Portland’s 45-19 football win over Deering on Saturday night was memorable on a few fronts.
First, the Bulldogs (1-1) had not beaten the Rams in eight years. For added motivation, consider Portland’s bitter 35-25 opening loss to Cheverus. Then came a frustrating week of stop-and-go preparation. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday, in observance of Yom Kippur. But stormy weather forced postponement of the game until Saturday and pushed practice indoors Thursday and Friday.
“It was a long week,” Portland Coach Jim Hartman said. “We had to set this thing up a few times after a tough loss in a game that we knew we should have won. I was worried about getting them geared up.”
No worries there. After all, this was Portland-Deering. The Bulldogs’ offensive line and Justin Zukowski led the way with 284 yards and two touchdowns.
“(Zukowski) is the heart and soul of this team,” Hartman said. “He plays with intensity, and he knows how to control it.”
The Rams, meanwhile, gave first-year Coach Scott Parsons reason to believe his rebuilding process is well under way.
After opening with a 28-6 loss at Windham, Deering (0-2) showed flashes of what the future might hold with its up-tempo passing game, led by sophomore Max Chabot (17 of 28 for 80 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and freshman receiver Anthony Pruitt (three touchdowns).
“Chabot played a heck of a game and Pruitt is going to be a force in this state for years to come,” Parsons said. “As the season progresses, the guys will gain a better understanding of what we’re doing. The kids are giving us the effort, and they’re playing with a lot of heart.
“Portland had our number today. We just have to put it behind us and look forward to Bangor.”
About 700 fans attended the annual rivalry game, but parking around Memorial Stadium was hard to come by well before the 7 p.m. kickoff.
The semi-pro Maine Sabers moved their Saturday afternoon New England Football League game against the Lowell Nor’easter to Memorial Field from Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field, which was unplayable after three days of rain. The Sabers, seemingly at home in their home purple, won 21-14.
LEAVITT COACH Mike Hathaway said after two preseason scrimmages and two games on the road, he’s looking forward to a home game Saturday against Gray-New Gloucester.
The road’s been pretty good to Leavitt, which is 2-0 and has outscored opponents 40-14.
“I’m really looking forward to getting into a routine,” Hathaway said. “We’ll have a chance to work on some things and let the kids settle in a little bit.”
The Hornets are home the next two Saturdays, hosting the Patriots (0-2) Sept. 21 and Poland (1-1) on Sept. 28.
WITH A FASTBALL that hits 90 mph and headed to Fordham University in New York City on a Division 1 baseball scholarship, it’s no surprise that Ben Greenberg of Scarborough can throw a football.
Which he did very well Friday night as Scarborough High’s quarterback.
Greenberg led the Red Storm to their first win of the season, 34-7 over Bangor.
Greenberg also showed he could run as he gained close to 100 yards. He passed for 145 yards and teamed up with receivers Chris Cyr, Kenny Adams and Brendon Smith for some key gains.
Greenberg saw spot action last year at quarterback, backing up senior Dylan Russo, who also was an excellent runner and passer.
Now that the job is his, Greenberg is showing what he can do. Even with a collegiate baseball career looming, Greenberg wanted to play football his senior year, saying that the competition helps him as a pitcher in baseball.
WITH 90 SECONDS left to play, South Portland was on Bonny Eagle’s 2 yard line.
Whether the Red Riots scored would make no difference in the game’s outcome. Bonny Eagle had already secured victory with 33 second-half points and led 46-21.
But don’t say the next few plays didn’t matter.
Not the way Bonny Eagle senior linebacker Robie Martin blitzed to throw Riots quarterback Duncan Preston for a 2-yard loss. Or the way South Portland back Joey DiBiase broke multiple tackles in the backfield and lunged forward on fourth down to get the needed 3 yards for a first down at the 1.
Big Isaiah Reynolds, the BE starting nose guard and left tackle, stuffed Preston for a 1-yard loss.
With five seconds left, South Portland Coach Steve Stinson called a timeout. A pass by Preston was dropped, ending the game but sending a message: South Portland will try to keep making plays every second it’s on the field.
And that was fine with Bonny Eagle.
“Coach Stinson and I are good friends. He’s a great coach and his team’s taken his type of philosophy I think of playing right to the end and we’re going to do the same,” BE Coach Kevin Cooper said. “I was very happy with our guys to rise up at the end and not allow a touchdown.”
– Correspondent Greg Reid and Staff Writers Steve Craig and Tom Chard contributed to this report.