(Ed. Note: For the complete South Portland-Sanford game story, with additional photos and a box score, please visit theforecaster.net)
Scarborough’s football team bounced back from its first loss in a big way Saturday afternoon.
The Red Storm had lost, 35-7, at undefeated Thornton Academy Sept. 29, but demolished visiting Massabesic, 58-0. Scarborough got a pair of long touchdown passes from quarterback Dillon Russo to Greg Viola, a TD run from Dan LeClair and a fumble recovery for a score by LeClair as it pulled away and never looked back.
The Red Storm improved to 5-1 and is third behind Thornton Academy and two-time defending state champion Cheverus in the Western Class A Crabtree Points standings.
Friday (see theforecaster.net for the game story), Scarborough faces a big test at 4-2 Portland, currently fifth in the standings. The teams last met Oct. 3, 2008 (a Bulldogs’ 13-12 victory at the Red Storm).
South Portland, coming off its first win, hung tough with visiting Sanford until halftime, but ultimately had no answer for Spartans standout Alex Shain and lost, 46-12, to fall to 1-5.
The Red Riots got off to a strong start, driving the field in nine plays to grab an early lead on a touchdown run from quarterback Duncan Preston, but Shain, who went around, through and over the South Portland defense (sometimes on the same play), to the tune of 196 yards and four TDs on 20 carries, helped Sanford rally. A Shain TD run tied the score. Sanford wejt ahead to stay on a Shain interception return, then after the Red Riots pulled to within 14-12 on a TD run from Joey DiBiase, two Shain 7-yard scoring runs late in the first half gave the Spartans a commanding 28-12 lead at the break.
The visitors didn’t let up in the second half, scoring a second defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone, then ending all doubt with scoring runs from Shain and junior Josh Schroder to pull away for a 46-12 victory.
“I think early on we came out, moved down the field and punched the ball in,” said Red Riots coach Steve Stinson. “We pinned them in on the kickoff, but they converted a third-and-long and that got them going. All roads for Sanford lead through Shain. When he gets rolling, their offense builds. We had no answer for him tonight to slow him down. He made his line play better and the other backs play better.”
DiBiase led the South Portland offense with 76 yards on nine carries. He also had two receptions for 23 yards. Preston rushed 12 times for 68 yards. He was 3-of-14 passing, good for 30 yards, and was intercepted twice.
The Red Riots played hard throughout, but simply couldn’t keep up. Stinson continues to be pleased with his team’s effort, however.
“Our numbers are very lean,” Stinson said. “We lost a senior class of 20 and we have a small senior class this year. We have a lack of depth. There’s nine new starters on each side of the ball. They hadn’t played any varsity football before. I feel we’ve taken steps at times. The best part about it is the kids have been phenomenal. The kids haven’t missed practice. They’re attitudes are great. If they’re willing to learn, that makes life good.”
The Red Riots (13th in Western A) face two must-win games to close the season, Friday night at 2-4 Deering (ranked seventh). The teams last met in the 2010 season (a 35-0 win for the host Rams). South Portland closes Oct. 20 at home versus Portland in the “Battle of the Bridge.”
“They’re two very good teams,” Stinson said. “We hope to finish strong.”
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth fell to 2-4 after a 20-0 loss at Marshwood. The Hawks scored two touchdowns in the second half and added another in the third period and the Capers’ offense couldn’t respond.
Cape Elizabeth (ninth in the Crabtrees, only the top eight teams make the playoffs) looks to respond Friday when it hosts 3-3 Fryeburg, currently eighth in the standings. Last year, the Capers won, 29-6, at the Raiders. Cape Elizabeth finishes at home versus Mountain Valley Oct. 19. The Capers might need wins in both contests to extend their postseason streak to seven years.
South Portland junior quarterback Duncan Preston rolls out and seeks an open receiver during Friday’s 46-12 home loss to Sanford.