Statement win for Scarborough; Red Storm blank Sanford, 14-0
SCARBOROUGH—Zach Bean set the tone on his first touch and by the time the night was through, there was no doubt that the Red Storm can play some power football.
The Scarborough senior running back took the game’s opening handoff for 38 yards, and that was just the beginning. He finished with a school-record 242 yards on 44 carries and scored every point in the Red Storm’s 14-0 win over previously unbeaten Sanford on a rainy Thursday night at the Mitchell Sports Complex.
Scarborough, coming off a 33-7 setback against Thornton Academy its last time out, improved to 2-1 with its first shutout since joining Class A and its first at any point since a 34-0 Western Class B semifinal round win over Gorham on Nov. 9, 2002. Sanford fell to 2-1.
When the rain started coming down during warmups, Red Storm coach Lance Johnson said it was decided that Scarborough, a team with a number of offensive weapons, if not yet an offensive identity, was simply going to pound the football.
“That had to be the game plan because of the weather,” said the first-year coach.
After turning the ball over on downs at the Sanford 32 on the opening possession, Scarborough forced a three-and-out by the Redskins and embarked on a methodic, clock-munching drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Bean. The 13-play march lasted 5 minutes and 20 seconds. The final eight plays were runs by Bean, with him taking the direct snap out of the "Wildcat" formation for the last three of them.
“The line did a great job all game of opening holes,” Bean said. “I couldn’t have done anything without them. I like the weather like this. I feel like every time I get the ball, no one is going to take me down.”
Bean missed the point-after kick and Scarborough led 6-0 with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
After holding Sanford to another three-and-out, the Red Storm were moving again to start the second quarter. Matt Brown and Dennis Liu both picked up first downs on the ground in between Bean runs, but the drive fizzled in the red zone, as Scarborough turned the ball over on downs at the Sanford 11 with 6:11 left in the half after three straight incomplete passes. Neither team threatened for the rest of the second quarter, though Sanford did finally pick up its first first down with under two minutes remaining.
The Red Storm put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 14-play, 81-yard drive that lasted over six minutes. All the plays were runs, with Bean carrying on 12 of them, the final one a 3-yard TD plow out of the Wildcat. After a Sanford offsides brought the ball inside the 2 for the two-point conversion try, Bean again took the snap and went straight up the middle to make it 14-0 with 3:14 to play.
Sanford’s final drive was snuffed out on a diving, one-armed interception by Dillon Russo, his second pick of the game.
Scarborough was able to survive a shaky third quarter thanks to a stout effort by the defense. After Sanford failed to gain a yard on its opening drive of the second half and was forced to punt, the Red Storm turned the ball over on its next offensive play as Bean lost the handle, giving the Redskins the ball at midfield. Sanford quarterback Jon Schroder connected with Justin Carlson for gains of 10 and 20 yards on the drive, but a sack on Schroder courtesy of Liu and Mike Cyr helped negate the first one, and a tackle for a loss by Keoni Debarge on third-and-3 from the Scarborough 18 forced Sanford into a fourth-and-5 that it could not convert.
The teams traded punts, but Bean fumbled again at his own 45 with 2:58 left in the third. Three plays later, Russo got the ball back for the Red Storm with an interception.
Bean said his teammates helped him shake off the fumbles and get back on track for a strong final quarter.
“Those were my fault,” he said. “We rebounded well. They really picked me up. They said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Go to the next play.’”
The teams both punted to start the fourth before Scarborough sealed up the win. In all, Sanford punted seven times and mustered just 39 yards rushing and 48 in the air. Entering the game, Redskins running back Shawn Goodrich, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, had been averaging nearly 120 yards per game. He had just 23 yards on 10 carries against Scarborough.
“Goodrich is a great back,” Johnson said. “It’s getting to the point in the year where you can scout people and get some formation tendencies. I think those things helped our kids. Our kids are bright football players and we gave them a little bit of knowledge and they took it out on the field and executed. They knew some of the formations and what plays were coming, which helped a lot.
“Our big athletes are starting to play really well. Matty Brown and Kellen Smith at linebacker and Zach Bean and Mike Cyr at defensive end. Our nose guard is very active and our tackle play is getting better every week.”
The Red Storm, coming off a 1-7 season, are in good shape three games in after rallying to beat Massabesic in the opener then shutting down Sanford, both playoff teams a year ago.
“The kids are great kids who work hard,” Johnson said. “We ask them to improve upon things and the next day they are focused on those things. I think we’re talented and they’re really starting to believe in themselves. We lost to a good Thornton team last week, but I thought we played better than we did the first week. The result just wasn’t what we were looking for. We’ve just got to keep improving.”
Scarborough has a hefty challenge up next as it heads to Waterhouse Field to take on Biddeford (3-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.
And while Bean wouldn’t mind seeing some more rain and another 44 carries, he knows the offense will likely mix it up a bit more next time out.
“We’re a team that can do many things,” Bean said. “We can spread the ball. We can run it. It’s pretty unpredictable.”