustangs went back on top, 29-26, with seven minutes to go, the Red Storm took the lead for good with under two minutes to go when junior quarterback Kolbey Adams hooked up with junior Connor McCann for the second time (this one from 52 yards) for a 33-29 lead. Scarborough's defense held the fort and the Red Storm got out of town with an inspirational win.
"I am really proud of our team for sticking together, digging deep and coming back from 16 down at the half," said Johnson, a longtime assistant at Portland High. "It was a great team effort against one of the best coached teams in Maine."
Bean finished with 106 yards and three TDs on 20 carries. Liu rushed for 77 yards and a score on four attempts. On defense, junior linebacker Matt Brown had 13 tackles, while seniors Scott Merrill and Mike Cyr each had seven tackles. Cyr also caused a fumble.
The Red Storm, who matched last year's win total, host powerhouse Thornton Academy in their home opener Friday night. Last year, Scarborough lost at the Golden Trojans, 14-6.
Cape Elizabeth, the defending Western B champion, opened at Poland Saturday. The Capers forced eight fumbles, recovered three, and went on to a relatively easy 25-0 victory. New quarterback Derek Roberts scored on an 8-yard run to get the scoring started. He scored again (from 9-yards out) in the final minute of the half for a 13-0 advantage. A 29-yard TD run from senior Jack Barber (111 yards) and an 11-yard Roberts-to-senior Kyle Danielson pass accounted for the 25-0 final.
Roberts rushed for 72 yards and two TDs.
“I’m very happy with some of the things he did,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Aaron Filieo. “He missed a couple of reads and missed some throws, but he made some plays out there.”
“I had a couple of preseason starts,” said Roberts. “It’s just like playing JV with bigger players.”
The Capers host York in their home opener Friday night. The Wildcats fell, 34-25, at home to Falmouth in their first game. Last year, Cape Elizabeth won, 41-12, at York.
While two-time defending Class A champion Scarborough is up to its old tricks, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth are also off to promising starts.
The Red Riots opened with a 1-0 win at highly touted Westbrook. Senior Nem Kaurin had the goal on a free kick late in the first half. It was South Portland's first victory over the Blue Blazes this decade (the teams did tie in 2007 and 2009).
"Nem's free kick was beautiful, he bent it right around the keeper and into the side netting," said Red Riots coach Bryan Hoy. "He's very dangerous on free kicks from 30-yards and closer. Westbrook outplayed us most of the game, but our defense held strong and (sophomore) Ben Burkey(seven saves) made a few masterful saves to preserve the shutout. (Seniors) Brooks Cannon and Matt Russell played very strong defensively in the middle, while (juniors) Nate Fox and Andy Mills controlled the outside. (Junior) Nick Jackson-Cook saw some key minutes off the bench and really gave us the lift we needed."
South Portland improved to 2-0 Tuesday at Noble with a 2-1 overtime triumph. Kaurin opened the scoring in the first half and after the Knights tied the score early in the second half in overtime Kaurin set up junior Akiba Davis for the winner.
"We snuck out a win tonight," said Hoy. "We dominated play in the first half, but couldn't finish."
The Red Riots were home with Scarborough Thursday and welcome Massabesic next Tuesday.
Cape Elizabeth rolled in its opener, 6-0, over visiting Lake Region. Junior Blake Barritt had two goals and an assist to lead the way. Wednesday, the Capers improved to 2-0 in thrilling fashion when junior Tim Lavallee (from senior Timmy Takach) scored in the final minute. Senior Cam Brown made five saves. Cape Elizabeth is now idle until next Thursday when it plays at Greely.
On the girls' side, Scarborough, the preseason Western A favorite, rolled 4-0 over visiting Massabesic in its first game. Seniors Tori Armishaw and Margaret Palmer and juniors Haley Carignan and Meghan Tyson had the goals. Wednesday, the Red Storm dominated visiting Portland, 8-0, with four goals in each half. All eight goals were assisted. Armishaw had two scores. Tyson had a goal and two assists. Senior Cortney Hughes had two gorgeous assists.
"It's been in a long time since we've had a game where we've been up 4-0 at halftime," said Scarborough coach Mike Farley. "We kept pressure on for 80 minutes. We had seven different players score. It's not just the players on the field, it's the bench players too. We don't drop our level. This team seems to be really steady."
The Red Storm go to Marshwood Friday (looking to avenge last year's shocking quarterfinal round playoff loss) and visit Gorham in a showdown Monday.
"I won't have to motivate them for Friday," Farley said. "Gorham's always a rivalry. That will be a very even match. We've struggled to play consistently for 80 minutes. This year, we want to be at a dominant level for 80 minutes and everything will take care of itself."
Cape Elizabeth, which stumbled down the stretch and missed the playoffs in 2009, earned an impressive 4-2 win at Lake Region in its opener, behind three goals and an assist from senior standout Karyn Barrett and another from junior Ziana Merlim. Senior goalkeeper Lexi Weatherbie stopped seven shots. Coach Gary Newell credited sophomore Maddy Riker for controlling the midfield and senior Emily Donovan for her contributions in the midfield and up top.
Tuesday, the Capers rolled, 5-0, at NYA. Barrett and Donovan both scored twice. Barrett gave Cape Elizabeth an early 1-0 lead on a free kick. Donovan's first goal was a thing of beauty, as she dove parallel to the ground before heading home a Barrett cross.
"I saw Karyn go to the corner and I yelled her name," Donovan said. "She had a beautiful ball. I started to dive a little early. I was on my knees, but I knew I hit it well. We're playing really well together. I think we just need to keep our focus. We didn't do that last year."
In the second half, Barrett (unassisted), sophomore Talley Perkins (from Barrett on a corner) and Donovan (from sophomore Maddie Riker) struck to account for the final score.
"It's nice to get the result," said Capers coach Gary Newell. "The kids played well. Everyone focuses on Karyn, but we have a number of players who can hurt other teams. Emily's just one of them. I think we came into the season knowing what happened last year and not wanting to repeat it. They're doing a nice job taking it game by game. We'll be ready for the big games.
Cape Elizabeth returns to action Thursday, Sept. 16, when it hosts Greely.
"That will be a great test," Newell said. "We're dinged up, so it's nice to have a break."
South Portland earned a 3-1 win at Westbrook in its opener Friday. Sophomore Jenna Wing scored twice and had an assist, while classmate Jenacee Bradbury also scored.
"It was a dominant performance, even though the score didn't reflect it," said Red Riots coach Andy Pappas.
South Portland fell to 1-1 Wednesday after a 2-1 loss at Noble. Friday, the Red Riots go to Cheverus.
Scarborough's field hockey team may have a different look in 2010, but the Red Storm haven't forgotten how to win. In their opener, they downed visiting Portland, 5-1, as sophomore Stephanie Felt scored twice. Scarborough goes to Thornton Academy Friday and hosts Windham Tuesday.
South Portland dropped its first game, 3-1, at Noble, despite a goal from senior standout Becca Roberts. Sophomore Kirsten Kane stopped five shots and Alyssa Penny had a defensive save. Coach Heather Seavey credited junior Olivia Edwards for playing a stellar contest. The Red Riots lost 2-0 at home to Sanford Wednesday. Kane made 13 saves. Senior Christine Nguyen had a defensive save, while Seavey credited Roberts and Edwards with all-around good play in the midfield. Tuesday of next week, South Portland goes to Westborook.
Cape Elizabeth is off to a sizzling start. The Capers blanked visiting Yarmouth, 4-0, in their first game, then downed host Gray-New Gloucester (7-0) and visiting Falmouth (1-0). Against the Clippers, Ally Boyington, Jane Coffrin, Bella Robinson and Lauren Steidl had goals. In the win over the Patriots, Boyington led the way with three goals. Kelsey Maguire (from Coffrin) had the winner against the Yachtsmen. Cape Elizabeth next gets a pair of tests against last year's regional finalists. Saturday, the Capers host York. Monday, they're home against Wells.
The cross country season was supposed to begin for Class A schools last week with the SMAA relays in Saco, but the intense heat forced it to be canceled. As a result, Scarborough and South Portland (along with Thornton Academy) opened at Marshwood Wednesday.
Cape Elizabeth hosted Falmouth, Lake Region and NYA. The girls' juggernaut (ranked second in the latest coaches' poll) continued to excel, winning with 25 points, five fewer than the Yachtsmen. Senior Kelsey Barton was the top individual runner, completing the 2.9-mile course in 19 minutes, 40 seconds. In the boys' race, the Capers (ranked fourth in the coaches' poll) were second to Falmouth. Junior Thomas Bottomley finished second as an individual (16:19). Cape Elizabeth joins Merriconeag and York at Greely Friday.
On the links, Scarborough is off to a hot 2-0 start after downing Westbrook (11.5-1.5) and Portland (8-5). The Red Storm were at preseason favorite Deering Thursday and go to South Portland Monday. The Red Riots are 1-1 after losing to Deering (8.5-4.5) and beating Westbrook (10-3). In Class B, Cape Elizabeth lost its opener, 5-2, to York.
Scarborough's volleyball team gave new coach Jon Roberts his first victory in the opener last weekend, 3-0 (25-8, 25-2, 25-14) at Cape Elizabeth. Junior Emily Robbins had 30 serving points, including 10 aces, and also had 15 assists. Classmate Brittany Bona finished with 10 kills and two blocks. Tuesday, the Red Storm fell to 1-1 with a 3-0 (16-25, 12-25, 24-26) loss to Falmouth. Robbins had 10 assists and returned from injury in the final set to help Scarborough almost pull out a win. Senior Mackenzie Bowker finished with eight digs, three kills and a team-high 19 successful serve receptions. Scarborough is home against Yarmouth and Mt. Desert Island Saturday and goes to seven-time state champion Greely Wednesday of next week.
Cape Elizabeth looked to balance its record when it went to Biddeford Wednesday. Friday, the Capers are at Cony. Monday, they host Falmouth and Tuesday, they welcome Gorham.
Sun Journal staff writer Dave St. Hilaire contributed to this story.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com