After Sanford beat South Portland 33-32 in the Western Class A quarterfinals last Saturday, Spartans Coach Mike Fallon had plenty of praise for his players as he talked to them at one end of Martin Memorial Field.
“We’re 1-0,” Fallon emphasized.
Sanford (5-4) struggled on offense in the middle of the season, scoring six, nine, 10 and six points in four straight games, all losses. But all that was in the past after last weekend’s win, as Fallon alluded to in his postgame remarks.
Now it’s on to the regional semifinals in all classes, where many of the opponents have very recent histories. In what is likely a first because of statewide football realignment, all but one of the matchups are the second meetings this season. The exception is in Eastern Class D, where No. 3 Mattanawcook and No. 2 MCI didn’t play in the regular season.
Only two games could be classified as blowouts the first time around, and they involved local schools. On Oct. 19, Cheverus beat Bangor 49-7. A week earlier, Portland defeated Windham 57-14. But Bangor and Windham come into the second meetings with confidence after having won their quarterfinals by big scores.
Other regular-season scores for this week’s rematches:
Class A: Bonny Eagle 34, Scarborough 26 on Sept. 27; Thornton Academy 25, Sanford 9 on Sept. 28.
Class B: Kennebunk 22, Westbrook 8 on Oct. 14; York 28, Marshwood 19 on Oct. 25; Cony 48, Messalonskee 20 on Sept. 6; Brunswick 47, Skowhegan 26 on Sept. 27.
Class C: Leavitt 26, Cape Elizabeth 7 on Sept. 6; Wells 20, Spruce Mountain 15 on Sept. 13; Winslow 28, Belfast 12 on Sept. 7; Mt. Desert Island 42, Waterville 35 on Oct. 8.
Class D, Winthrop/Monmouth 24, Dirigo 14 on Sept. 20; Oak Hill 33, Lisbon 14 on Oct. 26; and Bucksport 24, Orono 20 on Oct. 4.
Of these previous meetings, the only game where the lower seed won was No. 3 MDI over No. 2 Waterville in Eastern Class C.
The best game in Class A looks to be Scarborough (6-3) at Bonny Eagle (7-1). The Red Storm have won five straight since their regular-season loss to the Scots, scoring more than 40 points in every game. Last week, Scarborough beat Biddeford 45-19 in the quarterfinals.
Bonny Eagle suffered its only loss to Thornton Academy, 30-21 three weeks ago, then rebounded with a 57-12 win over Windham in the regular-season finale. The Scots received a first-round bye as the top seed in Western Class A.
The other Western Class A semifinal, Sanford at Thornton Academy, also could be interesting. Sanford looked impressive last week in beating South Portland, which defeated the Golden Trojans in the season opener.
In Western Class B, Marshwood at York on Saturday afternoon should be another tight one in the tradition of the rivalry.
A question going into the semifinals is how the top seeds will play after opening-round byes. While the byes gave teams a chance to heal injuries, not having played last week could cause rustiness. This is the first time top seeds have had a bye week, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.
“You never know,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Aaron Filieo whose team travels to No. 1 Leavitt Friday night.
“Every team is different. Some teams aren’t fazed by it. We’re excited to go up and play them. I think we match up well with them. We have no expectations. They’re undefeated and expected to beat us. We’ve just been kind of rolling along,” he said.
Filieo likes the fact the Capers have played Leavitt during the season.
“There’s that familiarity,” he said. “It takes any sort of surprise out of it. You know what you’re getting. It comes down to who has the better game plan and who executes.”
CHRIS PINGITORE has resigned after two seasons as Yarmouth’s head coach. The Clippers finished 6-3 after losing to Cape Elizabeth 27-14 in the Western Class C quarterfinals. Yarmouth went 2-7 in Pingitore’s first season. Pingitore is a foot surgeon and owns a medical practice with two partners.
“It’s something I knew I was going to do,” said Pingitore. “I needed to start spending more time on my professional side. Being a head coach is very time consuming. I was doing it all. I’m extraordinarily busy at work and didn’t think I could do both. The time and effort was catching up with me.”
As one of the founders of the Yarmouth program, Pingitore has been involved with Clippers football for 13 years. When Jim Hartman left Yarmouth as head coach for the Portland High job, Pingitore, an assistant under Hartman, took the Clippers’ wheel, wanting to maintain continuity and see the current senior class through.
“I feel the future remains bright for Yarmouth football. The sophomore class is as talented as the senior class was when they were sophomores,” said Pingitore.
“This season was a very good team, They were highly capable of going all the way. We just ran into a highly motivated Cape Elizabeth team”
Pingitore said he will likely stay close to the football program.
JUSTIN ZUKOWSKI of Portland overtook Joe Fitzpatrick of Cheverus for the rushing title in Eastern Class A in the last regular-season game.
In eight games, Zukowski, a senior, ran for 1,531 yards and 19 touchdowns on 169 carries. Fitzpatrick, a junior, had 1,444 yards on 146 carries – just under 10 yards per attempt – and led the league with 24 touchdowns. Logan Lanham of Bangor was third with 919 yards on a league-high 207 carries and scored nine touchdowns.
Eddie Emerson of Lewiston was the league’s top passer with 853 yards and nine touchdowns. He completed 59 of 114 passes. Tyler Johnson of Windham was second with 695 yards and six touchdowns on 48 completions in 79 attempts. Deering’s Max Chabot was third with 550 yards and three touchdowns.
Ricardo Delgado of Deering led the league in receiving yardage with 343 yards.
Eric Webb of Windham was second in kick returns with an average of 25.53 yards. Hunter Martin of Edward Little led in kick returns with an average of 27.71.
Fitzpatrick and Jordan Talbot of Portland each punted only seven times in eight games, but both had impressive averages. Fitzpatrick led the league with a 40.57-yard average. Talbot was third with a 36-yard average.
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: