The high school football postseason got underway Saturday with mixed results.
In Class A North, third-ranked Cheverus downed No. 6 Lewiston, 30-14, in the quarterfinals to join No. 1 Portland, which had a bye, in this coming weekend’s semifinal round.
The Stags beat the Blue Devils, 28-20, Sept. 16 in Lewiston. Cheverus won all three prior playoff games, including a 42-0 quarterfinal round victory last year and Saturday afternoon, did it again.
The Stags took a 9-0 lead after one quarter on a touchdown run from quarterback Jack Casale and a safety. By halftime, the score was 23-0, as Casale ran for another score and Rylan Benedict did the same. After Lewiston pulled within 23-6 after three quarters, Max Coffin essentially iced the victory with a TD run. The Blue Devils scored one final touchdown, but Cheverus prevailed, 30-14.
The Stags move on to battle No. 2 Windham (5-3) in the semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. Cheverus dropped the regular season finale, 13-12, to the Eagles Oct. 22 in a game played at Fitzpatrick Stadium. Windham has won three of four previous playoff encounters, including a 28-0 victory in last year’s semifinals.
Portland (7-1) welcomes No. 4 Oxford Hills (5-4), which outlasted No. 5 Edward Little in overtime, 26-20, in its quarterfinal. On Sept. 24, the Bulldogs handled the visiting Vikings, 36-7. The teams have no playoff history.
“Oxford Hills is good,” said Portland coach Jim Hartman. “They’re well-coached and play old-fashioned football. They’re very businesslike and come right at you. We have to stop the run. Their running game is as good as anyone’s. It was nice to have a week off to heal up, but now, we have our hands full. The kids better pay attention or it will be an early offseason. We have to answer the bell.”
The Class A North Final will be either Nov. 11 or 12 on the field of the highest remaining seed.
In Class A South, Deering, ranked fifth, saw its season come to a close with a 27-6 quarterfinal round loss at No. 3 Sanford. The Spartans, who won, 20-14, at home over the Rams back on Sept. 9, took a 7-0 lead after one quarter and went up, 13-0, at halftime. After another Sanford touchdown, Deering finally got on the board to make it 19-6 after three periods, but the Spartans added another score to win, 27-6, and even the all-time postseason series, 2-2.
The Rams finished 3-6 but made the playoffs for the third year in a row.
“I thought we were better than our record showed this year, but our big issue this season was mental errors,” lamented Deering coach Jason Jackson. “We took two steps forward, then five steps back, doing things like jumping offsides, not knowing plays, not executing. We had talent, but it doesn’t matter if everyone isn’t on the same page. Injuries took their toll too.”
Deering will gear up for its Thanksgiving Day showdown against Portland, then look forward to a better 2017 campaign.
“We’ll give the guys a break, then get ready for Thanksgiving,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we can have some success against a great Portland team.
“We don’t have a ton of seniors, but we’ll graduate (Rob) Dacey, (Mason) Kaserman, (Nate) Richards and (Raffaele) Salamone, our core four. Our offensive line should be returning and we have some running backs and our quarterback returning. Some sophomores could step up and help us out. The kids coming back know they have to work extremely hard this offseason.”