Playofff thrills, heartbreak continue-Portland edition

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Cheverus’ Mia Kratzer gets away from a Falmouth defender during the Stags’ 6-0 win in last week’s Class A South quarterfinal.

Waynflete’s Pat Shaw handles the ball during last week’s 4-0 win over Sacopee Valley in a Class C South quarterfinal. 

(Ed. Note: For the complete Waynflete-Sacopee Valley and Waynflete-Mt. Abram boys’ soccer game stories, see theforecaster.net)

The number of remaining football and soccer teams continues to dwindle, but a few city squads still entertained championship dreams when a new week dawned.

Here’s a look at last week’s postseason action and a look at what’s coming up:

Football

Cheverus and Deering opened the football playoffs with quarterfinal round games Friday night.

The Stags, ranked third in Class A South, hosted No. 6 Bangor in a Class A North quarterfinal, in a game moved to Deering’s turf field due to bad weather. Cheverus fell behind, 6-0, early, then went on top to stay when Teigan Lindstedt scored on a touchdown run. A 68-yard Sean Tompkins TD scamper made it 13-6 Stags at the half. After quarterback Marc Reali hit Akera Oryem for a touchdown pass, Lindstedt scored again on the ground for a 26-6 advantage after three quarters. Greyden Lindstedt added a TD run in the fourth period and Cheverus closed out its victory.

The 7-2 Stags travel to No. 2 Oxford Hills (6-2) for the semifinal round Friday night. On Sept. 29, the Vikings beat host Cheverus, 42-14. The teams have no playoff history.

Deering, the No. 5 seed in Class A South, wasn’t as fortunate in its quarterfinal at fourth-seeded Sanford despite a valiant effort. The Rams took a 7-0 lead after one quarter on a 3-yard touchdown pass from James Opio to Mike Randall, but the next 21 points went to the Spartans. A 22-yard Opio-to-Randall scoring pass cut the deficit to 21-13 at the half, but Sanford opened the third quarter with a score to extend its lead to 14. A 62-yard Travis Soule TD run pulled Deering within 27-21, but that’s as close as the Rams would get as the Spartans added two more scores to end Deering’s season at 3-6. 

“I have had the pleasure of coaching some great teams and great players over many years, but this team was very special,” said Rams first-year coach Rob Susi. “The fact is that we had two returning players on offense and only three on defense, so we had a lot of new starters, trying to learn a new offense and a new defense, with a new set of coaches. What was so amazing to me was that they worked so very hard to learn all of it and some of them needed to play multiple positions on both sides of the ball.

“When injuries struck us early, we had to have kids play in other spots and more than they probably should have. We did not have the option to start the same 11 on offense nor defense or the kids we deemed as ‘starters’ from the Cheverus scrimmage on Aug. 24 until week eight, but never did these kids lose heart nor stop battling. They overcame adversity at every turn and went from a team that was picked in the preseason to finish dead last without a win, to the number five seed in the very competitive Class A South. That was such a huge accomplishment by these young men and one that they should be very proud of.

“We can’t start looking at next year quite yet, as we have a date with a very good, very well-coached Portland team on Thanksgiving Day and it is hard to think about next year with some uncertainty in the re-alignment and numbers. Part of the problem moving forward is the low numbers of Middle School kids playing football. The city of Portland needs to get young Middle School players involved in football. With the great coaching staff that we have, along with strong team leadership from our returning players and the support of Principal Gregg Palmer and AD Mel Craig the future looks very bright for Deering football.”

Portland, the top seed in Class A North, earned a bye into the semifinals where it will host No. 4 Edward Little (5-4) Friday at 6 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium. On Sept. 28, the host Bulldogs handled the Red Eddies, 42-8. The teams have met just once prior in the playoffs and it’s a game Portland won’t soon forget, a 41-6 victory in the 2002 Class A state final.

Boys’ soccer

Portland and Waynflete’s boys’ soccer teams each advanced to the regional final round.

The Flyers, ranked first in Class C South, advanced with wins over No. 9 Sacopee Valley (4-0) in the quarterfinals and fourth-ranked Mt. Abram (2-0) in the semifinals. Against the Hawks, Askar Houssein had a goal early and Diraige Dahia, Oliver Burdick and Ian McClure-Chute scored in the second half.

“They gave me a little too much space, I think,” Houssein said, of his goal. “It went where I was looking. It was important to get that lead.”

“We always go 100 percent in practice, so I felt like we were ready,” said Dahia.

“I could sense the last couple days that the guys respected Sacopee and knew they’d had a great second half of their season, so I wasn’t concerned at all about our focus,” added longtime Flyers coach Brandon Salway. 

Against the Roadrunners, Aidan Kieffer and Houssein had the goals and Waynflete’s defense didn’t surrender a single shot on frame.

“It was really important to get that (first) goal,” Kieffer said. “We came out flat and that woke us up and we started playing our game.”

“If we play hard and play our game, literally no one has been able to beat us,” Waynflete back Miles Lipton said. “If we continue to do that, I think we’ve got a chance.”

