Scarborough back on track after bruising Bangor
SCARBOROUGH—Now that's more like it.
The high-powered, close-to-unstoppable Red Storm attack that was absent last week at Sanford, came to life with a vengeance in its home opener Friday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex.
Facing longtime power Bangor for the first time in program history, Scarborough's multi-dimensional attack wore down the Rams, as senior quarterback Ben Greenberg directed a potent attack, throwing for 158 yards, and also led a ground game which produced 283 yards.
The Red Storm took the lead for good on senior Dan LeClair's touchdown in the first period, added a scoring run from senior Kenny Adams to go up, 13-0, at halftime, then broke it open in the third quarter, as Greenberg hit Adams for a long TD and senior Chris Cyr scored on a run. A second LeClair scoring run in the fourth quarter all but put it away and Scarborough cruised to a 34-7 victory, evening its record 1-1, doing the same to Bangor.
"It was a rough week after starting that way, but I told the kids you don't win or lose the Gold Ball in week one," said Red Storm coach Lance Johnson. "We went back to work and put in effort. We simplified the gameplan a little bit and put guys where they belong and let them perform."
Bangor, a longtime Eastern A fixture, and Scarborough, still relatively new to Class A, had never met on the gridiron, although the schools have played their share of soccer state finals over the years.
The Rams eked out a 14-13 home win over Edward Little in their opener, while the Red Storm scored first, but sputtered from there in a 21-6 loss at Sanford.
Friday, Scarborough returned to form.
The Red Storm's defense immediately set the tone, forcing a three-and-out (in fact, on Bangor's first four possessions, the Rams managed four yards and not a single first down). Scarborough couldn't do anything with its first possession, but the defense got the ball right back and with 6:51 to go in the first period, the hosts took over at their 32 and proceeded to march 68 yards in 11 plays (chewing up 4:29) to go on top for good.
Runs of 12- and 9-yards by Greenberg moved the ball into Bangor territory. An 18-yard pass from Greenberg to Cyr, in which the quarterback threaded the needle right past a defender, set up a first-and-goal at the 17. A false start penalty backed up the Red Storm five yards, but Greenberg ran for 7, LeClair for 5 and with 2:22 to play in the first, LeClair rambled in from the 3. Senior placekicker Cam Langlois added the point after and Scarborough had a 7-0 lead.
The Red Storm got the ball right back and as the first quarter gave way to the second, it drove 49 yards for another score.
This TD was set up by Adams, who rushed four times for 25 yards on the drive, to get the ball to the 3. There, Adams capped the six-play, 2:22 march with a 3-yard run to the left pylon. Langlois' extra point was blocked, but with 10:14 to go before halftime, Scarborough had a 13-0 advantage.
Bangor didn't manage its initial first down until the midway point of the second quarter, when senior quarterback Xavier Lewis found senior Logan Lanham for a 13-yard pass, but the momentum was short-lived, as on the next play, Lewis' pass was tipped and junior Patrick Shaw outfought a receiver for the ball and the interception.
Both teams had chances late in the half, but couldn't put up points (a Lewis pass to senior Alex Welch went through the receiver's hands in the end zone and Greenberg just missed on a couple long attempts), leaving the score 13-0 at halftime.
The Red Storm outgained the Rams, 186 yards to 58 in the first 24 minutes, but four penalties for 30 yards prevented it from pulling away.
That happened in the third period.
Scarborough got the ball to start the second half and needed just four plays to march 66 yards.
LeClair got it started with three runs for a total of 17 yards, then, from the Bangor 49, Greenberg, perhaps inspired by the presence of his baseball coach, Ryan Jones, on the sidelines, dropped back and launched a perfect rainbow to Adams running free down the left sideline. Adams hauled in the pass and completed the score.
"I felt good," said the strong-armed Greenberg, Maine's reigning Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. "I like throwing the ball. Coach definitely wanted to pound the rock. He said if we could develop the run game, passes would be open and that's what we did."
"Benny's a good athlete," Johnson said. "A great kid. I think he looked more comfortable tonight. We set up the pass with a good running game. We passed on our terms tonight."
Langlois' extra point made it 20-0 Red Storm with 10:44 to go in the third.
Bangor drove into Scarborough territory on its next drive, but a bad exchange resulted in a fumble and Cyr bounced on the loose ball at the Red Storm 42.
Scarborough then drove 58 yards on nine plays, eating up almost five minutes, to essentially end the competitive phase of the contest.
Greenberg moved the ball into Rams' territory with a 10-yard scamper. He later ran for 11 and after a block-in-the-back penalty moved the ball back to the 21, Greenberg hit senior Brendon Smith for 16 yards, setting up a 5-yard TD run by Cyr around the left end. Langlois' PAT pushed the advantage to 27-0 with 2:42 to go in the quarter.
Bangor again moved into Scarborough territory to start the fourth period, but a fumbled exchange resulted in another turnover (senior Ben Garrard had the recovery).
The Red Storm then marched 58 yards on six plays for its final score.
A 32-yard run by Greenberg, in which he broke several tackles, and a 19-yard Greenberg to Smith pass set up a 7-yard TD run by LeClair. With 5:34 remaining, Langlois added the PAT for a 34-0 lead.
On their final possession, the Rams finally got on the board, moving 63 yards on 11 plays in 6:04. Junior Jake Lavoie and sophomore Dane Johnson did much of the work, but it was sophomore Ben Crichton getting the glory with a 5-yard TD run. Sophomore Brennen Corliss added the extra point with 2:46 left.
Scarborough used its second team offense for its final series and junior Zach Carriero made the most of his opportunity (gaining 34 yards on four rushes), helping the Red Storm run out the clock on their 34-7 victory.
"This is more what we're about," Greenberg said. "We played well. We didn't want to underestimate them. We underestimated Sanford. They were big and physical. We knew we had to come out tonight and pound it. It's good to get a win."
"We've put guys back to where we think they could be playing," said Johnson. "We shared the ball in the backfield. Danny ran great. Kenny was a change of speed. Zach Carriero ran well and Ben ran hard. All those guys can run well. We have tight ends who are tough to cover in the middle of the field. We shared the ball and kept the ball going forward.
"It was hard to prep (for Bangor). I wish we'd had more time. When I was (an assistant coach) at Portland, we played Bangor three, four times. I kind of knew what they did. They're physical. I think we matched that up front. I'm proud of how my kids played up front.
"We had some kids playing their first varsity game last week. We played so well against Deering in an exhibition game and I think the kids got cocky and thought it would be easy, but it's not and I think we learned from it."
Scarborough had a 397-166 advantage in total yardage and rushed for 283 yards, led by Greenberg (95 on 12 attempts), LeClair (74, with two TDs, on 15 rushes), Adams (61, with a TD, on 11 attempts) and Carriero (48 on six rushes).
Greenberg completed 7-of-14 passes for 158 yards and a score. Smith had three receptions for 55 yards, Cyr three for 54 and Adams one for a 49-yard TD.
"We knew they'd cover deep and that the flats would be open," said Greenberg. "Having Cyr out there and LeClair and Kenny running the ball, there's not much the defense could do. They played good D in the first half, so it was good to complete a couple."
Scarborough was penalized seven times for 64 yards and committed a turnover, but the Red Storm forced three.
For Bangor, Lavoie had 50 yards rushing on 11 attempts. Lewis rushed for 36 yards on four tries and completed 2-of-13 passes for 21 yards with an interception. Lanham had both receptions. The Rams committed three penalties for 25 yards.
While Bangor returns home to welcome Deering Friday night in a battle of Rams, Scarborough travels to defending Class A champion Thornton Academy in a pivotal early-season showdown.
Not only will it be the first ever night game at Hill Stadium, but it will also be a chance for the Red Storm to avenge not one, but two losses to the Golden Trojans from a season ago, 35-7, in the regular season and 49-14 in the semifinal round of the playoffs.
Scarborough is 0-9 all-time versus Thornton Academy.
The Golden Trojans were the heavy preseason favorite, but a stunning 26-13 Opening Night loss at South Portland, combined with the devastating loss of senior and Fitzpatrick Trophy favorite Andrew Libby to a season-ending knee injury, completely changed the complexion of Western A. Thornton Academy bounced back Friday with a 38-0 victory at Noble, but the Red Storm knows it has a great opportunity in front of it Friday.
"I've never beaten TA," Greenberg said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to next week. They're tough. We'll see what happens."
"They have an excellent program," said Johnson. "We'll check them out on film and get to work. We'll show up and do our best."