Scarborough rides big plays to win over Sanford in home opener

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Scarborough senior Jaquan Seme (11) is congratulated by classmate Reece Lagerquist after scoring a first half touchdown during the Red Storm’s 49-15 win over Sanford Friday night.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.


Scarborough 49 Sanford 15

Sa- 0 7 0 8- 15
Sc- 21 13 7 8- 49

First quarter
Sc- Flaker 86 kickoff return (McDonnell kick)
Sc- Seme 13 pass from McDonnell (McDonnell kick)
Sc- Dudley 3 run (McDonnell kick)

Second quarter
Sc- Garrard 29 run (kick blocked)
Sa- L. Bickford 13 pass from Emard (Gould kick)
Sc- Seme 27 pass from Cleary (McDonnell kick)

Third quarter
Sc- Flaker 25 run (McDonnell kick)

Fourth quarter
Sc- DeBenedetto 20 run (DeBenedetto rush)
Sa- Garnsey 2 run (Levine rush)

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s football team is a quarter of the way through its regular season schedule and has yet to break a sweat and with the biggest test of the season to date looming, the Red Storm are living up to their ample preseason accolades.

Friday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Scarborough hosted Sanford and while the Red Storm were without injured senior standout quarterback Zoltan Panyi, it didn’t take long for them put a stranglehold on the Spartans.

Sophomore speedster Jarett Flaker took the opening kickoff and brought it back 86 yards for a touchdown which put Scarborough on top to stay.

After forcing a fumble on Sanford’s first offensive snap, the Red Storm doubled their lead when sophomore quarterback Liam McDonnell found senior Jaquan Seme for a 13-yard TD.

Later in the first period, senior Cody Dudley scored on a 3-yard run to make it 21-0 Scarborough.

The Red Storm added a fourth touchdown early in the second quarter, as senior Owen Garrard scored on a 29-yard scamper. The extra point failed, but the lead was 27-0.

After the Spartans got on the board on a 13-yard pass from senior Ethan Emard to sophomore Leyton Bickford, Scarborough got another TD before the break, as sophomore Chase Cleary took advantage of his time under center to hit Seme from 27-yards out for a commanding 34-7 advantage.

Flaker showed off his nonpareil speed again in the third quarter, scoring on a 25-yard run and early in the fourth period, sophomore Salvatore DeBenedetto scored on a 4-yard run and added a two-point conversion for the Red Storm’s final points.

With plenty of reserves on the field, Sanford got one final TD and two-point conversion in the final moments, but Scarborough was able to put the finishing touches on a 49-15 victory.

The Red Storm improved to 2-0, dropped the Spartans to 0-2 and set up a delicious early-season showdown/playoff rematch next Friday when undefeated Thornton Academy comes to town.

“Getting up early made it easier to play,” said Red Storm coach Lance Johnson. “We have a lot of seniors who are talented and are leaders. They’ve won a lot of games. They’re a close-knit group. We’re lucky that we had guys step up and make plays.” 

High expectations

Scarborough has been competitive since Johnson took over as coach in 2010, but prior to last fall, the Red Storm hadn’t been able to get out of the semifinal round of the playoffs. Then, in 2016, Scarborough shocked defending state champion Thornton Academy in the Class A South semifinals before losing to eventual champion Bonny Eagle in the regional final.

With almost every key contributor from that squad back, the Red Storm are rightly viewed as a favorites this fall for the first time since they joined Class A way back in 2003 (the year after Scarborough won the Class B championship). 

The Red Storm impressed in their opener last weekend, scoring 43 first half points en route to a 43-0 win at Deering.

Sanford went 5-3 in 2016, beating Deering in the quarterfinals before losing to Bonny Eagle in the semifinals. The Spartans began the new season with a 48-0 home loss to Bonny Eagle last weekend.

Entering play on a pleasant Friday evening (64 degrees with light winds), Scarborough had beaten Sanford in nine of 14 meetings, including the previous four (see sidebar, below).

The Spartans sought their first victory over the Red Storm since Sept. 5, 2014 (29-14 in Scarborough), but Scarborough managed to seize control of the game early and didn’t look back.

Sanford won the opening coin toss, but deferred possession to the second half and as a result, fell behind immediately.

Flaker, a champion sprinter in track, started the game with a bang, taking the kickoff at the 14, cutting up the middle, then as soon as he spotted a hole, he accelerated and left the pursuit in his wake, racing 86 yards to the end zone just 11 seconds in.

“I just saw green grass,” Flaker said. “I saw a hole and ran full speed. It felt good. It was my first varsity kickoff return for a touchdown. It helped us to get off to such a fast start.”

“(Jarett) can really run,” Johnson said. “I saw it open up for him and it was just a wind sprint for him. No one will beat him in a sprint, that’s for sure.” 

