Freeport gained its first varsity football victory two seasons ago against Sacopee Valley. That was memorable. So was last year’s 24-22 Homecoming win over Boothbay Region in the final seconds.

While those wins were important to the Falcons’ program, now in its third season, last week’s opening-game 21-20 victory against Dirigo carried just as much significance, if not more.

Dirigo is only two years removed from a Class C state title, a season in which it humbled Freeport, 76-6.

Making the win all the more special was the manner in which the Falcons prevailed. They scored the winning touchdown with four minutes left on a 17-yard pass from quarterback James Purdy to Chris Farley. Kaleb Farmer’s PAT broke the 20-20 tie.

Also, Dirigo unveiled new lights at its field. Freeport’s win took some of the pomp and circumstance out of the night.

The Falcons lost an early 14-0 lead when Dirigo scored 20 unanswered points. One game doesn’t make a season but the Falcons are confident.

“In terms of making a statement, it was our biggest win so far,” said Coach Rob Grover. “This puts us in the right direction. With 12 seniors and nine juniors, we have strong veteran leadership. The players showed great commitment in their offseason workouts. Our No. 1 goal was to beat Dirigo.”

Freeport, which overcame four turnovers, needed one final stand to seal the victory. The Cougars made one first down but that was it.

“Dirigo is young up front but I think they’re a .500 team,” said Grover.

With home games the next two weeks against Sacopee Valley and Telstar, the Falcons could take a 3-0 record into a showdown game Sept. 24 against Lisbon.

MASSABESIC ENDED an 11-game losing streak over two seasons with its 39-0 opening-game win over Portland last week.

The Mustangs jumped out to a quick lead and never were threatened.

Massabesic was 0-8 last year and lost the last three games of the 2009 season, a playoff game included.

In five losses last season, the Mustangs had the lead late in the game but couldn’t put it away.

“Some of the kids had never won a varsity game,” said Coach John Morin. “And some had been on an 11-game losing streak. It was a combination of our kids being sick of losing and wanting to change the culture. They played with passion and enthusiasm. We took advantage of our opportunities.”

Portland suffered from inexperience at the skill positions and was plagued by turnovers.

After stopping Portland on downs in the opening series, Massabesic took command when Casey Nava returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown.

Massabesic held the Bulldogs again, drove down and kicked a 37-yard field goal by Travis Mansfield.

An interception resulted in an eight-play drive and another touchdown to make it 17-0 after one quarter. Two more scores in the second made it 32-0 at halftime.

“We told the players at halftime that this game wasn’t done,” said Morin.

“We’ve had the lead late in the game. Maybe not this big a lead but we still knew what could happen.”

Portland came out in the second half and put together a long drive but didn’t score.

“If Portland had done that from the start of the game and they score, it could have been a whole different game,” said Morin.

“Getting behind early took Portland out of its game.”

Massabesic will travel to Bonny Eagle tonight. The Scots will be looking to rebound from an opening-game 20-6 loss to Thornton Academy.

The game represents a step up for the Mustangs.

“It will be an excellent test,” said Morin.

SOUTH PORTLAND has two Joey DiBiases on its team. They aren’t related but both are running backs. DiBiase, the senior, had an outstanding junior season, gaining 900 yards. He wears No. 2.

The other DiBiase, a sophomore, wears No. 25. He also placekicks and kicks off. It can get confusing for public-address announcers.

THE PORTLAND-SOUTH PORTLAND Battle of the Bridge has been changed to a Friday night game Oct. 21 at Fitzpatrick Stadium. It was originally scheduled for Oct. 22.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH