WINDHAM – Playing in Western Maine or now the East, Cheverus remains the team everyone chases. And Joe Fitzpatrick was the running back being chased Friday night.
He wasn’t caught often.
Fitzpatrick scored four touchdowns and rushed for 243 yards on 25 carries as the Stags beat Windham 57-22 in a game between unbeaten teams.
Windham (3-1) moved the ball in the opening series, going from its 20 to the Cheverus 26 before being stopped on fourth-and-1.
Cheverus was called for a motion penalty on first down, but on the next play Fitzpatrick ran 62 yards. It was a sign of things to come.
Fitzpatrick scored two plays later from the 7 and Patrick Mourmouras kicked the first of seven PATs.
Fitzpatrick had three touchdowns and 195 yards rushing in the first half.
The Eagles, trailing 14-0, scored on a 78-yard pass play from Tyler Johnson to Eric Webb late in the first quarter. The Stags missed an interception and the speedy Webb had clear sailing to the goal line.
Windham remained within reach through the first half, trailing 28-14.
But Cheverus quickly put it away in the third quarter, when Fitzpatrick scored a fourth touchdown and Will Hilton had another to make it 42-14.
The only thing Cheverus could fault was a rash of penalties that brought back a couple of long runs.
“Physically I thought we played pretty well,” said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram. “We did a nice job up front and ran the ball well. We were a little lax with the penalties. We have to button that up. It’s our fourth game and we have to execute better and stay away from the penalties.”
Cheverus (4-0) received the kickoff in the second half. Wingback Liam LaFountain ran 15 yards. After a holding penalty against Cheverus, Cody O’Brien went 55 yards up the middle, staying upright by cutting back several times. Fitzpatrick scored from the 8 on second down.
“That first series of the third quarter was important for us,” said Wolfgram. “We had the momentum in the first half, let it swing away and regained it in the second half. Windham is an athletic football team. There were ups and downs during the game but we were pretty consistent overall.”
O’Brien scored two touchdowns, the first on an interception of a screen pass. He rumbled 30 yards to make it 13-0.
The Eagles struck with the long pass play but Fitzpatrick responded with scoring runs of 18 and 34 yards to give the Stags a 28-7 lead.
Johnson got the Eagles within two touchdowns with a 1-yard sneak with 40 seconds left in the half.
The win enabled Cheverus to take the lead in Eastern Class A.
“It’s a huge win for us,” said quarterback Ethan Jordan. “Along with Portland, it was our biggest test of the year. We’re just excited to win.”
Justin Johnston scored Cheverus’ final touchdown on a 9-yard run late in the fourth and Dylan Koza scored on a short run for Windham.
The Eagles are a young team with several sophomore starters.
“It was one of those games where Cheverus played very physical and we haven’t played anyone that physical,” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins.
“It was good for us. We didn’t have anyone back down and we didn’t quit. We have guys who haven’t been in this situation before. Every week for us is a learning experience. We have to learn from it and move on.”
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: