Cheverus defenders Dominic Casale, left, and Griffin Watson break up a pass intended for Thornton Academy’s Anthony Bracamonte during the Golden Trojans’ 65-0 win Saturday.
(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Thornton Academy game story, with a box score and additional photos, see theforecaster.net)
It was a relatively rough weekend for city football teams.
Portland bounced back from its surprising loss to Scarborough in the opener with a 40-14 win at Edward Little Friday, thanks to a second half surge.
Deering looked to build on last week’s decisive win over Massabesic, but let a late lead slip away at Sanford Friday and lost, 20-13.
Cheverus, which won at Oxford Hills in its first game, ran into the Thornton Academy juggernaut Saturday at home and the two-time defending Class A champions dominated the Stags to the tune of a 65-0 setback.
As a result, all three teams are now 1-1 at the quarter-pole of the regular season.
Portland didn’t lose a single regular season game in 2015 and got all the way to the Class A state final before losing to Thornton Academy, but the 2016 campaign didn’t begin as expected, as the Bulldogs were upset by visiting Scarborough, 14-13.
Friday, Portland’s first road game resulted in a victory over Edward Little, but it didn’t come easily.
Nick Archambault got free for a 43-yard scoring run to break the ice, but the Red Eddies answered to pull within 7-6. In the second quarter, quarterback Isaiah Bachelder scored on a 1-yard run to give the Bulldogs an eight-point lead, but late in the half, a Bachelder interception set the stage for the hosts to score a touchdown and add the two-point conversion to make it 14-14 at the break.
“I just told the guys they just needed to relax,” said Portland coach Jim Hartman. “They were so wound up.”
In the third period, the heroics of senior Jake Knop, who was injured and missed the Scarborough game, put the Bulldogs ahead to stay, as he broke a 54-yard reception. After a blocked punt by Vinny Pasquali, Knop scored again, on a 5-yard run. After a Bachelder 2-yard TD run, Dylan Bolduc’s 31-yard interception return for a touchdown capped a 26-point quarter and sent Portland on to a 40-14 triumph.
“We really needed this tonight,” Hartman said. “The kids needed some breaks this week. They’re a prideful bunch.”
The Bulldogs have a pivotal showdown at 2-0 Windham Friday (kickoff time is 7:30 p.m.). The winner will have an inside track for homefield advantage for the playoffs. Last fall, Portland twice beat the visiting Eagles, 10-3, during the regular season and 24-7 in the Class A North Final.
A year ago, Cheverus went to Saco and lost to Thornton Academy, 57-0.
Saturday, the visiting Golden Trojans beat the Stags by even more.
Thornton Academy came to Boulos Stadium with a chip on its shoulder, remembering its last trip to Cheverus and the ensuing 56-7 loss.
In the first quarter alone, the Golden Trojans got a pair of touchdown runs from senior quarterback extraordinaire Michael Laverriere from 42 and 26 yards and another from C.J. LaBreck from 9 yards out, as well as a 35-yard Laverriere-to-Johnny Rosario touchdown pass for a commanding 28-0 lead.
In the second period, the onslaught continued, as the visitors got a 2-yard scoring run from Jason Montano, a 31-yard TD scamper from Rosario, a 1-yard touchdown plunge from Cam Houde and a 25-yard field goal from placekicker Cam Cadorette, who also drilled seven extra points in the first half, which ended 52-0 in Thornton Academy’s favor.
A 33-yard scoring run from LaBreck in the third period and a 2-yard TD run from backup quarterback Will Mitchell in the fourth quarter brought the curtain down on the 65-0 victory.
The Golden Trojans enjoyed a 501-47 yardage advantage and got 238 combined yards from Laverriere. Cheverus mustered just 47 yards of offense and committed two turnovers.
“(Thornton Academy’s) a huge buzzsaw,” said Stags first-year coach Mike Vance. “We told the guys there are better days ahead and there will be opportunities for success down the road. How they handle adversity is going to affect us the rest of the way.”
Cheverus will hope to get back on track Friday at 0-2 Lewiston, a team the Stags beat by a resounding 68-16 margin last fall at home.
“What’s important is that we stay together as a team and we support each other and move forward,” Vance said. “We have kids who hang in there and we always have. They’re very consistent in their effort. Win or lose, we move on and that’s all you can do. We still have six games to go. We don’t bask in any glory or dwell in any difficulties, we just have to move on.”
Deering was very impressive in its opener, putting up 54 points to beat Massabesic and the Rams led most of Friday’s game at Sanford, which had lost to Thornton Academy in its first game.
Nate Richards, who scored four touchdowns in the opener, produced the only points of the first half when he scored on a short run in the first period. The extra point failed and the score was 6-0 Rams at halftime. The Spartans drew even in the third quarter, but Deering went back on top, 13-6, on a TD burst from Caysey Anthony in the fourth. The Rams couldn’t hold on, however, as Sanford got a long scoring pass and after Deering botched a punt, the Spartans scored late and went on to a 20-13 victory.
The Rams hope to return to form Friday, but their challenge is daunting as they go to 2-0 Thornton Academy. Last year, Deering gave the visiting Golden Trojans a battle before falling, 42-20.
Sun Journal staff writer Eric Maxim contributed to this story.