Scarborough seniors Jeremy Sendrowski (21) and Connor Kelly celebrate at the final horn of the Red Storm’s 57-0 domination of Windham in Saturday’s Class A state game. Scarborough won Class A for the first time and captured the program’s second Gold Ball.
Adam Birt photos.
More photos below.
W- 0 0 0 0- 0
S- 21 15 14 7- 57
S- Garrard 1 run (McDonnell kick)
S- Garrard 9 run (McDonnell kick)
S- Flaker 10 run (McDonnell kick)
S- Garrard 1 run (Sendrowski rush)
S- Garrard 3 pass from Panyi (McDonnell kick)
S- Panyi 52 run (McDonnell kick)
S- Panyi 59 run (McDonnell kick)
S- Garrard 3 run (McDonnell kick)
PORTLAND—It was a coronation.
And most of all, a celebration of a program’s ascension to champion.
In absolutely breathtaking fashion.
Saturday morning/early afternoon at Fitzpatrick Stadium, Scarborough’s football team culminated its long rise from also-ran to contender to Class A state champion with a brilliant 48-minute performance in all three phases against Windham, which simply couldn’t keep up.
Everyone knew that the Red Storm, who wore the bulls-eye as the team to beat from the start of the season, had a prolific offense, but Scarborough’s defense was impenetrable and the Red Storm’s unheralded special teams set the tone and got the party started early.
Senior Jeremy Sendrowski returned the opening kickoff 54 yards to the Eagles’ 26 and six plays later, senior Owen Garrard scored his first touchdown, from a yard out, to give Scarborough the only points it would need with the game less than three minutes old.
After another terrific return, a 55-yard punt runback by sophomore Jarret Flaker, the Red Storm made it 14-0 when Garrard scored on a 4-yard scamper.
Later in the first period, after stopping a fake Windham punt, a 47-yard pass from senior quarterback Zoltan Panyi to senior Connor Kelly set up a 10-yard TD run by Flaker to extend the lead to 21-0.
Scarborough got the ball back again after an Eagles’ punt traveled just five yards and four plays and 1:41 into the second quarter, Garrard scored on a 2-yard run and Sendrowski added a two-point conversion rush.
Then, with time winding down before halftime, the Red Storm demonstrated they could march the field with a dazzling two-minute drive, as Panyi hit senior Cody Dudley for 41 yards, setting up a 3-yard TD pass to Garrard with just 11.5 seconds on the clock and Scarborough rolled into the half with a 36-0 advantage.
With a mercy rule running clock speeding things along in the second half, Panyi scored on runs of 52- and 59-yards to make it 50-0 after three quarters.
Then, in the fourth, with the Red Storm’s defense stifling Windham for good, Garrard scored his fifth touchdown, a 3-yard run, and Scarborough went on to a 57-0 victory.
The Red Storm got contributions from myriad sources in producing the largest-ever margin in a state final, extended their win streak to eight games, captured their first-ever Class A championship and their second Gold Ball, finished the season 10-1 and ended the Eagles’ campaign at 7-5 in the process.
“This is special,” said Scarborough coach Lance Johnson, who inherited a program in 2010 that couldn’t even sniff the postseason, then turned the Red Storm into contenders and now into state champions. “It means the culmination of a lot of hard work by great players, unbelievably supportive parents and all of our coaches. When you combine the athleticism and size we have with the support our community gives, you can make great things happen.”
After upsetting Thornton Academy in last year’s playoffs and reaching the regional final for the first time in Class A, Scarborough entered the 2017 season with plenty of expectations and with the exception of a minor hiccup, passed every test.
The Red Storm let a fourth quarter lead slip away in a 32-28 home loss to Thornton Academy back on Sept. 15 in week three, but won their other seven games by an average margin of 50-10.
As the top seed in Class A South, thanks in large part to a season-ending 35-14 victory at defending champion Bonny Eagle, Scarborough had a bye into the semifinal round, then sent fifth-ranked Sanford packing, 53-15, before avenging its regular season loss with an emphatic 49-7 victory over Thornton Academy in last weekend’s Class A South Final.
“It was stressful when we lost to TA, but beating them (in the regional final) boosted our confidence and we were really excited for the state game,” said Scarborough senior behemoth lineman Anthony Griffin.
