STANDISH — Deering quarterback Jamie Ross was no doubt strapped up in the ice after Thursday night’s effort against Bonny Eagle. This time it wasn’t his throwing arm that needed attention, but likely just about everything else.
Ross was directly involved in the outcome of 47 of the Rams’ 61 offensive plays from scrimmage, including 35 of the 49 rushes. Something had to give.
The junior answered the bell, rushing for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while completing eight of his 12 pass attempts for 112 yards and another score. But Ross’ 266 yards of total offense were hardly enough against the two-time defending Class A state champion Bonny Eagle Scots (3-0) who Thursday dropped the Rams, 41-21, in the latest installment of this escalating rivalry.
This game, moved up 24 hours in observance of Rosh Hashanah, belonged to the other quarterback. Bonny Eagle senior Ryan Nason put on a show, rushing for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 carries, passing for one score, and returning an interception for another.
Nason went 80 yards to the house on the Scots’ first play from scrimmage, then doused any hopes the Rams (2-1) had of stealing a big win on the road with a weaving, 70-yard interception return on Deering’s first possession of the second half.
“You got a hand it to those Bonny Eagle Scots,” said Ross. “They got a lot of great guys over there. I got a lot of respect for coach (Kevin) Cooper and what they do. I love playing against them. We just came up short tonight. We execute a little better on offense, execute a little better on defense, I don’t throw an interception and maybe the outcome is a little different. A lot of little things led to big things and we couldn’t salvage it in the end.”
Nason’s pick-six gave Bonny Eagle a 28-14 lead with eight minutes left in the third, and two Deering possessions later, the Scots recovered a Ross fumble and scored with two seconds left in the quarter. Nason threw a quick-spot to senior Joe Davis that went for a 10-yard touchdown and put the Scots in firm control. Junior Nate Martell added one of his five PAT kicks and it was 34-14 to begin the fourth.
The Rams displayed toughness and a sense of pride that could serve them well as the season progresses, qualities Ross showed when he engineered a 15-play, 67-yard scoring march, capped by his own one-yard keeper to pull within a pair of scores at 34-21 with 6:29 remaining.
“These are two teams in Week 3,” said Deering coach Greg Stilphen. “That’s the thing that people don’t understand. The season is not over. We’re a team with a lot of speed and we’re still putting things together. And they are, too. We relish these big games. We look forward to them.”
Deering’s comeback dream ended quickly on the Scots’ next possession when sophomore Nick Adkins finished an 83-yard scoring drive with a 44-yard run with 2:41 left in the game.
Adkins previously scored on a 35-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter for a 21-14 Bonny Eagle lead at the half. He rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns on only eight carries.
Despite the final score, Deering led 14-7 after putting together a pair of impressive, time-consuming touchdown drives late in the first period and early in the second quarter.
Immediately after Nason’s heartbreaking 80-yard score, Deering regrouped and tied the game at 7-7 with 4:53 left in the first quarter.
Ross led the Rams on a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive that chewed up 5:48 of the first quarter. Ross carried eight times for 33 yards, completing a pair of passes for 47 yards. On third-and-nine from the Scots’ 30, Ross hit junior John Hardy for 29 yards to the 1-yard line, then powered in on the next play to tie it at 7-7.
The Rams stopped Bonny Eagle twice, sputtering once on offense in between, before another long drive gave the visitors a 14-7 lead with 5:51 left in the second.
Deering drove 88 yards on 15 plays, eating 6:33 off the second quarter clock. Ross carried eight times for 40 yards and hit two of his four pass attempts for 26 yards, including a 16-yard scoring strike to senior Sam Balzano on a deep slant across the formation. Ross, also the kicker, hit one of his three PAT kicks and the Rams led, 14-7.
But four plays and 1:43 later, Bonny Eagle marched back 67 yards to tie the game, with Nason doing the honors on a 25-yard run by reversing his field and going against the grain for the score.
Deering went three-and-out, and the Scots needed just 57 seconds to take the lead for good, this time on Adkins first touchdown, a 35-yard run off tackle for a 21-14 lead.
It took Bonny Eagle just three plays to go 45 yards and take the lead for good, with Nason carrying twice for 10 yards, and Adkins doing the rest.
To make matters worse, the Scots got the ball back after the half and appeared to be driving for another scoring opportunity. Nason carried twice before handing to Ethan Thomes for what looked like a huge gain. But at the tail end of the run, Rams junior linebacker John Miranda got Thomes from behind and stripped the football. Deering senior Travis Wade dove on the loose ball and for a few moments it looked as though this might be another classic between two teams with plenty of recent history (including last year’s Deering 29-28 come-from-behind regular season win and Bonny Eagle’s 26-14 triumph in the Western A semifinals).
Deering took over at the 34-yard line, but four plays later, disaster struck when Nason intercepted Ross and went 70 yards for a touchdown down the home sideline for a 28-14 lead with 8:16 left in the third.
“We knew they didn’t pass much and we had to step up and stop the run,” said Wade. “They beat us up front with a great push and opened up some big holes. We didn’t do a great job of containing the outside. We had a lot of mistakes and lot of penalties. We didn’t play our best game but we’ll regroup and be ready for next week.”
Both teams were forced to punt on the ensuing possessions, but when Deering took over, again Ross fumbled and the Scots recovered with a short field at the Rams 21 yard line.
Nason hit Davis for a 10-yard score to stretch the lead to 34-14 at the end of the third quarter, and though Ross led the Rams back for another score, Bonny Eagle answered for the 41-21 victory.
Things get a little easier, but not much for the Rams, when they travel Friday to take on the 2-1 Windham Eagles at 7 p.m. The Eagles routed South Portland in the season opener, then were thoroughly beaten, 27-13, by the Cheverus Stags the next Saturday. Windham rebounded to beat the winless Gorham Rams this week, 40-6.
A year ago, Deering won 21-14 at Windham.