Many memories made this fall
It came and went in a flash, but the fall sports season, circa 2012, was once again a great one in Forecaster Country.
On the gridiron, a longtime state record fell to Cheverus, which extended its win streak to 34 games before finally being dethroned. Portland made it to the semifinals for the first time since 2005 and Deering qualified for the postseason for the 11th time in 12 seasons.
On the pitch, the Waynflete girls made a thrilling run to their second Class C state title. Cheverus and Deering also made it to the postseason, winning some exciting games along the way.
On the boys' side, Waynflete wasn't able to defend its title, but got back to the regional final before being eliminated on penalty kicks. Portland overcame all sorts of early difficulties to reach the postseason for the 13th straight year. Deering ousted Cheverus on penalty kicks in the preliminary round, then saw its fine season end on PKs at Kennebunk in the quarterfinals.
Field hockey saw Cheverus get back to the regional final, Deering making the playoffs after a two-year absence and Waynflete hosting a postseason game for the first time.
Several local runners and teams made it to the state meet and the Cheverus girls qualified for the New England championships.
Cheverus' golf team got to the state match, where it came in third. Several individuals also qualified for states.
Last, but not least, Cheverus' first-year volleyball team was very competitive.
It was a fine season indeed, so before we go inside and enjoy what winter sports have to offer, here's one final look back at the highlights of autumn:
Fall 2012 state champion
Waynflete girls' soccer, Class C
Michael's top five stories
5) Three field hockey teams reach playoffs
It was a good year for field hockey in Forecaster Country as Waynflete posted its best record since the Carter Administration and hosted a playoff game for the first time in program history, Deering snapped a three-year postseason absence and Cheverus once again put a superb team on the field, going 13-1 in the regular season and making it all the way to the Western A Final before finally losing to Scarborough.
4) Portland boys' soccer overcomes
The Portland boys' soccer team had won just twice in its first 10 games (actually the Bulldogs won three times, but had to forfeit one for playing an ineligible student-athlete) and was 2-7-1 in early October, but somehow righted the ship, winning its last four regular season games to earn a playoff berth. Then, the Bulldogs upset defending champion Windham in the preliminary round to improbably keep their season alive for a couple more days. The run finally ended with a quarterfinal round loss to eventual state champion Scarborough, but longtime coach Rocky Frenzilli and his staff did a commendable job keeping the players focused and the leadership of seniors Tim Rovnak and Chip Weber helped Portland to a memorable finish.
3) Portland football returns to prominence
After qualifying for the playoffs just once in five seasons, Portland's football team turned things around this fall. Under new coach Jim Hartman and thanks to contributions from several key players, the Bulldogs started 4-1, then ensured themselves a postseason bid with a thrilling 25-20 come-from-behind win over Scarborough Oct. 12. Portland was upset in the "Battle of the Bridge" at South Portland, but still earned the No. 5 seed for the playoffs. The Bulldogs pulled away late to beat Windham, 35-21, in the quarterfinals, their first postseason victory since 2005. The run ended with a 35-7 loss at two-time defending state champion Cheverus in the semis, but Portland is back on the map and is primed to be even better in 2013.
2) Record setting Stags
While the Cheverus football team wasn't able to make it three straight Class A state championships, the Stags did etch their name into the record books. Cheverus tied South Portland's record for 31 consecutive Class A victories Oct. 13 with a inspirational 28-14 win at Thornton Academy, dubbed by some as the "Game of the Century." Adding a little intrigue to the mark, Cheverus coach John Wolfgram was the Red Riots' coach back in the 1990s when the record was set. The following week, the Stags set a new standard with a 21-0 home win over Deering. Playoff victories over Deering and Portland extended the streak to 34, but in the regional final, Cheverus lost the rematch to Thornton Academy, 20-13. It's unlikely you'll see any team approach that consecutive wins record anytime soon.
1) Flyers soar to top of Class C
When Waynflete's girls' soccer team lost to Cape Elizabeth, 6-0, in the regular season finale, a state title didn't look like a likely outcome for the Flyers, but a couple weeks later, they were raising a Gold Ball. After an 8-2-4 regular season, Waynflete embarked on a palpitating playoff run. After edging Wiscasset, 2-1, in the quarterfinals, the Flyers erupted for four second half goals to upset top-ranked Lisbon, 4-0, in the semis. Thanks to mindboggling saves from sophomore goalkeeper Juliana Harwood and an overtime goal from senior Sadie Cole, Waynflete survived St. Dom's in the regional final and avenged last year's playoff ouster. That left only Fort Kent as an obstacle in the regional final and the Flyers found themselves down 2-1 midway through the second half before rising off the deck once more. This time, freshman Arianna Giguere delivered the tying tally and moments later, senior Isabel Agnew was credited with the go-ahead strike. Waynflete went on for a 3-2 victory, its first Class C championship in four seasons.