STANDISH – Cameron McKague hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Matt Rollins with eight seconds left to give Bonny Eagle a 21-14 win over visiting South Portland on Friday night.

The score capped a 58-second drive that began at midfield and was kept alive with a 17-yard pass to Jeff Amell on fourth-and-14.

The Scots (4-0) had been averaging over 41 points a game and faced their first close encounter. The game was tied 14-14 at halftime.

“Going into the second half, we haven’t had a game like that,” Rollins said. “The coaches told us that if want to win the championship — like we plan on doing — we need to be tested and rise above it.”

Rollins completed 13 of 26 passes for 131 yards. He also rushed for 52 yards. Halfback Nick Adkins rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries.

Cameron provided the big plays, four passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns. He also set up the Scots’ first score with a 39-yard punt return.

South Portland (2-2) struck with two big plays. Quarterback Tommy Ellis completed 7 of 8 passes for 188 yards, including TD throws of 80 and 72 yards.

Despite the heartbreaking defeat, South Portland Coach Steve Stinson was thrilled with his team’s play, especially after a 45-21 loss to Cheverus last week.

“This was a gut-check for us. We wanted to show a heartbeat,” Stinson said. “The kids played at a high level all night.”

On the second play of the game, Stephen Hodge bolted past the Scots’ secondary and did not break stride as he gathered in Ellis’ pass and raced to the end zone. The extra point kick was no good.

On South Portland’s first punt, McKague sprinted toward the line drive kick, caught it and took off for the right sideline, finally being caught on the 6. Ethan Thorne ran it in from there and Nate Martel’s kick made it 7-6.

The Red Riots went backward with their next possession, with Bonny Eagle linebacker Garrett Hubner recording the first of his three quarterback sacks.

After a short punt, the Scots set up on the South Portland 29. They drove in, finalized by Rollins’ 7-yard pass to McKague on a quick slant.

The Riots responded with Ellis’ 72-yard pass to Logan Gaddar, streaking down the left sideline. Ellis hit Hodge for the 2-point conversion and a 14-14 score.

The defenses took over from there. South Portland gained 69 yards in the second half.

The Scots had 12 yards rushing in the second half.

“Give them credit, we could not sustain a drive,” Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper said.

It was looking like overtime when Bonny Eagle faced fourth-and-14 on the South Portland 41 with 31 seconds left.

Rollins threw to Amell, cutting across the middle. He then hit Chris Hale for 15 yards.

Thorne gained 6 more yards, setting up the McKague’s TD reception.

Desite the loss, the Red Riots are feeling confident.

“We can be excited in the weight room (today),” Stinson said.

“We’re 2-2 and have taken on the two best teams in the conference.”

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at: 791-6411 or at [email protected]