Fall sports season starts fast, furious and triumphant

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Scarborough sophomore Jarett Flaker returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown during the Red Storm’s 49-15 home win over Sanford last weekend.

Scarborough senior Marco Manfra fights for the ball during the Red Storm’s dramatic 3-2, come-from-behind win over Westbrook Saturday.

The 2017 fall sports season has produced enough of a sample size to suggest that there’s a lot to look forward to in the weeks to come.

First, here’s what you might have missed in the early going:

Football

It was a very good weekend on the gridiron.

Cape Elizabeth is off to a 2-0 start and has a chance to avenge last year’s painful playoff ouster this coming weekend. After blanking visiting Yarmouth in their opener, 48-0, the Capers went to Gardiner last Saturday and held off the Tigers, 21-13. Cape Elizabeth scored on Ryan Weare’s 1-yard touchdown run on its opening drive, then after Gardiner tied the score, the Capers answered on a 10-yard scoring pass from Andrew Hartel to Jacob Brydson and took a 14-7 lead to halftime. Cape Elizabeth scored again, on a 1-yard Hartel-to-Matt-Conley pass in the third quarter to make it 21-7, but the Tigers pulled within 21-13 in the fourth period and got the ball back with a chance to rally, but the Capers’ defense slammed the door. Cape Elizabeth will be tested at 2-0 Wells Friday night in a rematch of last year’s regional final. A year ago, the Capers won, 13-7, at Wells in the regular season finale, but lost the playoff rematch, 27-14, on their home field.

Scarborough is living up to billing as well, following up a 43-0 victory at Deering in the opener with a 49-15 home win over Sanford last Friday. The Red Storm didn’t have the services of injured quarterback Zoltan Panyi, but they took the lead for good when sophomore speedster Jarett Flaker took the opening kickoff and brought it back 86 yards for a touchdown which put Scarborough on top to stay. After forcing a fumble on Sanford’s first offensive snap, the Red Storm doubled their lead when backup quarterback Liam McDonnell found Jaquan Seme for a 13-yard TD. Later in the first period, Cody Dudley scored on a 3-yard run to make it 21-0 Scarborough. The Red Storm added a fourth touchdown early in the second quarter, as senior Owen Garrard scored on a 29-yard scamper. The extra point failed, but the lead was 27-0. After the Spartans got on the board, Scarborough got another TD before the break, as Chase Cleary took advantage of his time under center to hit Seme from 27-yards out for a commanding 34-7 advantage.

Flaker showed off his nonpareil speed again in the third quarter, scoring on a 25-yard run and early in the fourth period, sophomore Salvatore DeBenedetto scored on a 4-yard run and added a two-point conversion for the Red Storm’s final points. With plenty of reserves on the field, Sanford got one final TD and two-point conversion in the final moments, but Scarborough was able to put the finishing touches on a 49-15 victory.

“Getting up early made it easier to play,” said Red Storm coach Lance Johnson. “We have a lot of seniors who are talented and are leaders. They’ve won a lot of games. They’re a close-knit group. We’re lucky that we had guys step up and make plays.” 

Scarborough hosts 2-0 Thornton Academy in a highly-anticipated showdown Friday night (see theforecaster.net for game story). Last year, the Red Storm lost, 34-19, at home to the Golden Trojans in the regular season, then beat Thornton Academy for the first time, 36-29, in a shocking semifinal round upset in Saco.

“I think we’re ready, we just have to play hard and execute,” Flaker said. 

“They’ll be ready to play,” Johnson said. “They’ll want revenge from last year. They’re a great program. It will be a good game.” 

South Portland, which lost, 34-21, at Lewiston in its opener, got in the win column last Friday with a 37-20 home victory over Massabesic. Quarterback Jake Poole threw a touchdown pass to Jimmy DiBiase and scored on a run to make it 13-0 after one period. Spencer Houlette’s short TD run pushed the lead to 20-0 at halftime. After Zack Johnson kicked a field goal and the Mustangs got a touchdown back, Houlette broke away for another touchdown run for a 30-6 lead. One more Poole TD run was sandwiched around a pair of Massabesic scores in the fourth period and the Red Riots went on to the victory. South Portland is home with 0-2 Deering Friday night. Last year, the Red Riots lost, 42-14, at the Rams.

Boys’ soccer

South Portland’s boys’ soccer team is off to the best start among local squads. The Red Riots were 3-0-1 at press time after downing host Thornton Academy, 3-0, playing defending regional champion Gorham to 0-0 draw at home, then beating visiting Marshwood (2-0) and host Biddeford (4-0). Charlie Cronin, Cooper Mehlhorn and Kyle Patterson had the goals against the Golden Trojans. Mehlhorn and Patterson added goals in the win over the Hawks and against the Tigers, Patterson scored twice and Mehlhorn and Anthony Perron both tickled the twine once. South Portland hosted Massabesic Thursday and plays at Noble Tuesday of next week.

