In a perfect world, all playoff teams would be healthy heading into the most important part of the season. But that’s never the case as eight weeks of the high school regular season takes its toll.

While injuries are an acknowledged part of football, they’re never easy to accept. You feel for a player when he goes down with a season-ending injury. It’s especially tough when that player is a senior.

Chances are, it’s the last time he’ll play football.

When injuries happen early in the season, there’s always a chance a player can recover and help out his team, depending on the extent of the injury. Scott Thibeault of Scarborough comes to mind. Injured in the third game of the season, Thibeault missed three games with a chipped vertebrae before returning two weeks ago. The Red Storm are a different team with Thibeault in the lineup.

He picked up where he left off. Against Thornton Academy, Thibeault scored on a 39-yard run and finished with 95 yards. The Red Storm led favored Thornton Academy 14-7 at halftime. In the second half the Golden Trojans took control and won, 28-14.  Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal called it his team’s “best half of the season.”

Against Gorham last week in a game Scarborough had to win to make the playoffs, Thibeault scored five touchdowns and gained 160 yards as the Red Storm beat the Rams, 41-12.

Thibeault hasn’t been the only Scarborough player injured. David Conceison and Kellen Smith are two other starters who recently returned to the lineup. Last week was the first time this season that the Red Storm had every player available. Their 3-5 record is deceiving.

On Saturday, No. 8 Scarborough faces unbeaten No. 1 Cheverus, the defending state Class A champion. The Stags pounded a Thibeault-less Scarborough, 38-0, on Oct. 1. The Red Storm committed nine turnovers. Thibeault’s presence wouldn’t have erased the 38-point margin, but the game likely would have been closer. The Red Storm are hoping that’s the case this time around.

Deering gave Cheverus a good battle last week before losing 14-0. Wide receiver/defensive back Renaldo Lowry and tight end/defensive end James Doyle missed the game because of concussions suffered a week earlier in a 41-7 loss to Bonny Eagle. Deering Coach Jon Gallant said both will be playing against the Scots in the quarterfinals.

While Scarborough and Deering are healthy for their playoff openers, Cape Elizabeth is not.

The Capers lost three starters against Mountain Valley last Friday night – quarterback Connor Maguire, end Billy Brooks and linebacker and kicker Matt Ross. No. 3 Cape hosts No. 6 Greely tonight at 7.

Ross was operated on for a broken foot this week. Brooks could return next week if Cape wins and Maguire is ready to go against the Rangers. 

“I think most teams are banged up at this point,” said Cape Coach Aaron Filieo.

“Teams toughen up.”

They do because it’s the playoffs.

TWO HIGH SCHOOL playoff games will be streamed live at pressherald.com/sports this weekend.

Tonight, the Waterville at Gardiner Eastern Maine Class B playoff will be shown at 7. On Saturday, the Windham at Thornton Academy Western Maine Class A playoff will be at 1 p.m.  

JEFF TURCOTTE of Lewiston is the leading rusher in Eastern Class A (Pine Tree Conference) with 1,208 yards on 158 carries.

Turcotte has scored 16 touchdowns, tied for second best in the league. Shaun Carroll of Lawrence is second in league rushing with 1,132 yards on 131 carries.

Top rushers for Brunswick are Keith Kitchens with 692 yards on 90 carries and Jordan Rysdam with 661 yards on 97 carries.

Jason Carter of Brunswick is the fifth leading passer in the PTC with 26 completions in 50 attempts for 478 yards and five touchdowns.

Ben Lucas of Cony is the runaway passing leader in the PTC, having thrown for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH