PORTLAND – A week ago in its showdown victory against Bonny Eagle, Cheverus used a botched punt by the Scots to prevail.

On Saturday, in another showdown game, this time against Deering, the Stags didn’t need any fortunate bounces.

Not at all.

Cheverus simply dominated from start to finish in a 44-14 victory before a large crowd at Boulos Stadium.

In finishing an unbeaten regular season and gaining the No. 1 seed for the Western Class A playoffs, the Stags made a clear statement. The best team in the region resides on Ocean Avenue in Portland, and contenders will have to go there and win.

Cheverus (8-0) will meet No. 8 Windham (4-4) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in a regional quarterfinal. The Stags beat Windham 28-0 on Sept. 10.

“We just felt like we didn’t play that well against Bonny Eagle,” said halfback Spencer Cooke.

“We missed too many tackles. We worked on getting better and it showed.”

Cheverus amassed close to 500 yards while limiting the usually tough Rams to under 300.

Nearly all of Deering’s yardage came on short passes. Quarterback Jamie Ross completed 16 of 22 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown, but could muster only 26 yards rushing, well below his average, on 14 carries.

“We played physical and disciplined football,” said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram. “We made some nice plays. The offensive line has matured.”

On the top seed, Wolfgram said: “One goal is behind us.”

Deering (6-2) had no answer for the running combination of Cooke and Evan Jendrasko, who lit up the Rams for 355 yards rushing. Cooke scored three touchdowns and gained 195 yards; Jendrasko had one touchdown and gained 160 yards. They were co-winners of the Charley White Award as the top Cheverus player.

“It feels great to share the award with Evan,” said Cooke. “We’re best friends.”

Cheverus got a taste of the regional final in a close loss at Windham last year.

“Last year’s team was great, but I think we’re better prepared this year. We want the bigger goal,” said Cooke.

In an indication of things to come, Cooke gained 15 yards on Cheverus’ opening play. A late hit by the Rams tacked on another 15. Cheverus drove to the 8, but a 12-yard sack stalled the drive and the Stags settled for a 36-yard field goal by Louie DiStasio.

The Stags scored on their next two possessions to lead 17-0. Peter Gwilym only threw three passes in the first half, but two went for long touchdowns.

After Cooke ran a yard to make it 10-0, Gwilym connected with Liam Fitzpatrick on a 50-yard pass-run, then hit Cooke down the sideline on a 63-yard scoring play with time running out in the first half to make it 24-0.

If there was a turning point, it might have been when Deering pinned the Stags at their 1, trailing only 10-0.

On first down, Jendrasko ran up the middle and wasn’t stopped until midfield. The Stags scored on the next play on the Gwilym to Fitzpatrick combination.

The lead grew to 31-0 in the third quarter.

“We just didn’t play well,” said Deering Coach Greg Stilphen. “We didn’t show up for the game and I can’t explain it. Cheverus is a good football team, but you would think after 10 weeks, we should be ready to play and we weren’t. It’s very frustrating.”

Deering will be the third seed in the playoffs and be at home against sixth-ranked Thornton Academy.

 

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