There are a number of scenarios that will dictate where the eight teams that make the Western Class A playoffs finish in the Crabtree standings, but one thing is certain.

The winner of the Deering at Cheverus game Saturday will be the No. 1 seed and will have home-field advantage throughout the regional playoffs.

A Deering victory could result in five teams with 7-1 records. Based on the Crabtree formula, which measures strength of schedule by tabulating a team’s winning percentage as well as that of its opponents, the Rams would enjoy the edge for the No. 1 spot.

Deering’s crossover opponent was Thornton Academy, a much stronger opponent than the York County teams Cheverus and Bonny Eagle played. Cheverus beat Kennebunk and Bonny Eagle handled Massabesic.

Also, Cumberland County teams had the edge over York County teams in crossover games.

A Cheverus win would make the discussion moot and give the Stags the top spot with an 8-0 record. The remaining seven spots could be jumbled based on what happens in the other games. A loss could drop Deering to No. 4.

The other important game with regard to playoff positioning will be tonight’s Thornton Academy at Biddeford game. Thornton would move to second in the rankings with a victory.

Biddeford, also 6-1, has a lot at stake besides wanting to stop Thornton’s winning streak in the rivalry game at four.

“We think we can be as high as No. 3 or fall as low as No. 6,” said Biddeford Coach Scott Descoteaux.

In other games involving possible playoff teams, No. 4 Bonny Eagle hosts Gorham; No. 6 Scarborough plays at Kennebunk; No. 7 South Portland hosts No. 9 Portland, and No. 8 Windham is at home to Westbrook.

“A win gets us into the playoffs,” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins.

The defending Class A state champion Eagles beat Portland 20-14 a week ago to keep their playoff hopes alive.

But most eyes will be on Deering and Cheverus, and their quest for No. 1 at Boulos Stadium at 12:30 p.m.

“To be in a game like this is every young football player’s dream,” said Deering Coach Greg Stilphen.

A year ago, Cheverus was headed for the playoffs, reaching the regional final before losing a close game at Windham on a wet and sloppy field.

Deering was reeling with five straight losses after opening with two wins.

The Rams’ turnaround is no surprise to Stilphen.

“I knew going into the season that we would have a pretty good football team,” he said.

“I’ve been very pleased with our progress. We present teams with problems. Our quarterback (Jamie Ross) is having an amazing season. Being a spread team, we’re more of a pass first, run second team.”

Stilphen said having running back Trey Thomes returning to the offense will help the team’s depth.

Thomes, who suffered broken bones in his arm in the first preseason scrimmage, saw his first action on defense against Thornton Academy on Oct. 2.

While acknowledging his team’s game breakers, Stilphen said Cheverus also has several of its own.

These teams know each other about as well as two teams could.

“I’ve watched all of their games and I’m sure they’ve done the same to us. Cheverus has some good athletes,” said Stilphen.

“Their fullback, Evan Jendrasko, hits the hole quickly and was an all-conference player last season. Peter Gwilym, the quarterback, is a great runner and a special player both ways. Spencer Cooke is a breakaway threat at running back, and Zach Dulac is a really good player in the line and at linebacker.

“They have their athletes and we have ours. We’re going to have to play really solid football and stay focused.

 

PORTLAND AND South Portland will play their 95th Battle of the Bridge game Saturday at South Portland in a series that began in 1907.

The series was sporadic until 1924, when the schools began playing every year.

South Portland leads the rivalry with 51 wins. The Bulldogs have 40. There have been three ties.

The Red Riots own the longest winning streak with nine straight from 1985-93. Portland won seven straight games, which included a playoff game, from 2001-06.

“We’ve had some great games in the last three years,” said South Portland Coach Steve Stinson. “The game means a lot to both cities.”

Last year’s game at Fitzpatrick Stadium certainly had plenty of action. Portland rallied for a 36-33 victory.

Two years ago, the game went into overtime, with Portland winning, 21-14.

The Riots won at Fitzpatrick in 2007.

Last season’s loss knocked the Red Riots out of playoff contention. That won’t happen this year, because the Riots, with four wins and a chance for a fifth, will be in the playoffs win or lose.

South Portland is seventh in the Crabtree standings.

Portland has an outside shot of making the playoffs but will need a lot of help. The Bulldogs need a victory against the Riots, a Biddeford win over Thornton and a Westbrook win over Windham.

“We’ll know by Saturday if we still have a chance of getting into the playoffs,” said Portland Coach Mike Bailey.

Two weeks ago against Deering, the Riots lost starting quarterback Tommy Ellis and backup Jordan Muller to broken hands.

They both had surgery the following Tuesday.

Michael Salvatore has done a good job filling in, including throwing a 40-yard touchdown pass to Dan Medici in a 35-28 victory against Gorham last Saturday.

“Going into the preseason, the three quarterbacks were even in terms of ability,” said Stinson. “We really didn’t know who was going to start.”

Ellis got the start and was outstanding at running the offense. He also was a threat as a runner, with his speed and ability to make tacklers miss.

After missing his sophomore and junior years with injuries, Ellis had hoped to play a full senior season.

“Tommy had an outstanding year,” said Stinson. “He has all the intangibles. With Michael Salvatore, we have a strong player who we are fully confident with running the offense. We’re lucky to have depth at the quarterback position. Most teams don’t have that.”

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]