Portland beats Deering in 105th Turkey Day showdown

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Portland’s Griffin Foley catches a pass behind Deering’s Mason Kaserman during the Bulldogs’ 41-0 win over the Rams Thanksgiving Day.

Photo courtesy Rachel Morales.

More photos below.

While it wasn’t the win it wanted most, Portland’s football team was mighty pleased to settle for the consolation prize of blanking rival Deering Thanksgiving Day at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The Bulldogs, five days removed from a disappointing second straight loss in the Class A Final, 34-14, to Bonny Eagle, dominated their ancient rival in the 105th annual holiday meeting.

Portland, which finished 9-2 this fall, took a 13-0 halftime lead behind a pair of touchdown runs from Dylan Bolduc. The first score came after a Deering fake punt deep in its territory.

“We should have punted the ball away,” lamented Rams coach Jason Jackson. “A fake wasn’t the call. The punter thought it was going to get blocked, so he ran it.”

“I think it took the kids awhile to get going,” said Portland coach Jim Hartman. “They gradually got into it. The first touchdown helped. That got Dylan going, then we were off to the races.”

The Bulldogs opened it up in the second half, as two more Bolduc TD runs were sandwiched around an interception return for a score by Issiah Bachelder and Jake Knop produced the punctuation mark with a long touchdown run to produce a 41-0 victory.

“It’s always nice to win a game and to beat Deering,” Hartman said. “Both Dylan and Jake had over 100 yards.”

Bolduc scored four touchdowns in his final game and won the Vinnie Allen Trophy, given to Portland’s Outstanding Player.

Bolduc is part of a dynamic and triumphant senior class that went 33-9 over four seasons and will be sorely missed.

“It was a pretty incredible class,” Hartman said. “They won all four Battle of the Bridge and Thanksgiving games and got to two state finals. They were all starters since their sophomore year. They had an impressive record and they’re great, smart young men. It’s a tough class to lose.”

Deering, which went 3-6 this season, losing to Sanford in the Class A South quarterfinals, was led Thursday by Nate Richards, who won the Merv Kilgore Award, as his team’s Outstanding Player, and Raffaele Salamone, who earned the James Banks Unsung Hero Award, which was bestowed by the Portland School Committee.

“This year was tough mentally,” said Jackson. “It was frustrating having that amount of talent but not having things come together. We had injuries and lost players.

“I don’t feel like we’re that far behind Portland. We just didn’t execute and we had a lack of discipline. The first half was a game, but then it was a step forward and three steps back. That’s the story of our season. It was so different from last year.”

The first Portland-Deering Thanksgiving Day meeting came in 1911. The Bulldogs, who have won four straight, now lead the series 58-40 with seven ties.

Prior to the game, there were rumblings about its future, which caused much discussion. 

Both coaches expect that the tradition will continue.

“I think it will stay,” Hartman said. “What form it stays is the question. We’re looking at options like playing Wednesday night instead of Thanksgiving Day. So much of the nostalgia around the game, like pep rallies and a Portland-Deering dance, is gone and that’s taken away from the game.”

“I think the game should continue as long as we get support from the community,” Jackson said. “Technology has hurt it. We used to get 4,000 or 5,000 people, but you can stream it now.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Deering’s Keegan Stanton wraps up Portland’s Vinny Pasquali.

Courtesy Rachel Morales

Portland’s football team celebrates after Thursday’s 41-0 win over Deering in the teams’ 105th Turkey Day meeting. The Bulldogs won their fourth straight over the Rams in the series.

Courtesy Ellen McKenzie

Portland’s Dylan Bolduc shows off the trophy he received for winning the Vinnie Allen Award as the Bulldogs’ Outstanding Player Thursday. Bolduc ran for four touchdowns.

Courtesy Angi Holland.

Deering’s Nate Richards, joined by coach Jason Jackson, receives the Merv Kilgore Award as his team’s oustanding player Thursday.

Courtesy Ellen McKenzie.

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.