With that win, Scarborough advanced to just its second-ever state final. In 2002, in Class B, the Red Storm, coached by Jack Flynn and featuring standouts by the names of DeMena, Hitchcock, Slovak and Valverde, held off Belfast, 14-12, to win the Gold Ball.
Windham, meanwhile, had taken part in two prior state finals, winning the program’s lone Class A title in 2009 (35-21 over Bangor) and losing to Thornton Academy in 2014 (35-14).
The Eagles then lost to Portland in both the 2015 and 2016 regional finals, but this year managed to be the last team standing in an unpredictable Class A North. Windham went just 4-4 in the regular season, but as the No. 4 seed for the postseason, eliminated fifth-ranked Cheverus (12-6), top-ranked Edward Little (21-12) and No. 6 Portland (42-6).
The Eagles and Red Storm met in Windham back on Oct. 6 and Scarborough dominated from start to finish, leading 52-7 at halftime en route to a 66-7 victory as Panyi threw three touchdown passes, Dudley ran for three scores and Garrard scored on two TD runs.
Prior to Saturday, the teams had no playoff history.
On a chilly day (38 degrees with a light wind), in front of a good sized crowd on both sides, the Red Storm didn’t need long to squash any Eagles’ upset hopes.
Scarborough won the opening coin toss and bucking recent custom, elected to take the ball and promptly got the jump.
Sendrowski took the opening kickoff at the Red Storm 20, found room on the left side and burst up the sideline until he was finally pushed out of bounds at the Windham 26 after a tone-setting gain of 54 yards.
“Coach emphasizes special teams,” Sendrowski said. “Field position is important. I knew I had to step it up. I don’t get the ball too much, so when I do, I want to make a difference.”
“That got us going,” Garrard said. “That got us momentum. (Jeremy’s) a great player who’s great on special teams.”
“Jeremy has been our heart and soul all season,” Johnson added. “The way he ran around the field today is how he is every day in practice. He plays hard and loves playing with his teammates. He usually makes big plays.
“We talked to the guys about getting off to a good start. That’s so important. We didn’t want Windham to be able to build off the momentum they’ve built the last few weeks.”
Garrard ran for four yards on Scarborough’s first offensive play and Flaker followed with a 10-yard pickup for a first down at the 12. After Garrard ran for six yards, he was held to one, but on third-and-3 from the 5, Garrard took the ball to the 1 and on the next snap, Garrard got the call again and he barreled into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown.
“We were loose at the beginning of the week,” Johnson said. “My father texted me one night and told me to tighten the screws, but they’re kids and they had a lot of pressure getting ready for TA or Bonny Eagle. We got them back focused. They weren’t going to get this close and not get it done. We handled (Windham) easily in the regular season, but it’s a state championship game and there were nerves. Getting that kickoff return and scoring settled us down.”
Sophomore Liam McDonnell added the extra point and with 9:08 to go in the opening stanza, the Red Storm enjoyed a 7-0 lead they would never relinquish.
Windham’s first offensive possession started on its 24, but the Eagles went three-and-out, as senior quarterback Tanner Bernier twice ran for three yards and on third-and-4, Griffin stopped junior Treva Valliere for no gain, forcing a punt.
Valliere punted for 35 yards, but after catching the ball at the Red Storm 35, Flaker brought the ball up the left side all the way to the Eagles’ 10 for a return of 55 yards.
“Coach stresses special teams and always wants to win special teams,” Griffin said. “With our quick guys, that helps us out.”
Again, Scarborough took advantage of a short field, needing just two plays to double the lead, as after senior Jaquan Seme ran for a yard, Garrard got the ball again and turned the corner on the left side and found paydirt for a 9-yard score with 6:33 left in the first period.
“Owen’s really good,” Panyi said. “He’s tough to bring down. He’s a grinder.”
McDonnell’s PAT pushed the lead to 14-0.
Windham got its initial first down on its next possession, as after junior Stuart Salom ran for five yards, Bernier hit senior Hunter Coffin for 19 yards to the 46, but Griffin brought Bernier down for a three-yard loss and Bernier threw a pair of incomplete passes. Coffin dropped back to punt, but after a high snap, he decided to try and run for the first down instead, only to be dropped at midfield and Scarborough took over with optimal field position again.
This time, the Red Storm needed just 49 seconds and two plays to extend the lead.
After a holding penalty backed Scarborough up to its 43, Panyi completed his first pass, a 47-yarder to senior Connor Kelly, which deflected off the fingertips of Windham sophomore Cameron Additon into Kelly’s waiting arms. Flaker got the ball on the next snap and he ran to the right, faked inside, then sped to the sideline and landed on the pylon for a 10-yard touchdown with 3:48 remaining in the first period. McDonnell’s extra point made the score 21-0.
The Eagles tried to answer, gaining a first down as Bernier ran for two yards, the Red Storm jumped offsides and Salom picked up three, but after a one-yard Salom run, Bernier threw incomplete and after a false start penalty, Bernier was sacked by sophomores Sean Shackford and Nathan Mars, forcing another punt.
This time, Coffin got the punt away, but it only went five yards and Scarborough started its next series at the Windham 41 with 47 seconds left in the frame.
In a drive that traversed the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, the Red Storm marched 41 yards in six plays and 2:28 to score again.
After Panyi hit Flaker for eight yards on a screen pass, Scarborough was backed up due to a holding penalty, but on the last snap of a first period which saw the Red Storm enjoy a 103-35 advantage in yardage, Dudley ran for 15 yards and a first down at the 24.
The second quarter began with a four-yard run by Garrard. After Flaker ran for 10 yards, setting up first-and-goal from the 10, Panyi kept the ball for eight yards and Garrard capped the drive with a two-yard run with 10:19 to go in the half. Sendrowski bobbled the snap on the extra point, but picked the ball up and ran around the left end in to the end zone for the two-point conversion, extending the advantage to 29-0.
Windham then embarked on its best drive of the game, but it ultimately ended with a turnover.
The Eagles started at their 28 and after Valliere ran for two yards and Bernier threw an incomplete pass, Bernier hit senior Nathan Watson for 13 yards on a slant for a first down. On the next play, Bernier found Coffin for 24 yards and a first down at the Scarborough 33. After the Red Storm jumped offsides, Bernier threw incomplete, then ran for three yards. After an illegal procedure penalty on Windham, Bernier burst free and wasn’t tackled until he reached the 8, but at the end of the run, Bernier fumbled and Mars recovered.
Flaker gave Scarborough some operating room by running for 14 yards, but after Panyi ran for one yard, then for five, he was pressured by senior Anthony Kilgallon and threw incomplete, forcing the Red Storm’s first punt.
With 5:31 remaining in the half, the Eagles started at the Scarborough 49, but they couldn’t take advantage of the good field position.
After Salom ran for two yards, Dudley sacked Bernier for a five-yard loss. Coffin then caught a pass for nine yards and on fourth down, Bernier hit Watson for seven more yards and a first down at the 36. Bernier was then sacked for a one-yard loss by senior Eric Quirk and followed that up with two incomplete passes and Windham had to punt.
After another nice return by Sendrowski, the Red Storm took over at their 35 with 2:08 left, but after Panyi ran for 16 yards, he was intercepted by Kilgallon, who returned the ball to the Scarborough 41.
Again, the Eagles couldn’t capitalize, as after moving to the 25 on a pass interference penalty, Bernier threw incomplete, Windham had an illegal receiver downfield, Bernier threw incomplete again and on fourth-and-15, Bernier scrambled and lost three yards, giving Scarborough the ball at its 27 with 49.9 seconds to go.
Panyi and his receivers then put on a dazzling two-minute (more precisely a 38-second) drill to put an emphatic punctuation mark on the first half.
Panyi got things started by hitting Dudley for 14 yards, then the duo connected for seven more to the 48. After a timeout, Kelly caught a pass for eight yards, moving the ball into Eagles’ territory at the 44. That set the stage for the big play, a 41-yard bomb down the right sideline to Dudley, who wasn’t tackled until he reached the 3. After a timeout, with 11.5 seconds on the clock, Panyi threw a quick out to Garrard, who waltzed into the end zone, capping a five-play march.
“I was asking Coach to throw the ball,” Panyi said. “That felt really good.”
McDonnell added the extra point and after Windham ran one play for no yardage, the game went to halftime with Scarborough firmly in command, 36-0.
The first 24 minutes saw Scarborough outgain Windham, 236 yards to 125. Panyi completed 7-of-9 passes for 128 yards and a score and gained 30 additional yards on the ground. Garrard scored four touchdowns and Flaker ran four times for 44 yards and a score.
By rule, with the margin more than 35 points, the clock ran in the second half, with the exception of after scores and penalties, or in the occasion of an injury.
