Scarborough makes statement, shocks Portland in opener

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Scarborough junior quarterback Zoltan Panyi goes flying after being hit by Portland junior Vincent Pasquali during the teams’ opener Friday night. The Red Storm beat the defending Class A North champion Bulldogs for the first time, 14-13.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 14 Portland 13

S- 0 7 7 0- 14
P- 0 13 0 0- 13

First quarter
No scoring

Second quarter
P- Foley 23 pass from Bachelder (Clarke kick)
S- Lagerquist 6 pass from Panyi (Peoples kick)
P- Foley 30 pass from Bachelder (kick blocked)

Third quarter
S- Carion 25 pass from Panyi (Peoples kick)

Fourth quarter
No scoring

PORTLAND—The confidence of Scarborough’s football team has steadily grown during the preseason and Friday evening at Fitzpatrick Stadium, in the regular season opener, the Red Storm got to strut their stuff on the big stage against defending Class A North champion Portland.

And Scarborough rose to the occasion, made an impressive statement and suggested that Class A South might be more than a two-team race.

The Red Storm were their usual productive offensive selves, but unlike past seasons, they were equally strong on defense and went toe-to-toe physically with the notoriously tough Bulldogs, never allowing the hosts to get comfortable.

Portland took the lead early in the second quarter when its newly unleashed aerial attack produced a 23-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Isaiah Bachelder to no-longer-secret-weapon junior Griffin Foley.

Scarborough roared right back and drew even when junior first-year quarterback Zoltan Panyi found junior Reece Lagerquist, but the Bachelder-to-Foley combination struck again for a 30-yard score and while the extra point was blocked, the Bulldogs led, 13-7, at halftime.

After Portland failed to add to its lead in the third quarter, squandering a first-and-goal at the 4 opportunity, the Red Storm pounced and got a 25-yard scoring strike from Panyi to senior Tim Carion and the extra point from senior placekicker Emmett Peoples to go on top by one.

From there, Scarborough had to hold on for dear life and despite being consistently back on their heels, the Red Storm rose to the occasion and after one final stand, they were able to celebrate a 14-13 victory.

Scarborough avenged a loss to the Bulldogs in last year’s opener, beat Portland for the first time in seven all-time meetings and ended the Bulldogs’ 12-game regular season win streak in the process.

“Since preseason started, we’ve been preparing for Portland,” said Red Storm coach Lance Johnson, who teaches at Portland High School. “We’ve talked about what it would take to win the game, toughness and sticking with it. We had to calm down and believe our conditioning would win the game.”

High hopes

Portland had a dream season in 2015, starting with a 47-26 victory at Scarborough and ending with a berth in the Class A state final. The Bulldogs lost that game, 24-14, to favored Thornton Academy, which repeated as champion, but it was a magical year nonetheless.

Graduation took its toll on Portland, most notably the departure of team heart-and-soul and reigning Fitzpatrick Trophy winning running back and linebacker Joe Esposito, but a strong senior core returns, eager to finish was the 2015 squad started.

Scarborough was a .500 team in 2015, going 4-4 in the regular season and after dispatching Sanford, 28-0, in the Class A South quarterfinals, the Red Storm were ousted, 35-0, by Thornton Academy in the semifinals.

This season, Scarborough believes it can advance even deeper in the postseason, even though it is in a brutal region with two-time defending state champion Thornton Academy and preseason favorite Bonny Eagle.

Last year’s win gave Portland a 6-0 all-time record against the Red Storm (see sidebar below). In that one, the Bulldogs went up, 20-0 and Scarborough roared back to pull within 33-26 early in the fourth quarter, but then junior Dylan Bolduc returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a score to help the Bulldogs put it away.

Friday night, in front of a large and vocal crowd, Portland had its chances to get its season off to a winning start, but the Red Storm were the team making the big plays.

The Bulldogs won the opening coin toss, but deferred possession to the second half.

Scarborough started at its 42 after Portland squibbed the opening kickoff and on the first play, Panyi broke free up the middle for 14 yards (only a tackle from junior Vincent Pasquali saved a touchdown) for a first down. The Bulldogs’ defense buckled down from there, as senior Ethan Hoyt knocked down a Panyi pass incomplete, Panyi was stopped for no gain by sophomore Zach Elowitch and on a third-and-10 sweep, senior Aren Dickman only gained four yards. Junior Cody Dudley tried to punt the ball away, but he bobbled the snap and had to take off, gaining no yards, and Portland took over on its 40.

The Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of their good field position, however, as after Bolduc ran for five yards, then for four, senior Nick Archambault got less than a yard, setting up fourth-and-inches at midfield, where Bachelder was stuffed, giving the ball back to the Red Storm on downs.

Scarborough would threaten to break the ice, but Portland’s defense, as it did all last year, made the big play.

After junior Owen Garrard lost a yard on first down, Panyi connected with Carion for 15 and a first down in Bulldogs’ territory. After hitting Garrard for three yards, Panyi threw incomplete, but on third-and-7, senior Drew LeClair ran for eight yards and a first down at the 25. Elowitch then threw Panyi for a two-yard loss, but Garrard got free for 17 yards, setting a first-and-goal from the 10. The Red Storm couldn’t take advantage, as a holding penalty backed them up the 21, Hoyt sacked Panyi for 12 more yards and on second-and-goal from the 33, Panyi’s pass was intercepted by Pasquali, who returned the ball to the 18.

As the first period gave way to the second, Portland began the game’s first scoring drive, one which would encompass 82 yards on nine plays, chewing up 5 minutes, 20 seconds.

Bolduc was held to no gain on first down, but on second, he spun away from a defender to pick up six yards. On third-and-four, Bachelder and Foley connected for the first time, a 31-yard pass which moved the ball to the Scarborough 45. After Archambault ran for three yards, Bachelder hit Hoyt on a screen pass for one yards. Bachelder ran for three yards, setting up fourth-and-3, and on the final play of the opening stanza, Bachelder ran left for five yards, setting up a first-and-10 at the 33.

In the first period, the Bulldogs mustered 59 yards of offense, while the Red Storm managed 35.

On the first play of the new quarter, Archambault burst free for 10 yards and on the next snap, Bachelder dropped back and lofted a perfect pass to the back left corner of the end zone, where Foley went up over Scarborough junior defensive back Jeremy Sendrowski and came down with the ball just in front of the end line for Portland’s first touchdown of the season. Junior Quinn Clarke booted the extra point and with 10:57 to go in the first half, the hosts were up, 7-0.

Undaunted, the Red Storm roared right back.

Scarborough was sparked by a 54 yard kickoff return from Dudley, placing the ball at the Bulldogs’ 31. It would take nine plays and 3:31 to get to the end zone, but the visitors would manage to tie things up.

After a fumbled exchange, the Red Storm went backwards five yards with a false start and Panyi passed incomplete, setting up third-and-15. Dickman ran for 10 yards, but Scarborough still faced fourth-and-5. That proved no problem, as Panyi hit junior Connor Kelly for 10 yards and a first down at the 16. An 11-yard Panyi-to-Dudley pass then set up first-and-goal from the 5.

Garrard got just one yard on first down, as Bolduc raced in to make the tackle, but on second down, Garrard got the ball to the 1. The Red Storm shot themselves in the foot with a false start penalty, but Panyi quickly compensated, finding Lagerquist, a matchup nightmare, in the end zone with a quick-hitter 6-yard TD pass and with 7:16 remaining before halftime, Peoples added the PAT to forge a 7-7 tie.

Portland needed just six plays and 2:30 to march 78 yards to regain the lead.

After Archambault picked up three yards, Bachelder and Foley combined for another big play, this one for 40 yards to the Scarborough 35. After Bachelder ran for two yards and Archambault gained three, Bachelder threw incomplete, setting up fourth-and-5 from the 30. The Bulldogs went for it and this time, Bachelder found Foley open on the right side and Foley did the rest, completing the 30-yard touchdown pass and run. Clarke’s extra point was blocked, but with 4:33 left in the half, Portland was ahead, 13-7.

The Bulldogs got the ball right back, forcing a three-and-out, as Panyi twice threw incomplete and Dudley was thrown for a three-yard loss by senior Nick Giaquinto.

Portland hoped to add to its lead, but after runs of six- and 11-yards by Bolduc gave the Bulldogs a first down at the Red Storm 44, Bolduc was thrown for a two-yard loss by Garrard and after Bolduc ran for three yards on second down, Bachelder just missed Foley for another potential big gainer as the ball went through Foley’s hands, forcing Portland to punt.

Archambault’s punt went out of bounds at the 9, but it was negated by a false start. Archambult’s next attempt went out at the 5, but again a penalty forced the Bulldogs to re-kick and this time, Archambault only punted 20 yards and with 55 seconds left before halftime, Scarborough took over at its 36.

The Red Storm came oh-so-close to striking paydirt before the break.

After Panyi scrambled for three yards, he hit Kelly for 28 more, as Kelly outleaped Pasquali for the jump ball, setting up a first down at Portland’s 33. A false start cost Scarborough five yards, but Panyi hit Carion for 10 yards and a late hit penalty on the Bulldogs moved the ball to the 14. Panyi threw incomplete while being pressured by Archambault and Panyi was brought down by Giaquinto for a two-yard pickup, but as time expired, Panyi hit Lagerquist just shy of the goal line. Lagerquist tried to fight his way across the line, but Bachelder stopped him inches short and Portland took a 13-7 lead to halftime.

In the first half, Panyi completed 8 of 16 passes for 94 yards, a touchdown and an interception and Scarborough had 126 yards of offense.

The Bulldogs mustered 175 yards of first half offense and got four catches for 124 yards and two TDs from Foley.

The second half would see Portland have its chances to add points, but the Bulldogs couldn’t do so and ultimately fell short.

Portland got the ball to start the third period and got runs of three yards from Bachelder and five yards and one yard from Archambault and had to punt.

Archambault’s punt was mishandled by Dudley and Bulldogs sophomore Richard Farnsworth recovered at the Portland 46.

The hosts failed to take advantage, however, as after Bachelder kept the ball for four yards, Bolduc managed just three more on two carries and Archambault had to punt again and only got six yards on his kick, giving Scarborough the ball at its 33.

Portland’s defense bailed out the punter, as Garrard was held to two yards and Panyi to two more before he threw incomplete.

With 7:23 to go in the third quarter, the Bulldogs started at their 28 and embarked on a drive with ate up nearly four minutes, but didn’t result in any points.

After Bachelder threw incomplete, Bolduc ran for five yards and Bachelder hit Foley for 20 yards along the right sideline to move the chains. Archambault picked up two yards, then Bachelder found Hoyt wide open down the seam for 31 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the 4.

But just when Portland was on the verge of gaining some breathing room, it short-circuited.

On first down, Bachelder kept the ball and ran to his left, but Lagerquist threw him for a five yard loss. The snap on second down was low and Bachelder had to fall on the ball at the 23. On third down, Bachelder connected with Foley for 10 yards to the 13 to allow Clarke a better chance at a field goal, but the snap on the kick was low and got away, allowing Scarborough to take over on downs at its 30, having not fallen any further behind.

The Red Storm would march 70 yards on five plays in 2:22 to turn the game around.

A 12-yard burst by Carion got things started. Panyi then threw a ball up for grabs which Kelly caught in traffic for 38 yards and a first down at Portland’s 20. After Lagerquist caught a pass for two yards and Hoyt threw LeClair for a two yard loss, an illegal procedure penalty backed Scarborough up and set up third-and-15, but Panyi lofted a pass to Carion and the receiver fought his way into the end zone for the 25 yard score.

