Deering’s Robbie Dacey breaks free for a touchdown in Friday’s 42-14 home win over South Portland.
Cheverus’ Dominic Casale prepares to make a tackle during the Stags’ 17-14 win at Edward Little Friday.
For the first time this autumn, all three city football teams were victorious on the same weekend.
Defending Class A South champion Portland improved to 3-1 with its third successive victory, 36-7, over visiting Oxford Hills.
Deering snapped a two-game skid and improved to 2-2 with a 42-14 home win over South Portland.
Cheverus held on for dear life to beat host Edward Little, 17-14, and improve to 3-1.
Prior to Portland’s home game against Oxford Hills Saturday, it was learned that the knee injury to senior standout Nick Archambault was dire and that he will miss the rest of the season. That put the onus on Dylan Bolduc, the hero of the Bulldogs’ win over Windham the previous week, and Jake Knop, who missed two of the first three games with injuries of his own.
After a scoreless first quarter, Portland went ahead to stay when quarterback Issiah Bachelder hooked up with Ethan Hoyt for a 12-yard score. The Bulldogs went up, 9-0, when the Vikings snapped the ball out of the end zone for a safety, then grabbed a 16-0 lead on an 11-yard TD run by Knop. Oxford Hills returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but a Quinn Clarke field goal from 27 yards gave Portland a 19-7 halftime lead. Clarke added a second field goal (from 25 yards out) in the third period and in the fourth, Bolduc had a 15 yard TD run and Bachelder connected with Griffin Foley for a 12-yard score to account for the 36-7 final score.
Bolduc finished with 139 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, while Knop picked up with 103 yards and a TD on 14 rushes. Bachelder went 6-for-12 for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Foley had three catches for 58 yards and a score and Hoyt caught two passes for 22 yards and a TD.
“Issiah threw the ball well,” said Portland coach Jim Hartman. “The backs ran well. We are still adjusting to the loss of Nick, but Dylan was a stud in all three phases of the game. He is really stepping up. The O-line, led by Chales Egeland, Dylan Wyke and Nick Giaquinto, had a solid night. It was a great night for our defense. Oxford Hills had been running the ball well and our defense only gave up 78 total yards. After their first drive of 15 plays, they only ran 23 plays the rest of the night.”
The Bulldogs (second in the Class A North Crabtree Points standings) have a showdown at top-ranked Cheverus Saturday afternoon. Last year, Portland held off the visiting Stags, 16-14. The Bulldogs haven’t won at Cheverus since 2005 (40-7).
Cheverus has found a way to win three close games in the first half the season, with the third coming Friday night in Auburn.
After a scoreless first period, quarterback Jack Casale hit Griffin Watson for a 63-yard score, but the Red Eddies pulled even, 7-7, at halftime. The Stags hit it big through the air again in the third quarter, as Casale hit Dominic Casale for a breathtaking 97-yard score.
“I think our O-line did a great job,” Jack Casale said. “I just threw one up there, Dom made a great catch, but our O-line held, that’s what really gave it to us. They held their blocks and we were able to run stuff off that.”
Again, Edward Little drew even at 14-14, but after Jack Casale found Watson for 58 yards, placekicker Chandler Hartigan made a 22-yard field goal for a 17-14 Stags’ lead.
The Red Eddies turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter when they had moved inside the 10-yard line, fumbling near the goal line, then throwing an interception to Kieran Conley, which clinched Cheverus’ win.
The Stags will look to become a major factor in the region when they host Portland Saturday.
Deering, which won its season opener at home over Massabesic, then lost at Sanford and Thornton Academy, returned to form Friday when South Portland paid a visit. Last year, the Rams beat the host Red Riots, 27-14.
Friday, Deering struggled for a quarter, then hit its stride.
After a great catch by receiver Mason Kaserman, the Rams went on top to stay on a 4-yard run Nate Richards in the second quarter. By halftime, Deering’s lead was 14-0 thanks to a 22-yard scoring pass from Richards to Robbie Dacey.
The Rams then wore down the undermanned Red Riots in the second half, extending their lead to 28-0 after three quarters, thanks to a 4-yard touchdown run from Ryan Walsh, and a 4-yard TD scamper from Richards.
When Richards broke a 45 yard scoring run with 10:25 remaining, a mercy rule running clock was triggered, but to its credit, South Portland refused to go quietly, as it answered on a long touchdown pass. After Deering scored its final touchdown, a 31-yard scamper from Caysey Anthony, South Portland got a long TD run to account for the 42-14 final score.
“This group is a little different from my group from last year and I challenged them tonight,” said Rams second-year coach Jason Jackson. “They dialed in and handled business.”
Deering finished with 428 yards. Richards ran for 151 yards and three TDs on 14 carries. He also completed 5-of-6 passes for 115 yards and another touchdown.
“I like shotgun quarterback, because I can run or pass,” Richards said. “It’s all new for me because last year, I was either wide receiver or running back. I enjoy it.”
Kaserman had two receptions for 66 yards, Raffaele Salamone caught two balls for 25 yards, Dacey had the one touchdown catch for 22 yards and Caysey Anthony had a catch for 8 yards.
Isaiah Anthony picked up 64 yards on five rushes, while Caysey Anthony ran for 37 yards and a TD on five carries. Walsh also scored a touchdown, gaining 58 yards on eight attempts.
“We do it by committee for sure,” Jackson said. “We have some backs and our offensive line showed up tonight. It was nice to see them do their thing and get a push.”
Deering (fourth in the Class A South Crabtrees at press time) has a huge test Friday when it goes to 4-0 Bonny Eagle, a team the Rams lost to, 42-7, at home during the 2015 regular season, then nearly upset in last year’s semifinals before dropping a 20-19 decision.
“We’re mentally young and that can be fixed,” Richards said. “There’s always room for improvement. We want to finish strong. Bonny Eagle is a big game. Hopefully we’ll show what we can do .We have to tighten a lot of things up against a good team like that.”
Sun Journal assistant sports editor Lee Horton contributed to this story