Michael's Top Five Stories:
5) South Portland golf steals the show
Earlier this decade, the South Portland golf team couldn't win a match, let alone compete for a state championship, but everything changed this season on the links for the Red Riots, who went 6-4 against a competitive regular season slate, qualified for the state match, then shocked the pundits and everyone but themselves, shooting a 321 to finish a stunning second overall.
4) South Portland football does everything but make playoffs
The resurgent Red Riots had high hopes entering 2009, but appeared dead in the water after a lackluster 21-0 loss at Cheverus on Sept. 19. The following week, however, South Portland knocked the local football world on its ear, stunning two-time defending Class A champion Bonny Eagle on senior Ryan Curit's TD run as time expired. Wins over Noble and Deering followed, but with a playoff berth close enough to taste, the Red Riots lost 36-34 to Gorham and 36-33 to Portland to fall just short. Regardless, South Portland was arguably the most exciting team around and certainly deserves mention for its many highlights.
3) Scarborough boys' soccer does it again
It's a story that's been told on several occasions already this decade. The Scarborough boys' soccer team wins a championship, graduates a ton, then somehow finds a way to be just as formidable the following year. This season, the Red Storm kept tradition and their dominance alive, thanks to the leadership of standout senior Trevor Hoxsie, winning all 14 regular season games, downing South Portland, Portland and Windham in the regional playoffs, then edging Brunswick 2-1 in the state final to repeat as champions.
2) Cape Elizabeth football finally vanquishes rival
Cape Elizabeth's four-year quest to topple football rival Mountain Valley has been so dramatic that they made a movie about it. Unfortunately for the Capers, it had also been frustrating, but everything fell into place in 2009. Cape Elizabeth's best team to date dominated all comers in the regular season, capped by a 34-0 home drubbing of the Falcons, which locked up the top seed and homefield advantage for the playoffs. After easily dispatching Wells in the semifinals, the Capers hosted Mountain Valley in a rainy Western B Final Saturday and found themselves behind for the first time all year. But proving its championship heart, Cape Elizabeth rallied in the waning moments for a 23-13 victory, which sets up a date with Leavitt in the Class B Final Saturday night. If this list could wait a week, the Capers might jump to the top spot, but for now, they're trumped by:
1) Scarborough field hockey seals the deal
A year ago, at Hampden Academy, the Scarborough field hockey team was left heartbroken after losing to Skowhegan in overtime of the Class A Final. As soon as the game ended, however, the Red Storm focused on getting back to the final and winning it all and no one was going to stand in their way in 2009. Scarborough dominated virtually every foe this season, went unbeaten for the first time and got past Thornton Academy, Bonny Eagle and Cheverus to win a second straight regional title. Then, facing Skowhegan (the eight-time champion) again, the Red Storm found themselves down 1-0 late in the second half before senior standout Brittany Ross tied the game. Then, in OT, senior Ellie Morin got the tiniest piece of senior Heather Carrier's long hit and and tipped it home to give Scarborough its long-awaited title.