SACO — A little adversity turned into a big positive Sunday for the Maine Sabers, who remained undefeated in the New England Football League with a 37-19 victory against the Metrowest Colonials at Hill Stadium.
After Brandon Lovelace returned an interception 30 yards to give the Colonials a surprising lead despite Maine’s defensive dominance, the Sabers scored 37 unanswered points.
“The (interception return) humbled us a little bit. We may have been flying in here a little too cocky,” said Sabers quarterback Jeremy Shorey. “Going into the second half the team woke up from the daze we were in. We turned it around.”
Following the return, the Sabers scored on five consecutive offensive possessions.
Shorey finished 15 of 22 for 224 yards. He ran for a touchdown and threw for two more, hitting Rod Johnson for 8 yards and Chris Libby for 54.
“Jeremy’s a big kid,” Maine Coach Jim Walsh said. “He’s an athlete. He’s a former pro baseball player. He stands tall in the pocket.
“This is a pretty complicated offense. He still can get better with some of his reads but he’s a man out there.”
John Wiechman scored his team-leading eighth touchdown of the season for Maine on a 3-yard plunge that, with the extra point, made it 7-7 with 45 seconds remaining in the half.
Wiechman, a former Bonny Eagle High and Southern Connecticut State standout, finished with 75 yards on 14 carries.
Wiechman has been struggling with a groin pull; he sat out much of the second half with the Sabers well in control.
Maine also got strong play from its tight ends: Travis Barnies and Kendrick Ballantyne combined for eight catches and more than 100 yards receiving.
Eric Harris scored on a 40-yard interception return that gave Maine its biggest lead at 37-7 with just under 12 minutes to play.
Metrowest, which is based in Marlborough, Mass., punted seven times.
Backup quarterback Wes McLaurin of Metrowest threw for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns, but he racked up most of his statistics after the outcome was decided.
The Sabers are in sole possession of first place in the Colonial Conference’s Northern Division.
“Sometimes guys get a little carried away with being 3-0 or 4-0,” said Steve Goodrich, the team’s kicker and one of its founders. “We were ranked in a poll last week for the first time and they were excited about that.
“But the reality is it’s nothing more than a good start. So we’re trying to maintain a little levity and take it one game at a time, and hopefully get a good result next week.”
Maine next plays Saturday against the North Shore Generals in Lynn, Mass. — the fifth game of a 10-game regular season.
Walsh said the coaching staff already began scouting the Generals.
“It’s a lot more sophisticated than people realize,” he said. “You think of the old semipro leagues, guys have a couple six-packs, and strap it on and play. We have some kids that started at Maine, we have some kids that played for Husson for four years.
“This is a league with some pretty good athletes.”