SOUTH PORTLAND – Senior Night wasn’t going quite as well as planned for South Portland.

Two lost fumbles stalled drives. A Kennebunk squad depleted by injuries proved surprisingly resilient on defense.

“It might have been nerves,” said South Portland quarterback Michael Salvatore. “It might have been we weren’t expecting them to be as good as they were. We did come out flat but we made corrections in the second half and came out strong.”

Salvatore turned the momentum South Portland’s way on the final play of the half, a 29-yard TD pass to Dan Medeci to lead the Red Riots to a 35-7 Western Class A victory Thursday night at a chilly Martin Field.

The Red Riots have won five straight after a season-opening loss to Cheverus. Kennebunk, which lost starting quarterback Nick Emmons and starting tailback Jason Small to injury earlier this season, dropped to 1-5.

“We clearly have a lot of injuries, and that creates issues with depth, which we didn’t have a lot of to start with,” said Kennebunk Coach Joe Rafferty. “But the bottom line is you have to play through it. You have to face adversity and keep going.”

Freshman quarterback Kip Richard connected with Tyler Elkington on an 8-yard touchdown pass for the Rams with 23 seconds left in the second quarter.

But Teddy Lefay returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards. With 11.7 seconds remaining, Salvatore threw two deep passes down the right sideline to rangy Logan Gaddar, both incomplete.

One-tenth of a second remained when Salvatore took a final snap, lofted a pass down the left side and Medeci ran under it, catching it at the 5 and launching into the end zone.

“The line was protecting well on all those passes,” Salvatore said. “We took three shots down the field and I didn’t get any pressure. It was awesome.”

The second half was all South Portland. Salvatore connected twice on touchdown passes to Gaddar, for 39 and 29 yards, and finished 7-of-14 passing for 135 yards. Salvatore also ran 11 yards for another touchdown. Brendan Horton kicked all five extra-point conversions.

South Portland’s defense yielded only seven points for the third straight game. The Red Riots intercepted two passes and held Kennebunk to 57 yards rushing and 44 passing.

“Defensively, going into the middle to late part of the season, we’re starting to be a little more stout,” said South Portland Coach Steve Stinson, “which we’re going to need.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH