Scarborough outslugs Bonny Eagle to earn bye

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Scarborough junior quarterback Chase Cleary tries to elude the tackle of Bonny Eagle senior Will Whyte as Scots junior Alex Dyer gives chase during the teams’ contest Friday night. The defending Class A champion Red Storm outscored Bonny Eagle, 48-35, to end the regular season 6-1.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 48 Bonny Eagle 35

BE- 7 14 7 7- 35
S- 21 7 14 6- 48

First quarter
BE- Whyte 65 run (Whyte kick)
S- Flaker 63 run (Alofs kick)
S- Gobeil 7 run (kick failed)
S- Gobeil 19 pass from Cleary (Gobeil rush)

Second quarter
BE- Dyer 28 pass from Meredith (Whyte kick)
S- Galeckas 1 run (Alofs kick)
BE- Dyer 7 pass from Meredith (Whyte kick)

Third quarter
BE- Brilliant 39 pass from Meredith (Whyte kick)
S- R. Cleary 14 pass from C. Cleary (Alofs kick)
S- Galeckas 1 run (Alofs kick)

Fourth quarter
BE—Brilliant 25 pass from Meredith (Whyte kick)
S—Flaker 10 run (kick failed))

SCARBOROUGH—Last October, Scarborough’s football team beat Bonny Eagle in the regular season finale and rode that momentum all the way to a Class A state championship.

The 2018 Red Storm are hoping to author a similar story.

Friday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Scarborough hosted the Scots in the teams’ regular season finale, with the No. 2 seed in Class A South at stake, and offenses ruled from the outset.

Less than three minutes in, Bonny Eagle took a 7-0 lead on a 65-yard touchdown scamper from senior Will Whyte.

It took one play for the Red Storm to answer, as junior standout Jarett Flaker scored on a 63-yard run.

Scarborough then stretched its lead to 21-7 after one quarter, thanks to a 7-yard TD run from senior Tyler Gobeil and a 19-yard scoring pass from junior quarterback Chase Cleary to Gobeil.

The Scots wouldn’t fold, as junior quarterback Keegan Meredith found junior Alex Dyer for a 28-yard score and after sophomore Thomas Galeckas scored from a yard out for the hosts, the Meredith-to-Dyer connection produced a 7-yard touchdown just before the half to cut the Red Storm’s lead to 28-21.

Bonny Eagle got the ball to start the second half and quickly drove for the tying score, as on fourth down, Meredith found junior Shaun Brilliant from 39-yards out to make it 28-28.

With its lead gone, Scarborough responded, driving to go ahead to stay on a 14-yard pass from Cleary to senior Robert Cleary.

Galeckas then added a second 1-yard run and the Red Storm took a 42-28 advantage to the final stanza.

There, the Scots again made things interesting when Meredith and Brilliant connected on a 25-yard score, but a Flaker 10-yard run restored the two-score advantage and a late sack from junior Nathan Mars and interception from sophomore Eugene Foley clinched it as Scarborough prevailed, 48-35.

The Red Storm produced 500 yards of offense, finished the regular season 6-1, dropped Bonny Eagle to 5-3 and best of all, earned a bye into the semifinal round of the playoffs in two weeks.

“This is why we do this, push the kids all summer and all fall to play a game like this,” said Scarborough coach Lance Johnson. “The guys stepped up. They were physical. We ran the ball and stopped them just enough. I’m not ecstatic about how we played defensively, but we’ll get better at it.” 

Had to have it

The Red Storm and Scots knew the stakes when they took the field Friday night and both were up for the challenge.

Scarborough began its title defense with a 41-13 win at Sanford. After a 46-7 home victory over Deering, the Red Storm pulled away to beat host South Portland, 33-14, then enjoyed a 53-7 home victory over Windham in a state game rematch. Scarborough was then scheduled to host Massabesic, but an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease canceled the contest. After falling, 35-13, at Thornton Academy in a regional final rematch, the Red Storm bounced back with a 41-8 win at Lewiston.

Bonny Eagle came into the year viewed as perhaps a step below Scarborough and Thornton Academy, but the Scots have remained tough, as always. After opening with wins over host South Portland (34-6), visiting Sanford (47-8), visiting Portland (24-7), host Massabesic (38-20) and visiting Deering (35-0). Bonny Eagle fell from the unbeaten ranks at Oxford Hills, 31-22, then last week, lost at home to Thornton Academy, 40-21.

Last year, Scarborough went to Standish and shocked the host Scots, 35-14

That cut Bonny Eagle’s all-time lead in the series, which dates to 2003, to 7-3 (see sidebar, below).

Friday, on a comfortable mid-October evening (52 degrees with a light wind at kickoff), the Red Storm had just a little more offense than the Scots and earned the win.

Bonny Eagle won the opening coin toss and elected to defer possession to the second half.

The game then began inauspiciously for Scarborough as Flaker fumbled on the opening kickoff return, but senior Jack Beaulieu recovered for the hosts at their 37. The Red Storm then went three-and-out, as senior Zach Alofs was held to no gain, then ran for three yards and Chase Cleary kept the ball for six yards, setting up fourth-and-1. After a 31-yard punt, the Scots took over at their 23 with 9:42 left in the first period.

Two plays later, Bonny Eagle broke the ice.

After a false start penalty, Meredith hit Brilliant on a slant for 17 yards and on the next snap, Whyte got the carry, ran to his right, broke free and while he was tackled from behind it wasn’t until after he crossed the goal line for a 65-yard touchdown with 9:08 left in the first. Whyte added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Scarborough started its next possession at its 37 and Flaker got the ball on a sweep to the right, found a hole and took off and when Flaker takes off, no one catches him. Flaker completed the 63-yard scoring run with 8:49 on the clock and Alofs added the PAT to tie it, 7-7.

The Red Storm defense then came up big, as after Meredith threw incomplete and ran for four yards, Bonny Eagle was called for delay of game before Meredith threw a pass which senior Connor Oliver intercepted and returned eight yards to the Scarborough 48.

Four plays later, the Red Storm had the lead.

After Alofs ran for three yards, Flaker gained 17 more yards on a sweep. After a holding penalty, Cleary threw a perfect seam pass to senior Jared Quintiliani, good for 35 yards, setting up first-and-goal from the 7. On the next snap, Gobeil swept left and didn’t stop until he crossed the goal line for a 7-yard score with 5:52 remaining in the first quarter. Alofs’ extra point hit the right upright, but Scarborough was up, 13-7.

The Scots hoped to answer, but after Whyte was held to no gain, then ran for five yards, Oliver broke up a Meredith pass, forcing a punt.

With 4:03 left in the quarter, the Red Storm began at their 34 and six plays and 2:27 later, they extended their lead.

After an incomplete pass on first down, Flaker ran for 16 yards to midfield. After a three-yard run by Cleary, the quarterback kept the ball again and ran up the middle for 26 yards to the 21. After Galeckas’ first rush picked up two yards, Cleary dropped back to pass and hit Gobeil behind a defender who didn’t turn around for a 19-yard touchdown. Gobeil then scored the two-point conversion rush to make it 21-7 with 1:36 to go in the frame.

As the first period gave way to the second, Bonny Eagle drove for seven points to answer.

Starting at their 43, the Scots moved the chains when Meredith found Brilliant for 10 yards. After Whyte was held to no gain and Meredith rushed for a yard to end the first quarter (Scarborough had a 190-92 advantage in yardage), Meredith threw a screen pass to Whyte on third-and-9 that went for 18 yards and a first down at the Red Storm 28. After Whyte ran for a yard and Meredith threw incomplete, Whyte gained four yards, setting up fourth down. A delay of game penalty backed the Scots up five more yards, but Meredith hit Dyer over the middle and Dyer fought his way into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown. Whyte’s PAT cut the deficit to 21-14 with 9:15 left in the first half.

Scarborough went three-and-out on its next series, as Cleary ran for four yards, then for five before Flaker was thrown for a two-yard loss. Oliver then came up huge with a 51-yard punt that pinned Bonny Eagle at its 7.

The Red Storm’s defense then got the ball right back, forcing a three-and-out, as Whyte was held to no gain and Meredith had passes broken up by Oliver and Gobeil. After a 28-yard punt, Scarborough took over at the Scots’ 35 with 5:26 remaining in the half.

Four plays later, the Red Storm restored their 14-point advantage.

After a 21-yard run by Gobeil on a sweep to the left, Cleary kept the ball for three yards and Flaker swept right for 10 yards to the 1. Galeckas then did the honors, scoring on a 1-yard dive with 4:06 on the clock. Alofs added the extra point to make it 28-14.

Bonny Eagle then executed the first part of the highly desired “double score” to get back within one score by halftime.

Starting at their 45, the Scots needed 10 plays and 3:29 to drive for their third touchdown.

After a Meredith incompletion, the quarterback scrambled for 11 yards and a first down at the Scarborough 44. After Whyte ran for five yards and Meredith threw incomplete, he hit junior Nate Ferris on a slant for 20 yards and a first down at the 19. After a three-yard Meredith run, a five-yard facemask penalty on the Red Storm moved the ball to the 11. Meredith was held to no gain, but on third-and-2, Whyte picked up four yards to the 7. Meredith then dropped back and found Dyer to the left for the 7-yard score with 31.5 seconds to go. Whyte’s PAT made the score 28-21.

Scarborough hoped to answer before the half, but Gobeil ran for two yards, Flaker picked up 13 and Gobeil ran for six yards and that brought the clock to zero.

In the first 24 minutes, the Red Storm had a 244-193 edge in yardage and got 117 rushing yards from Flaker. Meredith had 100 yards and two touchdowns passing to keep the Scots close.

Bonny Eagle got the ball to start the second half and marched 77 yards in seven plays and 3:09 to tie the game.

Beginning at their 23, the Scots started in a hole, as Gobeil threw Whyte for a one-yard loss and Meredith threw incomplete, but on third-and-11, Meredith found Dyer for 31 yards and a first down at the Scarborough 47. After Ferris caught a pass for three yards and Meredith ran for six, Whyte lost a yard, setting up fourth-and-2 from the 39. After a timeout, Meredith found Brilliant wide open behind the defense and Brilliant completed the 39-yard catch and run and Whyte added the extra point to make it 28-28 with 8:42 remaining in the third period.

Undaunted, the Red Storm answered, driving 71 yards in six plays and 2:23 to finally take the lead for good.

Starting at the 29, Cleary set the tone with a 19-yard run, as he kept his legs moving and pushed the pile an additional 10 yards. After Galeckas ran for nine yards, he ran for 10 more on an option pitch for a first down at the Bonny Eagle 33. Flaker picked up 18 more yards on a pitch to the left, Cleary gained one more and on the next snap, Cleary dropped back and hit Robert Cleary over the middle in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown with 6:08 on the clock. Alofs added the PAT to make it 35-28 Scarborough.

“We should feel like we can score every time we touch the ball, but it was especially important tonight,” Chase Cleary said. “When they tied the game, coming back and scoring was huge.”

“Our guys put in a lot of hard work and they believe in themselves,” Johnson said. “That’s a big hurdle we got over last year. They didn’t get in a panic when it’s 28-28, they just knew they had to score and we’d get a stop eventually.”

The Red Storm’s defense then got a key stop, as it held Whyte to no gain and forced successive Meredith incompletions, with junior Max Pilspanen knocking down the third down attempt at the line. On fourth down, the snap went over the head of senior punter Will Hendrix, who managed to run the ball down and get off a 12-yard punt, giving Scarborough the ball at the Bonny Eagle 48 with 4:55 left in the quarter.

This time, the Red Storm needed eight plays and 4:12 to find the end zone.

