After strong regular seasons, the Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland football teams are all playoff bound.
In Western Class A, South Portland finished with a tough 10-6 home loss to rival Portland in the “Battle of the Bridge,” but the Red Riots still earned the No. 3 seed with a 5-3 record and will host No. 6 Biddeford in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
Against the Bulldogs, South Portland scored first, when quarterback Nick Mezzanotte hit Hayden Owen for a touchdown pass. The point-after kick was blocked and the Red Riots wouldn’t score again. Portland took the lead on a short run after a long punt return, then added a field goal in the fourth period. South Portland had its chances in the second half, but couldn’t answer and its all-time edge over the Bulldogs fell to 53-42 with three ties.
Friday, the Red Riots welcome a Biddeford squad they beat, 42-28, just two weeks ago down in Biddeford. The programs, who were once the state’s gold standard, haven’t met in the playoffs since the 1999 semifinals (a 28-27 South Portland win en route to its most recent Gold Ball). The teams have split 10 prior meetings.
Scarborough, which dug an 0-4 hole this fall, extended its win streak to four last weekend with a thrilling 22-21, come-from-behind win at Noble to improve to 4-4 and earn the No. 4 seed and the right to host fifth-ranked Sanford in the quarterfinals.
The Red Storm lost at home to the Spartans, 29-14, in the season opener Sept. 5. Scarborough beat Sanford in the lone prior playoff encounter, 42-16, in the 2012 quarterfinals.
In Western C, Cape Elizabeth ended its season on a four-game win streak, prevailing at rival Mountain Valley for the first time, 21-0, in the finale.
On the second possession of the game, quarterback Jeb Boechenstein hit Ben Ekedahl for a touchdown pass and the only points the Capers would need.
”We came into the game wanting to throw,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Aaron Filieo, who used running backs Riley Pillsbury (175 yards, 27 carries) and Nate Weare (84 yards) to control the clock. ”We were able to execute that early pass play and a couple runs, but Mountain Valley did a good job of stepping up and taking it away from us.”
Despite a huge advantage in time of possession, the Capers led only 7-0 at halftime. Weare ran for a 31-yard touchdown to complete a 73-yard, nine-play drive on Cape Elizabeth’s initial drive of the second half. A 16-yard TD run by Devon Stanford in the fourth quarter accounted for the final score.
The 6-2 Capers wound up fourth in the region and will host No. 5 Yarmouth in a compelling quarterfinal round tilt. On Oct. 10, Cape Elizabeth let a 28-6 fourth quarter lead slip away at the Clippers, but Ekedahl kicked a field goal at the horn to allow the Capers to escape, 31-28. Last fall, in the only prior playoff meeting between the schools, Cape Elizabeth won at Yarmouth, 27-14.
Sun Journal staff writer Bob McPhee contributed to this story.
South Portland quarterback Nick Mezzanotte eludes the tackle of Portland’s Cedric Smith during Saturday’s “Battle of the Bridge.” The Red Riots lost, 10-6.