While all three local football teams are apparently en route to the playoffs, each still has unfinished business to take care of.
In Western A, South Portland seeks to improve its standing, finish with a winning record for the first time in nine years and avenge an agonizing loss from a year ago when it hosts rival Portland in the “Battle of the Bridge” Saturday. The Red Riots are coming off a hard-fought 35-28 win at Gorham, which clinched the program’s first playoff berth since 2002.
Scarborough will look to finish 7-1 and possibly earn a home postseason game when it plays host to Kennebunk in its finale Friday. The Red Storm held off host Marshwood in yet another rainy affair last Friday, 27-14.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth hopes to bounce back from an agonizing loss when it plays host to Lake Region. The Capers twice rallied at Greely Saturday, but ultimately fell in double overtime, 21-14.
Back to the postseason
The proud and storied South Portland program won four Class A championships in the 1990s, but this decade has not been kind to the Red Riots. South Portland’s resurgence began a year ago when they fell mere Crabtree Points shy of the playoffs. This season, the Red Riots opened with a home win over defending state champion Windham and have been solid most of the way. South Portland took a 3-3 mark to Gorham Saturday in a game postponed 24 hours by rain.
It proved to be a back-and-forth slugfest. The Red Riots led 7-6 after one period on a TD run from junior Jacob Stanley. It was 21-20 South Portland at the half, thanks to two more Stanley scoring runs. A fourth Stanley TD run and a long pass from junior Michael Salvatore to junior Dan Medici made it 35-20, but Gorham made things interesting with a late score and two-point conversion before the Red Riots held on for the 35-28 victory to improve to 4-3.
South Portland closes at home against 2-5 Portland, which is still clinging to faint playoff hopes. Last year, the Red Riots lost in the waning seconds at the Bulldogs, 36-33, and missed the postseason.
Scarborough won the 2002 Class B championship, then moved up to Class A and was a non-factor for seven seasons. That’s all changed in 2010 as the Red Storm have become one of the feel-good stories of the year.
At Marshwood, sophomore quarterback Dillon Russo threw first half TD passes to senior Kyle Kelley, junior Scott Thibeault and junior Conor McCann for a 21-0 lead at the break. A TD run from senior Dennis Liu in the third period made it 27-0 and Scarborough went on to a 27-14 victory to improve to 6-1.
The Red Storm are hoping to earn a home playoff game. They close the regular season at 2-5 Kennebunk. Last year, Scarborough rallied to beat the visiting Rams, 28-26, for its lone win.
Cape Elizabeth is the defending Western B champion, but the Capers haven’t had an easy time of it in 2010. After losing at Wells, Cape Elizabeth went to Greely Saturday for a defensive struggle.
Neither team scored in the first three quarters as they combined for less than 100 yards in that span. The Rangers finally broke the ice with 8 minutes to go on a 4-yard TD run from sophomore Svenn Jacobson. The Capers rallied late and drew even on a 2-yard fourth down run from junior quarterback Derek Roberts. In the first overtime, Jacobson scored on another TD run, but again Cape Elizabeth answered, as senior Jack McDonald scored on a 1-yard run, sending the game to a second OT. There, Greely went ahead for good on a TD pass. The Capers couldn’t answer as Roberts’ pass was intercepted and they fell to 5-2 on the season with the 21-14 loss.
“The tight end was open if (Derek) would have just zinged it in there, instead he floated it,” lamented Capers coach Aaron Filieo.
The Capers had just 91 yards of offense, committed one turnover and were flagged five times for 44 yards.
“We can’t just decide to play and execute late in the fourth quarter,” Filieo said. “We’ve done that a couple times this year. It’s just frustrating when we show that type of heart and resiliency at the very end. We need it from beginning to end. That’s been a problem this year. We weren’t sustaining blocks. Opportunities were eradicated pretty quick. Greely has some studs up front and they have some tough runners. They were the difference tonight for sure.”
Cape Elizabeth hosts 2-5 Lake Region Friday (the Capers won, 48-0, at the Lakers a year ago), then closes at undefeated Mountain Valley. The Capers would be the fourth and final playoff team if the season ended today.
“We have to win our last two games, that’s what we’re looking at,” said Filieo. “Mountain Valley to end the season will be a true test of how far we’ve come and where we want to go.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cape Elizabeth senior Jack Barber looks for some running room Saturday night during the Capers’ 21-14 double-overtime loss at Greely.