PORTLAND – You could have sworn it was the same No. 33 running the ball for Cheverus as it was last year.

Same positions, same player. But it wasn’t.

That No. 33, All-Stater Evan Jendrasko, graduated last spring. This No. 33 is junior Brent Green, who offered his best impression of his predecessor.

Green scored three touchdowns and rushed for 130 yards Saturday for the Stags, who scored 42 points in the second half en route to a 59-21 victory against South Portland in a Western Class A football opener at Boulos Stadium.

Spencer Cooke, a running standout for last season’s Class A state champions, picked up where he left off, scoring three touchdowns and finishing with 184 yards.

Cheverus again was opportunistic on defense and special teams, traits that proved huge in a 12-0 record last season.

The Red Riots stayed with the Stags early, trailing only 17-14 at halftime.

But mistakes by South Portland combined with Cheverus’ potent running game changed the complexion quickly.

“We played very well in the second half,” said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram. “South Portland did some nice things. They had a long pass for a touchdown in the first quarter. In the first half we had to handle their counter-punches.”

It wasn’t a coincidence that Green donned No. 33, made famous by Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, and in football by Tony Dorsett at the University of Pittsburgh and then for the Dallas Cowboys.

Green and Jendrasko became good friends while playing lacrosse last spring.

“He told me after the lacrosse season that he wanted me to wear his number in football,” said Green, who like his buddy is a fullback and a linebacker. “Evan didn’t want anyone else to wear it. It’s been a motivating factor for me.”

Like Jendrasko, Green proved hard to bring down, breaking tackles and twisting for extra yards. It was just like Jendrasko did so effectively a year ago.

“Evan is stockier and a little faster than I am,” said Green. “It feels great to open the season like this. I just followed my blockers, who did a great job.”

Wolfgram praised Green’s performance, as well as quarterback Cam Olson, who is replacing a Fitzpatrick Trophy winner in Peter Gwilym.

“(Green) is rounding into shape for us,” said Wolfgram. “I thought (Olson) played well.”

Green scored on runs of 16, 21 and 15 yards. Cooke scored on runs of 7, 17 and 70 yards.

Cooke also had an interception in the second half that led to Green’s final score that made it 38-14.

The Riots scored with five seconds left in the half to make it 17-14. After stopping the Stags in their first series of the second half, the Riots fumbled a Cheverus punt, with Jackson McMann recovering for the Stags at the South Portland 7.

On first down, Cooke went up the middle for the touchdown. Louie DiStasio’s PAT made it 24-14. The Stags scored on every series after that.

“I thought physically we stood up to Cheverus,” said South Portland Coach Steve Stinson. “If we could have established a running game, something that we could have hung our hat on, we could have mixed up the passing game better. We just made too many fundamental mistakes.”

Still, the Riots had success in the air. Quarterback Jordan Muller hit Logan Gaddar on a 66-yard strike down the sideline that put South Portland ahead 7-3 midway through the first quarter.

With time running out in the half, Muller connected with Gaddar for a 39-yard gain.

With the ball on the Cheverus 13, Muller fired a pass over the middle to Dan Medici, who made a great catch at the 1. Joey DiBiase scored on the next play to get the Riots within three.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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