After an incomplete pass, Alofs had runs of eight- and 10-yards for a first down at the 30. Galeckas picked up nine yards and after a bad snap, Chase Cleary took off for 19 yards to the 2. A false start penalty backed Scarborough up to the 7, but Cleary got the five yards back, Galeckas moved the ball to the 1, then Galeckas got the call again, scoring from a yard out. Whyte’s extra point made it 42-28 Scarborough with 43 seconds on the clock.

The Scots started their next possession at the Red Storm 44 and six plays later, drew closer.

On the final play of a third period which saw Scarborough hold a 119-76 advantage in yardage, Whyte lost a yard. Meredith then threw incomplete on the first play of the fourth quarter, but on third-and-11, Meredith lofted a pass down the left sideline which Dyer dove and caught for 27 yards to the 18. After Whyte gained three yards and a holding penalty backed Bonny Eagle up 10 yards, Meredith hit Brilliant on a slant for a 25-yard touchdown. Brilliant fumbled going into the end zone, but he fell on the ball for the six points. Whyte’s PAT cut the deficit to 42-35 with 10:57 to go.

Again, the Red Storm refused to let the visitors keep momentum with a backbreaking drive.

Scarborough started at its 20 with 10:54 to play and two plays and 36 seconds later, had breathing room for good.

On first down, Cleary kept the ball and ran free up the middle. He was tripped up from behind, but not before gaining 70 yards to the Scots’ 10.

“I think (Chase has) done great,” Johnson said. “He’s surprised us how well he’s running the ball. He’s worked hard in the weight room and this summer and it shows. He has a nice burst and he’s tough.” 

On the next play, Flaker ran to the right and eluded two tacklers en route to paydirt. Alofs’ PAT was short, but the Red Storm led, 48-35, with 10:18 to go.

Bonny Eagle started at its 30 and drove into Scarborough territory, but this time, couldn’t finish.

After a four-yard Meredith rush, Meredith found Brilliant on a slant for 22 yards to the Red Storm 44. After getting another first down at the 29 on a pass interference penalty, Meredith ran for five yards, Whyte gained four and Meredith ran for eight for a first down at the 12. After Meredith threw incomplete and Meredith kept the ball for two yards, the quarterback dropped back to pass and was sacked by Mars for a seven-yard loss, setting up fourth-and-15.

“It felt great to get a stop,” Mars said. “They were passing the ball and it felt great to finally get a hit on the QB at the end.” 

“We needed it down there because they could have cut it to six,” Johnson said. “We’d run by the quarterback all night, then we finally got a sack.”

After a delay to tend to injured Scots lineman John Dugan, Meredith threw a pass which Foley intercepted at the 15.

With 5:20 to play, Scarborough took over and the Red Storm never gave the ball back.

After Galeckas ran for nine yards, he was held to no gain, but on third down, Flaker broke free for 15 yards and a first down at the 39.  Alofs ran for 21 yards and a first down at the Bonny Eagle 40. After Alofs ran for four yards and Cleary picked up one, a nine-yard Flaker scamper moved the chains one final time. All that was left was for Cleary to twice take a knee and the Red Storm were able to celebrate their hard-earned 48-35 victory.

“It was a lot of fun,” Chase Cleary said. “I expected more defense, but our offense didn’t let up and we went out in the second half and ran it down their throats. I have to give a lot of credit to our O-line. Pass protection, run blocking, they were outstanding.”

“These are the games you live for, close games you have to grind out,” Mars said. “I love it. We knew our assignments on the O-line. We had a lot of reps in practice and we just knew how to finish. Winning this was important.”

“We knew we’d move the ball, but stopping them was a little scarier than I would have liked,” Johnson added. “It was a team effort. Our receivers blocked well on the edge. Our backs ran hard. Our quarterback ran hard. We hit some play-action passes because we ran so well. We have a lot of weapons and we’re good up front.”

Scarborough’s 500 yards of offense was paced by 231 from Cleary, who completed 3-of-4 passes for 68 yards and two scores and ran for 163 yards on 12 carries. 

