An autumn of triumph and thrills
Maybe it's hyperbole or being lost in the moment, but it's quite likely that the autumn of 2013 brought more high school sports drama to Forecaster Country than any in memory.
Great games, scintillating individual performances and compelling themes were too numerous to count, but here's an effort to do so.
As you'll see from the accompanying story, Cheverus' football team enjoyed another dominant season, falling just three points shy of Class A championship, squeaking past a very good Portland squad in the regional final en route.
Soccer produced its share of thrills.
The Waynflete girls repeated as Class C champions, rallying and going two overtimes to do so. Cheverus, Deering and Portland also made the playoffs, while McAuley barely missed out.
On the boys' side, Portland made a stirring run to the Western A Final. Cheverus, Deering and Waynflete all had very good teams, but each was ousted in painful fashion in their respective quarterfinals.
Cheverus' field hockey team did better than expected, kept its postseason streak alive and was one of the most fun teams to watch, even though Marshwood ended the Stags' title dreams in the quarterfinals. Cheverus was the lone city squad to reach the playoffs.
Cross country saw several individuals and teams turn heads at the regional and state meets, with a runner from Waynflete stealing the biggest headline.
Golf saw Deering make a surprise visit to the state match.
Last, but not least, Cheverus' second-year volleyball team made the playoffs.
Like it or not, it's time to move on to winter sports, but first, here's one last look at the champions and top stories of the 2013 fall season.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Parade of champions
Waynflete girls' soccer (Class C)
Cheverus football (Eastern A)
Waynflete girls' cross country (Western C)
Michael's Top 5 stories
5) Deering golf a pleasant surprise
Entering the 2013 season, there were absolutely zero expectations around the Deering golf program and even longtime coach Billy Goodman didn't think his team would win a single match, but instead, a young core came of age quickly and the Rams wound up not only winning four times, but stunned the conference field by qualifying for the state match, where they wound up tying for ninth in Class A. Even better, senior standout Will Barlock made the state match as an individual, putting the punctuation mark on a much better than anticipated season.
4) Sofia times two
Waynflete senior Sofia Canning played a key role in Waynflete's girls' soccer team repeating as Class C state champion (see item number one), but she really showed the local sports world just how special an athlete she is when she ran at the regional cross country meet and didn't just run well, but leave everyone in her wake. Canning won the Western C girls' race and helped the Flyers to a first place finish. Canning hoped to make a run at a state title as well, but Waynflete's semifinal round soccer game, scheduled for the day before, was postponed by rain and she wound up playing that sport instead the day of the state meet. It's fun to consider just how well she would have done and the guess here is that she would have stolen headlines again.
3) Bulldog revival
Portland's boys' soccer team wasn't viewed as a top contender when the season began, but it didn't take long for the Bulldogs to make noise. On Sept. 10, Portland went to defending Class A champion Scarborough and beat the Red Storm for the first time in a regular season meeting, 1-0, to set the tone for what would be a tremendous 10-2-2 campaign. The Bulldogs then beat longtime powerhouse Falmouth in a first-ever playoff encounter in the quarterfinals, then avenged a regular season loss by edging Noble, 1-0, in the semis. In just its second regional final this century, Portland had to go back to Scarborough and this time, the Bulldogs didn't have the answers, falling, 4-0, but that hardly detracted from what was a memorable run.
2) Cheverus football just misses gold
Last fall, Cheverus' football juggernaut saw its state record 34-game win streak and two-year reign atop Class A come to a close with a loss to Thornton Academy in the regional final, but this fall, relegated to Eastern A, the Stags returned to their nonpareil form. Cheverus won all eight regular season games, seven by blowout margins, then handled Bangor and Portland to get back to the state final. There, the Stags' dream of another championship was denied by Bonny Eagle in an instant classic, but 44 wins in 46 games can't be overlooked.
1) Repeat for Waynflete
Waynflete's girls' soccer team managed to go back-to-back as Class C champion, not exactly a surprise considering how title-laden the roster proved to be. Led by senior Leigh Fernandez, who has now won a state championship in every season dating back to her sophomore winter basketball campaign, the Flyers had a strong 10-2-2 regular season, easily won a prelim, then survived Wiscasset in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. Waynflete then ousted top-ranked St. Dom's, outlasted Sacopee and in the state final, erased an early 2-0 deficit to prevail, 3-2, on a goal from sophomore Esme Benson in the second overtime. With a young and talented core returning, there's probably more hardware in store for this group.