Last week of regular season has arrived-Portland edition

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Waynflete’s Blythe Thompson runs at last week’s Western Maine Conference cross country championship meet. Thompson was 16th individually and the Flyers were fourth as a team in Division II.

Portland’s Ben Trefethen tries to break a tackle during the Bulldogs’ 17-14 win at Oxford Hills Friday night.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Oxford Hills football and Portland-South Portland and Waynflete-Yarmouth boys’ soccer game stories, see theforecaster.net)

The curtain has lifted on the field hockey playoffs (see story) and the rest of the fall sports are winding up their regular seasons as this edition goes to press.

The intensity is about to rise and memories are sure to be made.

Here’s an overview of what local teams have accomplished and what they have to look forward to in the days to come.

Golf

The golf season concluded last Saturday with the individual championships in the rain at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.

In Class A boys’ competition, won by Mt. Ararat’s Caleb Manuel, who shot an 18-hole round of 69, Cheverus’ Tom Higgins (76) tied Scarborough’s Ethan Mason for fifth place, Deering’s Bennett Berg (87) tied Lawrence’s Matt Brown for 19th and Portland’s Cooper Bay (88) tied Edward Little’s Colin Merritt for 21st.

Football

Portland’s football team passed a huge test Friday night at Oxford Hills in a battle of the top two teams in Class A North, winning, 17-14, a victory which moved the Bulldogs into the top spot in the Heal Points standings at 6-1.

After forcing a three-and-out to start the game, Portland’s first offensive possession resulted in a 16-play drive which chewed up nine minutes and ended with a 1-yard dive by quarterback Sam Knop for a 7-0 lead. The Vikings scored two long touchdowns to go on top, 14-7, but after the Bulldogs’ defense twice came up big after the offense turned the ball over, Portland got a 48-yard run from Zack Elowitch to set up a 20-yard field goal from Christo Vumpa as time expired in the first half to cut the deficit to 14-10.

The Bulldogs then went on top to stay in the third quarter, this time using 17 plays and 9:33 to march for the go-ahead score, as Knop scored on a 5-yard bootleg run and a 17-14 lead. Portland’s defense held the fort from there and the statement win of the season was in the books.

“Momentum was the biggest thing in this game,” Knop said. “Whoever gained momentum would roll over the other team. It was hard to get, but be we came out and got the final push. We had grit. You can’t beat winning a game like this.”

“We knew it was going to be a huge game,” said Elowitch, who ran 34 times for 169 yards. “We knew we had to come out here, play hard and limit our mistakes and get the ‘W.’ This is a signature win. When you win a game like this, it’s a lot of fun.”

The Bulldogs close at home versus 1-6 South Portland Friday in the “Battle of the Bridge.” A victory means that the road to the Class A title goes through Portland.

“This was a statement win, but we still have a lot of discipline to clean up,” Bulldogs coach Jim Hartman said. “South Portland will be a big game. It’s a lot easier to get to the state game playing at home.”

Cheverus improved to 5-2 and third in Class A North with a 48-6 home win over Windham. The Stags surrendered the game’s first points, then raced to a 28-6 halftime lead before putting it away in the second half. Cheverus closes at 1-6 Bangor Friday night.

In Class A South, Deering fell to 2-5 and fifth in the region following a 60-26 loss at Sanford. The game was tied, 6-6, after one quarter, but the Spartans erupted for a 33-12 halftime lead. Sanford was up, 47-18, after three periods, then pulled away for its fifth consecutive victory. The Rams close at 1-5 Massabesic Friday.

The football playoffs begin with the quarterfinals, on the fields of the higher seeds, Oct. 26-27.

Boys’ soccer

Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team began the week in first place in the Class C South Heal Points standings with a 10-0-3 record following a 9-0 home win over Wells, a 2-0 victory at St. Dom’s and a 1-1 draw at four-time defending Class B state champion Yarmouth last week. In the win over the Warriors, Joey Ansel-Mullen had three goals and Oliver Burdick, Diraige Dahia, Askar Houssein, Ben Lualdi, Burr Rhoads and Pat Shaw each added one. Ansel-Mullen, Dahia, Houssein and Shaw all scored against the Saints. In the tie, the Clippers scored with 12 seconds left in the first half, but with 22:47 left in regulation, Ben Adey scored off a corner kick to force overtime, where neither team could score.

“We were resilient and kept fighting and the guys played really hard,” said Waynflete coach Brandon Salway. “A result is a bonus. This is something to build on. These kinds of games are good for us.”

The Flyers closed at home versus York Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story). A victory could allow Waynflete to hold off Hall-Dale and Maranacook for coveted homefield advantage. The Flyers will host a quarterfinal round playoff game next week.

In Class A South, Portland is putting it together at the right time, extending its win streak to five games last week by downing host South Portland (1-0), visiting Scarborough (6-1) and visiting Westbrook (9-1). Against the Red Riots, Henry Westphal scored a first half goal and the Bulldogs made it hold up.

“We’ve talked about coming together as a team and being a band of brothers,” Westphal said. “We just have to keep playing our game. If we do that, we’ll be pretty strong.”

“It was a great game,” said longtime Portland coach Rocco Frenzilli. “Two evenly-matched teams. We just wanted to play strong defensively, try to lock it down and see what happened. I’m happy for the kids. They worked hard.”

In the Bulldogs’ biggest-ever victory over the Red Storm (and just their fifth ever in 21 tries), Alex Millones, Eric Mukwa, Gracien Mukwa, Gabriel Panzo, Keto Tchiputo and Anselmo Tela all scored. Against the Blue Blazes, Pedro Fonseca, Mwandja Kaluta, Cyrus MacCachran, John Moran, Gracien Mukwa, Millones, Tchiputo, Tela and Vumpa tickled the twine. Portland (7-3-3 and fourth in the Class A South Heals) closed at Thornton Academy Tuesday. The Bulldogs will likely earn a bye and host a quarterfinal next week.

Cheverus was 8-3-2 and second in the region at press time following a 1-0 loss at Thornton Academy, a 1-1 home tie versus Gorham and a 5-0 setback at South Portland. Harrison Bell made five saves against the Golden Trojans. In the draw, James Shimansky had the goal. Bell stopped six shots in the loss to the Red Riots. The Stags closed at Biddeford Tuesday, then will have a bye into the quarterfinals and will host a game next week.

Deering began the week 4-7-2 and was clinging to the 12th and final playoff spot in Class A South entering its finale at home Monday versus Marshwood. Last week, the Rams lost at home to Sanford, 2-0, and played host Westbrook to a 1-1 draw. Mohamed Abdurahman had the goal and Max Morrione made eight saves versus the Blue Blazes. If Deering can qualify for the playoffs for the eighth year in a row, it will travel for a preliminary round game Friday.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Cheverus and Portland began the week playoff-bound, while Deering and Waynflete were on the outside looking in.

The Stags improved to 11-2 and fifth in Class A South with a 4-2 win at Sanford last Wednesday. Emma Gallant scored two goals and Lauren Jordan and Riley O’Mara had one apiece. Cheverus closed at home versus Noble Tuesday, then will either host a preliminary round playoff game Saturday, or a quarterfinal round contest next week depending if it finishes fourth or fifth in the region.

Portland was 7-5-1 and ninth in Class A South following a 1-0 home loss to Bonny Eagle and a 2-0 win at Deering. In the victory, Annika More and Tori Stevenson scored. The Bulldogs hosted Biddeford in the finale Tuesday and will likely have to travel for a prelim Saturday.

Deering fell to 2-11 and 14th in Class A South (where just 12 teams qualify for the playoffs) following a 2-1 setback at Kennebunk and a 2-0 home loss to Portland. The Rams closed at home versus South Portland Tuesday. Deering projects to miss the playoffs for the third year in a row.

Waynflete was 4-9 and 14th in Class C South at press time (only 11 teams qualify) after a 5-1 home win over Old Orchard Beach and a 2-1 victory at Fryeburg Academy last week. Against the Seagulls, Kilee Sherry had two goals, while Abby Aleshire, Clara Sandberg and Devan Sherry added one apiece. Sandberg and Devan Sherry had the goals in the win over the Raiders. The Flyers closed at home versus St. Dom’s Monday. Waynflete projects to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1991.

Volleyball

Deering and Cheverus’ volleyball teams will take part in the postseason.

The Rams were 8-5 and fifth in Class A at press time after a five-set (19-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-17, 10-25) loss at Biddeford and a 3-0 home loss to Falmouth and former coach Larry Nichols. Deering closed at Brunswick/Mt. Ararat Tuesday and will likely host a state quarterfinal Saturday.

Cheverus improved to 7-6 and seventh in Class A after a five-set (25-20, 18-25, 29-27, 21-25, 15-0) victory at Kennebunk and a straight-set (25-19, 25-8, 25-16) home win over Cony last week. Liza Rogers had eight aces to close out the victory over Kennebunk. In the win over Cony, Rogers had nine aces and 11 kills, Mary Jerome added nine kills and Emma White finished with six kills.

“The team has time and again proven the importance of teamwork and grit,” said Cheverus first-year coach Andy Wimmer. “We have gone to five sets in five matches this year and won four of the five. The team never gives up and despite constant adversity with injuries and personnel issues, we have continued to adapt to and overcome all of the adversity that we have faced this season.

“Our focus the entire season has been to continuously get better and improve in order to be playing our best volleyball at the end of the season heading into playoffs. In light of last year’s record (2-12), it would be easy to say that we have exceeded expectations. That being said, I feel that although we are not a deep team, with only 10 players, and eight that play regularly, we have a group that can compete with the top teams in the league.

“We continue to be paced by our senior captains, Maddie Geiger and Mary Jerome, who lead the offense and defense from the outside hitter position. The improved play of Maddie Williams and Liza Rogers, as setter and opposite, have elevated our team’s overall ability, while the continued consistency of libero Jenna Booth and middle blocker Emma White have been huge boosts to the team’s success.”

The Stags closed at home versus Portland Tuesday, then will likely host a preliminary round playoff match Thursday.

Portland took a 2-11 record and the No. 13 ranking in Class A (where 10 teams qualify) into Tuesday’s finale at Cheverus following a straight-set (20-25, 16-25, 20-25) loss to visiting Scarborough and a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-7) home win over Massabesic last week. Elsa DiGiovanni had 15 digs in the loss to the Red Storm. Iliyana Hunter had eight digs, Jill Joyce finished with six kills and Reagan Brown added four kills in the victory.

Cross country

Waynflete took part in the Western Maine Conference cross country championship meet Friday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. In the Division II girls’ meet, Waynflete was fourth (Wells came in first). Anna Wildes was the top Flyers individual (who was ninth on the five-kilometer course in 22 minutes, 57 seconds). In the boys’ race, also won by Wells, Waynflete came in fifth. Henry Spritz was second individually (17:52).

Next up is the regional championship meet Saturday at Twin Brook Recreational Center in Cumberland. The Class A boys run at 11 a.m., the Class A girls at 11:45 a.m., the Class C boys at 2 p.m. and the Class C girls at 2:45 p.m.

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.