PORTLAND – Since losing to Cheverus in the opening game of the season, Portland has improved each week.
The latest evidence came Friday night as the Bulldogs took control from the start and dismantled Windham 57-14 in an Eastern Class A football game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Portland (5-1) scored the first four times it had the ball. Running back Justin Zukowski ran for three touchdowns and quarterback Jordan Talbot passed for another three in the first half alone.
Portland also didn’t allow a first down until the second quarter.
The Bulldogs led 43-7 at halftime and needed only three plays to score to start the second half.
They were all runs by Zukowski, who entered the game as the third-leading rusher in the region.
Zukowski rushed for 119 yards in the first half on 16 carries. He added 91 yards in the second half and his fourth touchdown before being taken out.
He finished with 210 yards on 22 carries.
Zukowski has 989 yards and 14 touchdowns in six games.
The Bulldogs will play at Lewiston next Friday night, then close the regular season Oct. 25 at home against South Portland in the annual Battle of the Bridge.
Ron Hargrove got the Bulldogs off on the right foot by returning the opening kickoff 62 yards to the Windham 32.
Zukowski ran for 18 yards on first down, then scored from the 14 but the play was called back for holding. Two plays later, Talbot got called for international grounding.
But on the next play, Talbot passed to Joe Fusco for a 25-yard score.
A high snap by Windham (3-3) in punt formation resulted in the punter being tackled for a safety to make it 9-0.
Zukowski scored the next three touchdowns on runs of 10, 2 and 8 yards.
“We started off the season a little undisciplined, but we’re improving although we still have to work on it,” said Zukowski.
“We’ve had this offense for two years and we’re working hard to keep improving. I think we can hang with any team.”
Talbot, a junior in his first season as a starter, threw scoring passes to Fusco and two to Ron Hargrove, whose receptions covered 10 and 38 yards.
“Jordan is really coming of age,” said Portland Coach Jim Hartman. “He made some tremendous throws. He can also run, which gives us four guys who can run. Although a lot of people have played well over the last three games, Talbot has been the difference. The kids are believing in themselves.”
The defense shut down a Windham offense that consistently has moved the ball. But not this time.
“We focused on stopping their running game,” said linebacker Joe Esposito.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: