PORTLAND – If a special season is to be had this fall, the Deering football team knows every game matters.

On Friday night, at home, they knocked off South Portland 35-0 by going up early and taking advantage of field position.

Quarterback Jamie Ross rushed for three first-half scores and threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to John Hardy in the second half.

Rams running back Nick DeBiase had 108 yards on 17 carries and Mike Coombs had two fumble recoveries as Deering pushed its record to 5-1.

“The big thing we’re concerned with is not to have a letdown,” said Coach Greg Stilphen. “These players want to leave their mark on Deering football. They want to put it in print. They want the younger players to see. I’m pleased they get that.”

The Rams jumped to a 21-0 lead before halftime getting three scores from Ross, the do-it-all quarterback who also kicks and punts.

His first was a 9-yard run at 8:11 of the first quarter, capping a 68-yard, five-play drive that included a 41-yard reception by Renaldo Lowry and a 17-yard run by DeBiase.

Ross’ second score came at 2:49 of the first quarter. The Rams used strong field position after a fumble by South Portland on the punt return, recovered by Coombs.

Ross went 15 yards in five plays, finishing with a one-yard touchdown run.

The third, with 3:23 to play in the half, came as Ross scored on a 27-yard run, cutting right, then left and into the end zone to make it 21-0 with the extra point.

“We’re trying to mature as a team,” said DeBiase, who also had an interception. “We really need to do that and take it one step at a time.”

South Portland went to backup quarterback Jordan Muller for its last drive and drove into Deering territory for the first time but was unable to score. Deering broke up four straight pass attempts, and took over on downs.

Muller, a lefty, flashed a nice arm, but completed just 5 of 17 passes for 48 yards with two interceptions.

He replaced starting QB Tommy Ellis, who left in the first half with an injury.

“Jordan’s a very good quarterback and we expected that out of him,” said South Portland Coach Steve Stinson. “He’d been waiting for an opportunity.

“Deering was just absolutely outstanding. They made some big plays early and played with a strength and toughness that was at a level we couldn’t match.”

Deering went up 28-0 on Hardy’s score with 6 seconds to play in the third quarter. The drive went 78 yards and included a 37-yard run by DeBiase.

Hardy’s catch under coverage was impressive, said Ross.

“He was in the shadows last year, but is my favorite and a key target out there,” said Ross. “He’s really come up big this year.”

Deering’s final score came from backup quarterback Matt Flaherty. He took over on the South Portland 14, following a 25-yard interception return by Deering.

Flaherty ran it in on the second play, a 13-yard sprint to make it 35-0 with Ross’ extra point.

The only hint of a problem for Deering was its two personal fouls in the second half.

“We want to be known as a good team but also classy,” said Ross. “We pulled together and tightened the screws. But the personal fouls, there’s no need for it.”

Ross said his team is now focused on Westbrook in a homecoming game next week.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: jmenendez@pressherald.com