The Eagles got the first possession of the third quarter and started at their 16. They got one first down, as Salom ran for three yards and the Red Storm were called for defensive holding, but a hold backed Windham up and after a pair of Bernier incompletions, Bernier was intercepted by Sendrowski, who brought the ball back to the Scarborough 48.
It took the Red Storm one play to strike again, as Panyi kept the ball and bulled his way through the defense en route to the end zone 52-yards away. With 7:24 remaining in the third, McDonnell added the PAT to make it 43-0.
Despite a 76-yard return by Bernier on the ensuing kickoff, Scarborough forced another turnover on the next Eagles’ possession, as after Bernier threw incomplete, then ran for four yards, Bernier was picked by junior Tyler Gobeil in the end zone.
The Red Storm then needed three plays to drive 80 yards to score once more.
After Garrard ran for 23 yards, then picked up nine, a holding penalty backed Scarborough up to its 41, but Panyi kept the ball again and again couldn’t be stopped, breaking a tackle and roaring into the end zone for a 59-yard scamper.
“I saw the read and I pulled the ball back and the hole opened up and I just had one guy to beat,” Panyi said.
“So many games this year, we couldn’t throw the ball much because it wouldn’t be sportsmanlike,” Johnson said. “(Zoltan’s) a very talented kid and he can run. He’s a great football player.”
With 2:04 remaining in the third period, McDonnell gave Scarborough 50 points with the extra point.
As the third quarter gave way to the fourth, Bernier hit Watson for two yards, then threw incomplete and was thrown for a two-yard loss by Red Storm senior Drew Nichols, forcing another punt that again resulted in a nice return, this one 33 yards by Flaker, which put the ball at the Windham 26.
It would take six plays and 3:27 for Scarborough to drive for its final score.
After Panyi lost four yards, Garrard got the yardage back. On third-and-10, Panyi pitched the ball to Garrard on the option and Garrard gained 18 yards for a first-and-goal at the 8. Flaker ran the ball to the 2 and after Garrard lost a yard, he scored his and his team’s final touchdown, on a 3-yard run. McDonnell’s PAT made the score 57-0 with 6:46 remaining.
The Eagles’ final possession saw Johnson pull his starters individually to big ovations. Starting at its 31, Windham did drive into Red Storm territory, but couldn’t avoid the shutout.
After Salom ran for two yards and Valliere gained four, Valliere ran for 15 yards to the Scarborough 48. Salom lost two yards, got the two yards back and after a fumbled exchange set up fourth down, Valliere ran for nine yards to move the chains, but the clock ran out and at 1:21 p.m., after nearly 15 years of futility and close calls, the Red Storm were Class A state champions by virtue of their 57-0 piece de resistance.
“This is amazing,” said Griffin, who hopes to play next year in college. “This was our goal all season. It’s unreal to win the school’s first Class A state championship. I’m going to be very sad to leave, but I’m excited to close on a happy note.”
“All of our hard work has paid off,” said Sendrowski, who still has some heads to turn this school year as one of the state’s top wrestlers. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. This year’s team meshed even more. We wanted to see everyone succeed. We focused on blocking and doing it for each other. It was a team effort that brought us together and that’s what wins championships.”
“We talked about winning a championship and it feels great to finally do it,” said Garrard. “There’s been a lot of hard work all along, from summer workouts to building team chemistry. It paid off. We knew we had to keep our foot on the gas pedal and we got the win. We got on a hot streak and that helped us a lot. Our chemistry made us special. We’ve been together since third grade. We played for each other and we came out on top.”
“This means everything to us,” said Panyi, who hopes to play Division I college football. “We’ve tried for a long time to get one. We couldn’t get by Bonny Eagle or TA, but this year, we only had to go through one of them. Football is a hard sport. You have to grind every week. We knew Windham’s a good team. We had to come out and show up. We had to win two of the three phases and I think we won all three. Special teams helped a lot. We didn’t have to drive the field. We just needed easy runs up the middle for touchdowns.”
“I didn’t look at the expectations as pressure,” Johnson added. “I had to get the guys to focus one week at a time. We all thought a little ahead, but I got them to play week-to-week. I just wanted to put the guys in position to be successful and let them go. I have so many good kids. Last year, we finally got some natural size and got bigger up front. Our athletes are big too.”
