It’s always a thrill for the youth football teams to play a short exhibition during halftime of a high school game. But that’s not why Ethan Hamilton, 9, of Buxton was grinning ear-to-ear and bouncing with excitement.

When Ethan’s team was done playing during halftime of the South Portland-Bonny Eagle game in Standish, Ethan ran off the field to the greatest surprise. Waiting for Ethan was his father, Scott, who just arrived home on leave from his Army tour in Afghanistan.

MAYBE WE SHOULD go back to the old days at cross country meets, when popsicle sticks are handed out to the finishers, each stick marked with the place in which the runner finished.

The coach gathered the sticks, tabulated the score and, presto, the results were known in a matter of minutes.

These days, computer tabulation is the way to go. The competitors finish, and soon a computer screen displays a list of the runners, their school, place and time.

Sounds great except when the computer doesn’t work or, in the case of the Southwestern Classic on Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Area in Cumberland, when generator problems cause computer trouble.

While teams left Twin Brook not knowing which teams won, the dedicated people manning the finish line went to work on eventually getting the results out.

The boys’ race was the biggest surprise. Gorham was expected to contend and ended up winning — but by only one point over Greely, 115 to 116. Favored Scarborough, which was hampered with illness and injury, finished fifth, trailing York and Massabesic.

The winning time for Silas Eastman of Fryeburg Academy was confirmed at 16 minutes, 42 seconds. He was followed by Waynflete’s Abshir Horor (17:17), Scarborough’s Nick Morris (17:26), Sanford’s Bryant Perkins (17:36.17) and Gorham’s Logan Marshall (17:36.54).

Sam Johnston (17:47) led Greely with a ninth-place finish.

The girls’ race had few surprises. Favored Cheverus won with 62 points, paced by three runners in the top five — Emily Durgin (second, 20:14), Fiona Hendry (third, 20:35) and Shannon Conley (fifth, 20:44).

Massabesic, led by Victoria Hurlburt’s seventh-place finish, was second with 92 points, followed by Windham (103) and York (150).

Kennebunk’s Abbey Leonardi won in 18:41. Greely’s Kirstin Sandreu-ter placed third (20:35).

TWO AWARDS WERE handed out after the football game between Portland and Cheverus. The John Duffy Award for Portland’s top player went to Caleb Kenney, who rushed for 126 yards on nine carries. He also was a standout on defense.

The Bob Duffy Award, for the top Cheverus player, went to Evan Jendrasko. Jendrasko scored the Stags’ first touchdown on a 64-yard run and finished with 145 yards on 11 carries while also playing a strong game on defense.

Cheverus scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to rally for a 22-19 win and remain unbeaten.

ANOTHER TEAM THAT rallied for a win was Cape Elizabeth, which trailed Falmouth 21-7 at halftime. Cape pulled out a 24-21 victory and improved to 4-0.

After Cape went ahead with 1:28 remaining, it still had to hold the Yachtsmen from moving into field-goal range for the tying points. On first down, defensive end Connor McAleney sacked Falmouth quarterback Zach Alexander for a 10-yard loss. Alexander would complete a couple passes, but not enough to get his team into field-goal range.

McAleney, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior, was part of Cape’s defense that shut down Falmouth’s big play offense in the second half.

McAleney is the son of Ed McAleney, a standout at South Portland High and the University of Massachusetts in the 1970s.

THORNTON ACADEMY HAS steam rolled to a 4-0 start in football, outscoring opponents 201-13. After the Trojans defeated Sanford 41-6 Friday night, Coach Kevin Kezal talked about avoiding the perception of running up scores.

Thornton’s starters have been out of the game in the third quarter of each of the last two games.

“Your kids have got to play,” he said. “We’re going to have big games down the road where your kids are going to play 48 minutes. You see articles in the paper and editorials in the paper we’ve got to play our varsity kids.

“Certainly we’re not trying to run up any scores, but our kids have got to play.

“They work hard all week and they need to get their reps.”

SANFORD DROPPED to 2-2 after the loss, and Coach Mike Fallon said the rest of the season will be like the playoffs.

“We’re halfway through our season, we’re 2-2, we’re not exactly where we wanted to be,” he said. “But we’re in position where we’re going to approach it as we’ve got four games left, and four games that are winnable. Every game is going to have playoff implications.

“All four games are going to be playoff games. It’s going to be a dogfight for a bunch of those lower (playoff) spots and we’re going to be in the mix of that dogfight.”

ORLANDO LOWRY of Deering was on crutches at the end of the Rams’ 21-7 win against defending Class A champion Windham on Friday night.

Lowry, who rushed for 16 yards on two carries, left the game with 5:59 left in the second quarter.

Lowry is listed as a wide receiver but has made valuable contributions to the Rams’ running game following the loss to injury of halfback Trey Thomes earlier in the season.

— Staff Writers Kevin Thomas, Tom Chard, Mike Lowe and Paul Betit contributed to this report.