PORTLAND – Severe weather twice pushed back the crosstown rivalry game between Portland and Deering. Come game time, there was no holding back Portland.
Justin Zukowski rushed 20 times for 284 yards and two touchdowns, and Portland rolled on to a 45-19 victory in an Eastern Class A football game Saturday night at Deering’s Memorial Field.
The game was scheduled for Thursday afternoon in observance of Yom Kippur, but lightning forced the game to be moved to Saturday night, as the holiday ends at sundown Saturday.
Once the game began, the Bulldogs dominated with the running game.
“It was all up front, the offensive line,” Zukowski said. “(Tackle) Jake Dunton’s one of the best in the league.”
Jayvon Pitts-Young (eight carries, 102 yards) gave Portland breathing room with a 13-yard TD run around left end just 2 minutes into the second quarter, putting the Bulldogs ahead 25-13. Portland lined up for the point-after kick, with Pitts-Young as the holder, and he took the snap and curled around right end for the 2-point conversion.
Ronald Hargrove set up the touchdown by returning a kickoff to the Deering 27, and Zukowski hammered out another 14 yards up the middle.
“Any running back can (score) with a line like we have,” Pitts-Young said. “We’re just looking forward and do the same thing next week.”
Deering took a step forward from its 28-6 season-opening loss at Windham. Freshman slotback Anthony Pruitt led the Rams with three touchdowns, on runs of 3 and 56 yards and a 7-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Max Chabot (17 of 28 for 80 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs).
The Bulldogs (1-1) got down to work right away with a four-play, 52-yard opening drive that ended with Zukowski’s first touchdown, a 6-yard run up the middle. The series proved ominous for Deering (0-2), which saw Zukowski run for 32 yards. The remaining 20 came on penalties.
“We’re struggling to stop the downhill run game this year, that’s been clear,” Deering Coach Scott Parsons said. “(Zukowski) runs hard and they’ve got a lot of good athletes.
“We’re continuing to get better. It’s growing pains right now.”
Portland held the Rams to five plays on their next possession. Jordan Talbot then scored the first of his three touchdowns, a 48-yard sweep to the right. Ryan Ruhlin’s kick made it 13-0 with 7:07 left in the first quarter.
The Rams countered with Pruitt’s 3-yard TD run that capped an eight-play, 76-yard drive. The kick failed, but Deering had cut the lead to 13-6.
The teams exchanged fumbles before Hargrove made it 19-6 with a 3-yard run.
Deering answered with its short-passing game, capping an 11-play, 65-yard drive when Chabot hit Pruitt for a 7-yard strike.