“I thought we were a little uneven to start,” added Salway. “Maybe there were some nerves. The goal woke us up. Then we moved the ball well.”

The Flyers (13-0-3) advanced to host No. 3 Marancook (14-2) in the regional final Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (see theforecaster.net for game story). The teams didn’t play this fall. Waynflete is 0-2 all-time in the playoffs vs. Maranacook, falling in the 2014 Western C semifinals (4-1) and in last year’s Class C South semifinals (2-1, in double-overtime).

If the Flyers make it to the Class C state final for the first time since 2015, they’ll battle either Fort Kent (13-2-1) or Orono (12-4) Saturday at 12:30 p.m., in Hampden. Waynflete has no postseason history with either potential foe.

In Class A South, third-seeded Portland reached the regional final for the third year in a row after blanking No. 6 Kennebunk, 3-0, in the quarterfinals and outlasting seventh-seeded Marshwood, 2-1, in overtime, in the semifinal round. Against the Rams, where Portland avenged a regular season loss, Anselmo Tela scored 13 seconds into the contest and Gracien Mukwa and Keto Tchiputo added goals. In the victory over the Hawks, Tela scored in the first half and Max Cheever scored the game-winner in OT.

The Bulldogs (10-3-3) advanced to visit top-ranked Gorham (15-0-1) for the third year in a row in the Class A South Final, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The Rams took the regular season meeting, 3-1, Sept. 8 in Gorham. The teams have split four prior playoff meetings with Portland taking last year’s regional final, 2-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks).

If the Bulldogs reach the Class A state final for the second year in a row, they will battle either defending champion Lewiston (14-0-2) or Mt. Ararat (13-2-1) Saturday at 12:30 p.m., in Bath. Portland didn’t face either team this fall. The Bulldogs lost last year’s state final, 1-0, in overtime, to the Blue Devils. Portland lost the 1994 state game to the Eagles, 1-0.

Cheverus wasn’t as fortunate.

The fourth-ranked Stags, survived the Class A South quarterfinals with a marathon penalty kicks victory over No. 5 South Portland (6-5 in two rounds after 110 minutes of regulation and overtime couldn’t produce a goal). Stags goalkeeper Harrison Bell made a pair of huge saves in the penalty kick rounds, then scored the decisive kick to allow his team to advance.

“We knew it was going to be a tough draw but I think we relished the challenge,” said Cheverus coach Matt Andreasen.

The Stags then went to top-ranked Gorham for the semifinals and lost, 2-0, to finish 10-4-2. Bell made nine saves.

“As a whole, we’re all very proud of what we accomplished this season,” said Cheverus coach Matt Andreasen. “Coming into the year, we had hopes of making a deep playoff run and although we’re all disappointed that we fell short of the regional final, we can still hold our heads up high knowing that we’ve gone from four wins and completely missing the tournament two season ago to winning 10 games and making a regional semifinal this fall.

“Our senior class is very special to me and they really spearheaded that progress over the past three seasons. We’ll miss them very much next year.

“We should be young next fall, but we have a large freshmen class, so hopefully we can get our numbers up over the next few seasons and be ready to make another run in a few years’ time. Having Harrison back in net sure helps.”

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Cheverus advanced to the regional final for the first time since 2005.

The Stags, ranked third in Class A South, had no trouble with No. 6 Falmouth in the quarterfinals, winning, 6-0. Emma Gallant and Julia Kratzer both scored twice and Lauren Jordan and Mia Kratzer had one goal apiece.

“Through the season we’ve become pretty good about not getting too relaxed with one goal,” Gallant said. “We like to bring it home.”

“There’s a lot of parity this year and any team can be beaten on any given day,” said Cheverus coach Craig Roberts. “There’s just less room for error. We have to play like we did today and minimize even the mistakes that we made today to have a shot.

In the semifinals, the Stags went to No. 2 Gorham and upset the Rams for the second straight year, winning, 2-0, as Gallant and Jordan had the goals.

“(Gorham’s) a good team,” said Jordan. “Every game, we have to bring our ‘A’ game. We always go hard against them.”

“We talked about playing on the road, needing to set the tone early and except for a little lull in the first half, we played hard,” Roberts said. “We’ve been fortunate the last two games, our best players have played best when it mattered most. I think that’s a sign of maturity and leadership, and they’re going to have to do it again.”

Cheverus (14-2) advanced to play at top-ranked Scarborough (16-0), the defending regional champion, in the Class A South Final Wednesday at 5 p.m. The Stags lost, 3-1, at home to the Red Storm Oct. 5. Scarborough has won all four prior playoff meetings, with a 1-0 victory in last year’s semifinals the most recent.

If Cheverus advances to the Class A state final for the first time in program history, it will battle either defending champion Camden Hills (16-0) or Messalonskee (15-1) Saturday at 10 a.m., in Bath. The Stags have no history with either potential foe.

Press Herald staff writers Steve Craig, Glenn Jordan and Mike Lowe contributed to this story.

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.