“Zoltan just threw the ball and I went up and grabbed it,” Carion said. “It felt awesome. He throws nice passes. He learned a lot from last year’s quarterback, Jack Hughes.”

“We had some tough breaks,” lamented Portland coach Jim Hartman. “One play determines the winner and we didn’t make it. ‘Archie’ had the quarterback going backwards and he threw it in the end zone.”

People added the extra point and with 1:19 to go in the third quarter, the Red Storm had a 14-13 advantage.

As the third period gave way to the fourth, the Bulldogs again appeared to be driving and in business, but again they failed to score, this time by virtue of a controversial call.

Starting at its 18, Portland quickly began a nearly six-minute march, as Archambault gained 12 yards, then ran for eight and three to move the chains.

On the first play of the fourth period, a holding penalty backed the Bulldogs up, but pass interference got those yards back and after Bolduc picked up three yards on second-and-4, an offsides penalty gave Portland a first down at Scarborough’s 45. Archambault ran for three yards and Bolduc picked up 10 on an option toss for a first down at the 32. Bolduc ran for four more yards and Archambault gained two, but after a two-yard loss on a fumbled exchange, on fourth-and-6 from the 28, Bachelder’s rainbow pass down the right sideline was snared by Elowitch, who went out of bounds right in front of the pylon, setting the stage for the biggest call of the night.

Naturally, Portland’s sideline thought it was a catch and later video suggested Elowitch barely got one foot in, but after consulting, the officials ruled the play incomplete and with 7:26 remaining, the Red Storm took over on downs.

After Dickman ran for two yards, Garrard ran for four, then picked up eight for a first down at the 42. LeClair ran for two yards and Panyi gained two more, but Panyi threw incomplete and Scarborough had to punt.

With 4:15 left, the Bulldogs had their last chance and they again got in position to win only to have their hopes dashed.

On first down from the Portland 13, Bachelder hit Hoyt for seven yards and after he was nearly picked off on second down, Bachelder found Foley for 18 yards and a first down at the 38. A holding penalty backed the Bulldogs up to their 25, but Bachelder found Hoyt for 15 yards, then hit Archambault for 10 more and a first down at midfield.

Bachelder threw an incomplete pass, but then found Elowitch for 18 and a first down at Scarborough’s 32.

After Bachelder was sacked by Garrard for the a loss of a yard, he hit Archambault for 11, setting up a first down at the 22 with less than a minute to go.

Bachelder just missed Foley in the end zone on first down, then had his pass to Hoyt broken up by Garrard. On third down, Bachelder threw incomplete under pressure, setting up a fateful fourth-and-goal from the 22.

At that point, Hartman could have given Clarke a chance at a field goal to win it, but instead, he opted to go for it and after a Scarborough timeout, Garrard bore down on Bachelder and the quarterback had to throw more quickly then he wanted.

The ball fell incomplete and the Red Storm had held.

“It was really intense,” Garrard said. “We worked hard as a team and kept coming back. Coach said to play loose and try to get him and I took advantage.”

“I was tempted to kick it and probably should have done it,” Hartman said. “(Quinn) has the leg, but it’s a lot of pressure.”

All that was left was for Panyi to take a knee and with the Bulldogs out of timeouts, at 9:25 p.m., the clock ran out on Scarborough’s seismic 14-13 victory.

“It was awesome, a great team win,” Garrard said. “It’s great for our morale.”

“It feels great,” Carion said. “We’ve worked hard all summer and it feels awesome. We knew all along how tough we were and how well conditioned we were.”

“We’ve been pushing the guys in the weight room and this summer and it instilled toughness and it paid off tonight,” Johnson added. “We made plays when we had to. That’s the name of the game. We were able to score one more point than our opponent and we’re happy with that. I thought we’d be pretty good. I’m not surprised we won. I’m happy with these guys.”