McDonnell added the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Spartans fumbled and Scarborough recovered at the Sanford 27, setting the stage for another score.

The Red Storm needed five plays and 2 minutes, 5 seconds to find the end zone.

After Garrard ran for 13 yards on first down, a false start backed Scarborough up five yards. Dudley was held to no gain on a sweep, Garrard ran for six yards and McDonnell threw incomplete, setting up fourth-and-9, where McDonnell found Seme on a quick slant and Seme broke a tackle and fought his way into the end zone for a 13-yard TD reception with 9:39 to go in the opening quarter.

McDonnell’s PAT extended the quick lead to 14-0.

The visitors were finally able to run an offensive play with 9:32 on the clock. After Emard moved the chains with an 11-yard burst, junior Jordan Giroux kept the ball for 15 yards, setting up a first down at the Red Storm’s 32. The drive went awry, however, as the next snap went well over Giroux’s head for a 19-yard loss and on the next play, Leyton Bickford’s pass was intercepted by Scarborough junior Tyler Gobeil at the Scarborough 24.

That set the stage for a 76-yard Red Storm drive, which needed 11 plays and 4:55.

Runs of seven yards by Garrard and five by Dudley moved the chains. After Seme was thrown for a two-yard loss and a false start penalty was followed by an incomplete pass to set up third-and-17 at the 29, Dudley made a sensational diving pass for a 34 yard reception to the Sanford 37. Two Garrard runs chewed up 12 more yards and after McDonnell scrambled for a yard, a nice block from Dudley sprang Seme for 17 yards, setting up first-and-goal at the 5. After Garrard ran for two yards, Dudley did the rest, taking a handoff, waiting for a Garrard block, then bursting in for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:54 remaining in the opening stanza. McDonnell’s extra point extended the lead to 21-0.

The Spartans’ next drive was short-circuited by a holding penalty and a sack by senior Eric Quirk.

After a nice punt return from senior Jeremy Sendrowski set Scarborough up at the Sanford 38, McDonnell kept the ball for nine yards and on the next snap, Garrard burst up the gut and didn’t stop until he crossed the goal line 29 yards away. With 11:02 to play in the first half, McDonnell’s PAT was blocked, but the Red Storm had a commanding 27-0 advantage.

The Spartans crossed midfield on their next series, as Bickford threw a ball up for grabs and Giroux came down with it for 26 yards to the Scarborough 43. When Giroux hit Carson Bickford for 18 yards, Sanford was at the 25, but after a four-yard run by Emard, Giroux threw a pair of incomplete passes and on fourth down, Emard did the same, giving the Red Storm the ball back at their 21.

Scarborough hoped to score again, but a pair of penalties backed it up and on fourth-and-1 from the 30, Garrard was thrown for a three-yard loss.

Sanford took over at the Red Storm 27 with 6:21 on the clock and four plays and 1:15 later, got in the end zone for the first time this season.

After a pass interference penalty on Scarborough moved the ball to the 13, Leyton Bickford caught Emard’s jump ball in the end zone for a 13-yard TD. Senior Marcus Gould added the PAT and with 5:06 left before halftime, the Red Storm’s lead was cut to 27-7.

Scarborough would start driving again as Cleary took over under center.

Runs of 11-yards by Dudley and 25-yards by Garrard and a 10-yard pass from Cleary to senior Reece Lagerquist put the ball at the Sanford 29. Dudley then ran in for a touchdown, but an illegal shift penalty wiped it out and eventually the Red Storm had to punt.

The Spartans gave the ball right back with under a minute left, when Emard fumbled and junior Connor Oliver recovered for the hosts at the Sanford 27.

Scarborough then put another touchdown on the board.

After Dudley ran for 11 yards and a bad snap gave the yards back, Cleary found Seme in the right corner of the end zone with 5 seconds on the clock for a 27-yard score. This time, McDonnell’s extra point was good and the Red Storm took a 34-7 lead to halftime.

Scarborough had a 211-99 edge in yardage in the first half. Garrard led the way with 103 yards and one TD on a dozen carries. Only seven penalties for 47 yards prevented the Red Storm from leading by even more.

Sanford got the ball to start the second half, but after picking up one first down, Giroux was intercepted by Oliver at the Scarborough 19 and Oliver brought it back 55 yards with a flourish to set up a first down at the Spartans’ 26.

After an illegal procedure penalty, McDonnell led another scoring drive, handing the ball off to Flaker and Garrard for three-yards apiece, before giving it to Flaker again and this time, Flaker burst through a hole to the left and ran 25-yards for the touchdown.

“I saw a guy cut up, so I cut back in and I saw an opening to the pylon and I took it full speed again,” Flaker said.

