Cheverus on the brink of history; Deering wins again, Portland blanked
(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Bonny Eagle game story, please visit theforecaster.net)
Now, Cheverus can join the rest of the local football world and look ahead to Thornton Academy.
The Stags set up the most highly anticipated regular season football game in memory by holding off a scare from visiting Bonny Eagle Saturday afternoon, 21-7.
Cheverus will take a 6-0 record and a 30-game win streak to Saco to face the 6-0 Golden Trojans Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The Stags hadn't really been tested at all this fall prior to hosting the proud Scots.
Cheverus struggled to finish drives in the first half and after taking an early lead on a Liam Fitzpatrick to Ryan Casale touchdown pass, gave up a 98-yard TD pass (just the second score allowed by the first string defense all season) to find itself tied, 7-7, late in the second quarter. The Stags, playing without injured fullback Brent Green, circled the wagons and took the lead for good when Fitzpatrick hit Casale for a 22-yard touchdown pass. They extended their lead in the third period on another Fitzpatrick-to-Casale TD pass, but the win wasn't sealed until a Cheverus defensive stand in the fourth period allowed it to hold on for a 21-7 victory, the Stags' closest call in almost a year.
"It was the first test we've had all year," said Casale, who caught three touchdown passes and also played a key role on defense. "I thought our team showed good character, we played tough and came out with a win. That's the first game I've played all four quarters."
"It was a battle," Cheverus coach John Wolfgram said. "(Bonny Eagle's) a very physical football team. Kevin (Cooper's) a great coach. They tested us with the things they did. I think we made plays when we had to and we were physical enough when we had to be. We showed character to prevail in the second half. I thought we responded well. We played hard. We shut them down pretty well. No question, it's an important win for us. We played with a lot of character and made plays on both sides of the ball when we had to. The new kids who stepped in did a nice job overall."
Looking ahead to Saturday (and if you're planning on attending, get there early) Cheverus (first in the Western Class A Crabtree Points standings), which pointedly avoided discussion of the impending showdown (and has ignored mention of its win streak altogether) until the Bonny Eagle win was in the books, is nothing but respectful toward the Golden Trojans, whom they beat, 21-10, in last year's Western A Final.
"I didn't even know we played TA next until you told me," said Casale. "It should be a good game. We'll have a hard week of practice, watch film and we have to come out to play. If we don't come out to play, that could be the deciding factor. Whoever comes to play will win."
"I think (Thornton Academy is) a very good football team," said Wolfgram, who holds the previous win streak record as the coach of South Portland in the 1990s. "We have our work cut out for us. It should be a great game. Two 6-0 teams. They're a veteran team. They have good skill people. It'll be a good test for us. We'll have to pick up the pieces to see where we are and come up with something next week."
The Stags close the regular year at home against Deering Oct. 20.
Speaking of the Rams, they're hitting their stride at the right time. After getting in the win column with a victory over visiting Biddeford, Deering went to dangerous Noble Friday night and outslugged the Knights, 45-32.
The Rams are now 2-4 and eighth in the Western A Crabtrees (which would give them the final playoff spot if the regular season ended today). Deering looks to make it three straight Friday night when it hosts 1-5 South Portland. The teams didn't meet last season. The Rams close the regular season Oct. 20 at Cheverus.
Portland hit a bump in the road Friday night at Waterhouse Field with a 12-0 loss at Biddeford. The Bulldogs fell to 4-2 on the season. They're fourth in the Western A Crabtrees and have a big test Friday night when they play their home finale versus 5-1 Scarborough. The teams didn't play last year. Portland closes the regular season Oct. 20 at South Portland in the "Battle of the Bridge."