Flaker picked up 169 yards and scored twice on 10 rushes.

Galeckas also scored twice, rushing for 34 yards on 10 attempts.

Gobeil finished with 36 yards and a TD on four rushes and he caught a touchdown pass, good for 19 yards.

Alofs rushed seven times for 49 yards.

Robert Cleary had one reception for 14 yards and a TD and Quintiliani’s one catch went for 35 yards.

The Red Storm didn’t turn the ball over and overcame six penalties for 51 yards.

Valiant effort

Bonny Eagle finished with 367 yards, but the Scots committed two turnovers and were penalized five times for 40 yards.

Meredith completed 12-of-25 passes, good for 247 yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions. He ran 10 times for 44 yards.

Whyte ran 15 times for 88 yards and a score, but only picked up 23 yards on his last 14 attempts. Whyte also had a reception for 18 yards.

Brilliant had five catches for 113 yards and two TDs.

Dyer also scored twice on four catches, good for 93 yards.

Ferris had two catches for 23 yards.

“Our kids battled,” said Bonny Eagle coach Kevin Cooper. “To come back and tie it up, I thought that was awesome. I couldn’t ask our guys to do anything more. I’m sure it was fun to watch if you’re a spectator, but you can’t give up that many points if you want to win a championship.

“We decided to use four receivers. Keegan can throw it. We have good skill guys. The offensive line battled in there against a big, quality opponent, giving Keegan time to throw. 

“We’re not used to not winning a game for three weeks, but there are encouraging signs. We threw the ball against a good team like this. We’ve run it well at times.”

Playoff time

Next up for Bonny Eagle will be a home quarterfinal next weekend, against either Massabesic or South Portland.

Cooper is hopeful the Scots will get injured junior quarterback Zach Maturo back, which would make the offense that much more dynamic, and that they’re ready to snap their three-game skid and make a run.

“I think we’ll be tough on offense, we just have to slow teams down,” Cooper said. “We’ll have to get ready to go for next week and hopefully win that game and get back here in two weeks.”

As the No. 2 seed, Scarborough will get a week off, then knows its likely it will have to beat Bonny Eagle again the weekend of Nov. 2-3.

The Red Storm believe they have what it takes to go on another championship run.

“It means a lot to the team that we get the bye so we only have to play two games to get to the state championship instead of three,” Chase Cleary said. “We have to give 100 percent effort in practice and keep rolling.”

“Getting a bye is important so we have some time to prepare for our next game,” Mars said. “We have to keep pushing ourselves every day to get better.” 

“We’re happy where we stand and with what the kids have done,” Johnson added. “They’ve worked hard. We had a mental hurdle to get over early because they didn’t know how good they could be. We get better every week and make adjustments. We have a tough road ahead, but it’ll be tough for anyone who plays us because you’ll have to defend the whole field.”

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

Scarborough junior Jarett Flaker, who had two touchdowns, looks for running room.

Bonny Eagle senior Will Whyte races past a Scarborough defender.

Scarborough senior Connor Oliver forces an incomplete pass intended for Bonny Eagle junior Shaun Brilliant.

Scarborough sophomore Eugene Foley (21) and senior Andrew Granzier try to bring down Bonny Eagle junior Nate Ferris.

Bonny Eagle senior Will Whyte looks to break a tackle.

Previous Scarborough-Bonny Eagle results

2017
Scarborough 35 @ Bonny Eagle 14

2016
Bonny Eagle 21 @ Scarborough 7

2015
Scarborough 27 @ Bonny Eagle 26 

2014
Bonny Eagle 49 @ Scarborough 6 

2013
@ Bonny Eagle 34 Scarborough 26
Western A semifinals
@ Bonny Eagle 27 Scarborough 0 

2012
@ Scarborough 35 Bonny Eagle 18 

2011
Bonny Eagle 34 @ Scarborough 20

2004
@ Bonny Eagle 44 Scarborough 6 

2003
Bonny Eagle 27 @ Scarborough 0 

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