Scarborough’s 57-point win eclipsed Cheverus’ 52-point (65-13) victory over Lewiston in 1985. The Red Storm’s 57 points were third only to Cheverus and Winslow (62 points in a 62-14 win over Leavitt in the 2014 Class C Final) in state game history.
Scarborough finished with 394 yards of offense and overcame one turnover and seven penalties for 61 yards.
Garrard, the Fitzpatrick Trophy favorite who asserted after the game that it was likely his last time in a football uniform, finished with 88 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries. He also caught a 3-yard touchdown pass to finish with five total scores.
“I was just running the ball,” Garrard said. “Credit goes to the offensive line. They did a great job up front. There are great leaders on that front, Ben Hughes, Alex Bryer, Anthony Griffin.”
“Owen is a great kid,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t care if he gets five carries or 20. He just wants the team to do well.”
Panyi only threw nine times in his swan song, but he completed seven, good for 128 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Panyi did even more damage on the ground, gaining 137 yards and scoring twice on seven attempts.
Dudley caught three balls for 62 yards and Kelly had two receptions for 55 yards.
Flaker gained 50 yards and scored a TD on five rushes. He also caught a pass for 8 yards.
Seme had one carry for 1 yard.
Scarborough’s defense was stellar, allowing just 168 yards, pitching the first Class A state game shutout since Deering blanked Brunswick, 28-0, in 2003.
“Even when it was 14-0, that was enough,” Sendrowski said. “Our defense wasn’t going to give that up.”
“Through the season, people were down on our defense, but we knew we could get stronger and we did,” Garrard said.
“We weren’t even thinking about a shutout, we just wanted to win,” said Griffin. “Everyone worked together. We didn’t care who did well. We all wanted to contribute.”
“For the season, our first team defense only gave up seven or eight points a game,” Johnson added. “Bonny Eagle came in averaging 53 points a game and we held them to 14 at Bonny Eagle. Our first team shut out Thornton last week. We have some athletes. We can cover man-to-man at the back end and get more aggressive up front. (Assistant coach) Packy Malia did an unbelievable job coaching those guys. It has nothing to do with me. I stayed out of it. He had a unbelievable game plan against Bonny Eagle. That was the most crucial game of the year.”
Windham’s offense was led by Bernier, who ran for 29 yards on nine carries and completed 6-of-21 passes for 74 yards with a pair of interceptions.
Coffin had three receptions for 52 yards (he also ran once for 7) and Watson caught three balls for 22 yards.
Salom gained 16 yards on eight rushes.
Valliere picked up 30 yards on seven rushes.
The Eagles committed three turnovers and were flagged three times for 22 yards.
Scarborough was graced this fall by a senior class that wasn’t just laden with athleticism, but also with leadership and determination. It’s fair to say that Bryer, Dudley, Garrard, Griffin, Hughes, Kelly, Nichols, Panyi, Quirk, Seme, Sendrowski, Reece Lagerquist and Anthony Purvis will be very hard to replace.
“We had great senior leadership,” Johnson said. “They’re so talented and they’re a great group of kids. They played for each other. They wanted to come out and play hard. They pushed each other in practice and didn’t care who got the credit. They just loved football.”
The Red Storm will have a different look in 2018, but now that the program has reached the pinnacle, they expect to be right back in the hunt for another Gold Ball.
“The whole senior class was captains in our own way and we got a lot of help from the juniors and sophomores too,” Panyi said. “The team will be really good next year as well.”
“We’ll be a good team again next year,” Johnson said. “We might not have as many athletes as we had this year, but we’ll still have some athletes and we’ll be very physical.”
Scarborough senior quarterback Zoltan Panyi takes a snap.
Scarborough senior Cody Dudley cuts through a couple Windham defenders.
Scarborough senior Owen Garrard scores one of his five touchdowns.
Scarborough sophomore Jarret Flaker finds running room.
Scarborough senior Jaquan Seme knocks a pass away from Windham senior Nathan Watson.
Scarborough senior Zoltan Panyi races up the field as Windham junior Treva Valliere gives chase.
Scarborough seniors Anthony Griffin (standing) and Connor Kelly celebrate during the victory.
Scarborough coach Lance Johnson celebrates with senior Owen Garrard in the game’s waning moments.
The long coveted Gold Ball is heading to Scarborough High School.
2002 Class B
Scarborough 14 Belfast 12
2014 Class A
Thornton Academy 35 Windham 14
2009 Class A
Windham 35 Bangor 21