Panyi finished 11 of 21 for 159 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his first start. He also rushed for 16 yards on six attempts.

“(Zoltan) took a lot of hits, but he was poised,” said Johnson. “He has a big heart. He’s a talented kid who gets better every day.”

Carion had three catches for 50 yards and a TD, Kelly caught three balls for 76 yards, Lagerquist had three grabs for 19 yards, Dudley finished with one catch for 11 yards and Garrard had one catch for 3.

On the ground, Scarborough got 34 yards on seven carries from Garrard and 16 yards on three carries from Dickman.

In total, the Red Storm mustered 237 yards and overcame two turnovers and seven penalties for 51 yards.

Bachelder had his best throwing game to date, completing 15 of 24 attempts for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also gained 12 yards on seven rushes.

Foley’s debut game resulted in eight catches for 182 yards and two scores.

“I think Griffin will be doubled now,” Hartman said. “We knew Isaiah could throw. I was proud of the pass blocking. We did a lot of positive things.”

Hoyt had four receptions for 54 yards, Archambault caught two balls for 21 yards, Elowitch had one catch for 18.

On the ground, Bolduc gained 58 yards on 14 attempts and Archambault finished with 51 yards on 13 rushes.

The Bulldogs had 352 yards of offense, but couldn’t translate that into enough points. They were flagged five times for 56 yards.

“Scarborough is way better than people think,” Hartman said. “They’re well coached. Their quarterback is a tough kid. Archie drilled him several times and he came back.”

Just getting started

Portland hopes to bounce back when it goes to Edward Little Friday (the Red Eddies beat Bangor, 18-8, in their opener). Last year, the Bulldogs beat visiting Edward Little, 33-0, to improve to 44-19-2 all-time in the series.

This loss can be viewed as a good thing in the long run for Portland and don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs are a vastly different team next time out. The Bulldogs will likely get senior running back Jake Knop back and hopefully junior lineman Charles Egeland as well. Oh by the way, junior Terion Moss, the basketball standout, has yet to take part in a countable game.

“This loss will get the guys’ attention,” Hartman said. “They were arrogant and the coaches were arrogant, but I think we’ll be fine.”

Scarborough hopes to start 2-0 Friday, but it has the daunting task of hosting Bonny Eagle (60-20 winners at South Portland in its opener). Last season, the Red Storm eked out a 27-26 victory at the Scots.

Scarborough isn’t about to rest on its laurels.

“We have to keep pushing forward,” Garrard said. “We look forward to Bonny Eagle. We have to keep giving 100 percent.”

“We’ll keep grinding every day and get better,” Carion said.

“It’ll be a tough game for us, but it’ll be a tough game for Bonny Eagle too,” Johnson added. “We’ve got three solid classes now. That depth is starting to show. We can practice harder because we have guys pushing for reps. We’ll prepare and work hard. It’ll be a battle. We want to play a tough schedule. The tougher schedule we play, the tougher it makes us for playoffs.”

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

Portland senior Dylan Bolduc rushes the ball as Scarborough junior Eric Quirk closes in.

Scarborough senior Drew LeClair turns the corner.

Scarborough junior Cody Dudley tries to elude Portland junior Vincent Pasquali (7) and senior Isaiah Bachelder.

Portland junior Griffin Foley leaps to make a catch as Scarborough senior Anthony Simoneau looks on.

Portland junior Vincent Pasquali intercepts a pass in front of Scarborough junior Connor Kelly.

Portland junior Griffin Foley hauls in a touchdown pass in front of Scarborough junior Jeremy Sendrowski in the second quarter.

Previous Portland-Scarborough results

2015
Portland 47 @ Scarborough 26 

2012
@ Portland 25 Scarborough 20

2008
Portland 13 @ Scarborough 12

2007
@ Portland 14 Scarborough 0

2004
@ Portland 40 Scarborough 14

2003
Portland 46 @ Scarborough 8

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