Scarborough started with a 1-0 loss at Deering, downed visiting Thornton Academy, 4-0, rallied to edge visiting Westbrook, 3-2, then lost at Gorham, 3-0, in a playoff rematch to drop to 2-2. Against the Golden Trojans, Liam Bridgham, Noah Drapeau, Alex Dobecki and David Trammell all scored. The Red Storm got a goal from Wyatt Keller to take an early lead over the Blue Blazes, but Westbrook got two straight goals and still led with seven minutes to play. Facing the prospect of a first-ever loss to the Blue Blazes, Scarborough drew even when Drapeau scored with 6:56 remaining and with 2:16 to go, Nick Anderson headed in the winner and the Red Storm prevailed.

“There was no panic at all,” Anderson said. “It’s a young group of guys, but we all trust each other. We knew we had to fight. It’s a big team win.”

“We made a few adjustments and stuck with it,” said longtime Red Storm coach Mark Diaz. “It’s a good learning experience. We’re very young, but we didn’t panic. I’m proud of them.”

Scarborough was home with Biddeford Thursday, goes to Massabesic Monday and hosts Noble Thursday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth started with a 1-0 home win over Freeport on Phil Tarling’s goal. After a 2-1 home loss to York (David Hare scored for the Capers), the Capers improved to 2-1 Tuesday with a 4-0 home victory over Wells behind goals from Tarling, Nick Clifford, John O’Connor and Tate Perkins. Cape Elizabeth welcomes Fryeburg Academy Friday and hopes to give coach Ben Raymond his 100th victory with the program. The Capers welcome Greely Tuesday of next week for a playoff rematch.

Greater Portland Christian School opened with a 4-1 loss at Vinalhaven. The Lions were home with Seacoast Christian Wednesday, play at Temple Academy Friday, visit Chop Point Tuesday of next week, then go to Highview Christian the following day.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Scarborough has lived up to its preseason billing, sandwiching home wins over Falmouth (2-1) and Westbrook (9-0) around a 6-1 victory at Thornton Academy. Sarah Callahan and Ellie Patten scored in the opener. Against the Golden Trojans, Molly Murnane and Gaby Panagakos both had two goals, while Patten and Caitlin McCaffrey had one apiece. In the win over the Blue Blazes, Panagakos had three goals, while Emily Johnson and Ashley Sabatino scored twice apiece. Leah Dickman also scored. The Red Storm went to Kennebunk Wednesday, host Bonny Eagle Saturday and welcome Deering Wednesday of next week.

South Portland dropped its first two outings: 2-0 at Windham and 2-1 at Cheverus. Juliana Selser scored the lone goal against the Stags. The Red Riots looked to get in the win column Wednesday at Marshwood. After hosting Thornton Academy Saturday, South Portland welcomes Kennebunk Tuesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth lost, 1-0, at Freeport in its opener, but has since downed visiting Gray-New Gloucester (4-0), host Fryeburg Academy (7-0) and host York (5-1) to improve to 3-1. In the win over the Patriots, Grace Gillian scored twice and Karli Chapin and Prezli Piscopo both had one goal. Against the Raiders, Gillian and Chapin scored three goals apiece, while Olivia Cochran added one. Gillian had three more goals, while Chapin and Riley Dall each added one at the Wildcats. The Capers host Fryeburg Academy Saturday and go to Greely Tuesday.

GPCS opened with a 3-0 loss at Pine Tree Academy, then fell, 6-0, at Vinalhaven. After playing host to North Yarmouth Academy Wednesday, the Lions visit Highview Christian next Wednesday.

Field hockey

Don’t look now, but Scarborough’s field hockey team is doing just fine, thank you. The perennially strong Red Storm, who didn’t receive a lot of preseason buzz, were 4-0 at press time after downing visiting South Portland (3-1), host Falmouth (3-1), host Sanford (6-1) and visiting Thornton Academy (5-0). Rachel Paradis, Lucy Malia and Caitlin Tyrrell scored in the opener. Against the Yachtsmen, Malia, Paradis and Caroline Timpson rattled the cage. Lauren Topchik had three goals at the Spartans. In the win over the Golden Trojans, Malia had a hat trick and Topchik and Tansey Hughes also scored. After hosting Portland Wednesday, Scarborough is at Westbrook Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and welcomes Marshwood in a playoff rematch Tuesday.

South Portland started with a 3-1 loss at Scarborough (Bonge Lako had the goal), but bounced back to defeat visiting Noble (3-1), host Bonny Eagle (4-2) and visiting Windham (3-1). Lydia Grant scored twice and Lako added a goal in the win over the Knights. Grant, Lako and Sara Axelrod had the goals against the Eagles. The Red Riots hoped to keep the good times rolling at Cheverus Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), then host Kennebunk Friday and visit defending regional champion Massabesic Tuesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth started with shutout wins at Gray-New Gloucester (3-0) and at home over Greely (1-0, in double-overtime) before losing, 4-1, to visiting Freeport Tuesday to fall to 2-1. Emi Logue had two goals and Isabel Berman added one against the Patriots. Berman had the winner against the Rangers. Logue scored the lone goal in the loss to the Falcons. The Capers host the Maine Girls’ Academy/Waynflete co-op team Friday, welcome Lake Region Saturday, visit three-time defending Class B champion York Monday and go to Yarmouth Wednesday of next week.

Volleyball

Scarborough’s volleyball team lost a five-set thriller to Deering in its opener, but has since won three in a row: 3-0 (27-25, 25-5, 25-7) at Windham, 3-0 (25-13, 25-3, 25-22) over visiting Bonny Eagle and 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-22, 25-15) over visiting Falmouth in a showdown Tuesday. Asia Mattress had nine kills and Caelyn Sheil added seven kills in the win over the Eagles. Against the Scots, Shaelyn Thornton served six aces and Mattress and Sheil had six kills apiece. The Red Storm sought to make it four in a row Thursday when they went to Cheverus. Tuesday brings a match at Massabesic.

South Portland started with a four-set (14-25, 25-12, 27-25, 25-22) victory at Gorham, then lost in straight sets to visiting Yarmouth (19-25, 5-25, 19-25) and at Deering (21-25, 20-25, 9-25). In the victory, Molly Mawhinney had eight aces and 12 kills, Kaleisha Towle five aces, five blocks and 15 digs and Ashlee Aceto 16 assists. In the loss to the Clippers, Towle had seven kills and Mawhinney six. Towle had four more kills against the Rams. The Red Riots went to Falmouth Thursday and host Cheverus Tuesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth has rediscovered its 2013-15 magic and won its first five matches. The Capers opened with 3-0 wins at home over Kennebunk (25-12, 25-23, 25-22), at Gardiner (25-12, 25-6, 25-16) and at Brunswick. After a four-set victory (25-23, 23-25, 25-9, 25-17) over visiting Mt. Desert Island in a playoff rematch, Cape Elizabeth rallied from two sets down Tuesday to shock host Biddeford (19-25, 23-25, 25-10, 25-22, 15-11). In the win over MDI, Maggie Dadmun had five aces and 10 assists while Megan Connelly added five aces and six kills. Against the Tigers, Connelly had 22 kills and Dadmun 20 assists. The Capers hosted undefeated Yarmouth Thursday and have another showdown Tuesday at Falmouth before hosting defending Class A champion Greely Thursday of next week.

Cross country 

Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough’s cross country teams took part in the Southern Maine Classic Invitational in Gorham last weekend. 

The Capers girls were second out of 22 scoring teams, while the Red Storm placed 12th. Cape Elizabeth was paced by Lila Gaudrault, who had the eighth-best time (19 minutes, 14.27 seconds). Scarborough’s top finisher was Bethany Sholl (seventh, 19:12.83).

In the boys’ meet, won by Greely, Scarborough finished seventh and Cape Elizabeth came in 11th. Tristram Coffin had the best finish for the Red Storm (eighth, 16:34.85). Jack Bassett was the fastest Caper (ninth, 16:46.74).

South Portland joined Biddeford, Deering and Kennebunk for a meet at Bonny Eagle. The Red Riots boys and girls both came in fifth. The boys’ team was led by Liam Piper (14th, 18:42). South Portland’s top female was Maria Brandao (41st, 27:48).

This Friday, Scarborough joins Deering and Marshwood at Westbrook, South Portland, along with Biddeford, Bonny Eagle and Noble, runs at Falmouth, and Cape Elizabeth, along with Greely, Maine Coast Waldorf and Poland, goes to Gray-New Gloucester.

Golf

Cape Elizabeth’s golf team won its first three matches: 7-0 over Yarmouth, 7-0 over Wells and 5-2 over Fryeburg Academy. The Capers hosted St. Dom’s Thursday and go to York Tuesday.

Scarborough is 3-2 at the midpoint of its schedule. After opening with a 13-0 win over Portland, the Red Storm lost to Falmouth (8.5-4.5) and Cheverus (7-6), before bouncing back to defeat South Portland (10-3) and Deering (13-0). After hosting Portland Thursday, Scarborough will prepare for a key home showdown versus Falmouth Monday.

South Portland was 0-4 at press time, losing to Deering (7-6), Portland (13-0), Scarborough (10-3) and Cheverus (9.5-3.5). After welcoming Falmouth Thursday, the Red Riots play host to Deering Tuesday.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.