McDonnell’s PAT with 8:08 left in the third made it 41-7.

After Sanford’s next drive was ended by a sack courtesy Red Storm junior Andrew Granzier, a bad snap on a punt gave Scarborough the ball at the Spartans’ 43.

The teams would trade punts and as the third period gave way to the fourth, Scarborough drove for its final TD with Cleary under center.

A nine-yard Cleary scramble put the ball at the 15. After Granzier moved the ball to the 4, DeBenedetto did the rest, scoring on a burst up the middle before he added the two-point conversion for a 49-7 lead with 8:43 remaining.

That score induced a running clock, but Sanford didn’t roll over and drove 76 yards in 10 plays over 5:50, getting a 2-yard TD run from senior John Garnsey. Sophomore Xavier Levine added the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 49-15 and ending the running clock with 1:55 to go.

Scarborough fumbled the ball away, but got the ball back on downs, then ran one final play to bring the curtain down on its 49-15 victory.

“Credit to Sanford,” Johnson said. “Those kids play really hard. (Head coach) Mike Fallon and his coaches do a great job. They’re quality people and the kids play hard for them. They fell behind, but kept competing. Our kids were able to stay calm and did what they had to do.”

The Red Storm finished with 286 yards. McDonnell ran for 12 yards and completed 3-of-5 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. Cleary picked up 18 yards on the ground and completed 2-of-4 passes for 37 yards and a score.

“They both really stepped up tonight,” said Flaker.

“We used two sophomores at quarterback tonight,” Johnson said. “They both played well and showed great composure.”

Flaker didn’t touch the ball a lot, but made the most of his opportunities, scoring on the dramatic opening kickoff return, as well as rushing for 27 yards and a TD on four carries.

“I just try to take advantage of my touches because (Owen) can run everyone over and Cody is really fast too,” Flaker said.

Garrard led the way with 106 yards and a TD on 13 rushes.

Dudley had 30 yards and scored a touchdown on seven attempts. He also caught a pass for 34 yards.

Seme had two receptions for 40 yards and a TD.

Lagerquist had two receptions for 27 yards.

The Red Storm did turn the ball over once and were penalized 10 times for 62 yards.

“We had too many penalties for the second week in a row, so we have stuff we need to clean up,” Johnson said. 

Sanford finished with 215 yards, but turned the ball over four times.

Let’s get ready to rumble

Last Nov. 5, Scarborough went to Saco and stunned the defending Class A champion Golden Trojans, 36-29, thanks to a breathtaking late rally. That comeback was paced by Panyi, who plans to be back in action next week.

“(Zoltan) got a little dinged up, but he’ll be fine,” Johnson said. “I expect him to play next week.”

Thornton Academy, while it has some holes to fill this fall, has gotten off to another strong start by dominating host Massabesic (46-6) and Friday, rolling past visiting Deering, 55-12.

The Red Storm have never beaten the Golden Trojans in a game played in Scarborough or in the regular season, but they will look to solidify their status as the team to beat in the state’s most talented region.

“I think we’re ready, we just have to play hard and execute,” Flaker said. 

“It’s a big game for us and a big game for them,” Johnson said. “We try to be consistent each day and be the best we can be. Our goal was to get to 2-0 this week. Next week, our goal will be to get to 3-0. We’ll keep getting better. They have some new faces, but they have some old faces too. They have athletes. Will Mitchell is a really good quarterback. They’ll be ready to play. They’ll want revenge from last year. They’re a great program. It will be a good game.” 

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

Scarborough sophomore Jarett Flaker returns the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to put the Red Storm ahead to stay.

Scarborough senior running back Owen Garrard gets a block from junior Zach Reed on Sanford junior Adrian Brooks.

Scarborough senior Jaquan Seme tries to elude Sanford sophomore James Meggison.

Scarborough sophomore Liam McDonnell scrambles as Sanford senior Michael Lunny gives chase.

Sanford junior Jordan Giroux leaps over Scarborough senior Jeremy Sendrowski to make a catch.

Scarborough senior Cody Dudley finds running room. 

Scarborough senior Owen Garrard is congratulated by classmate Jaquan Seme after a touchdown run.

Previous Scarborough-Sanford results

Scarborough 21 @ Sanford 12

@ Scarborough 37 Sanford 15
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 28 Sanford 0

Sanford 29 @ Scarborough 14
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 42 Sanford 35

@ Sanford 21 Scarborough 6

Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 42 Sanford 16

@ Sanford 23 Scarborough 12

@ Scarborough 14 Sanford 0

@ Sanford 7 Scarborough 0

Scarborough 12 @ Sanford 7

@ Scarborough 27 Sanford 9

Sanford 28 @ Scarborough 7

Scarborough 20 @ Sanford 19

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