STANDISH — Early in a scoreless game, Bonny Eagle quarterback Zach Dubiel dropped back to pass on fourth-and 4 at the Thornton Academy 21. Finding no receivers, he eluded the rush and scampered 10 yards.
Two plays later, top-ranked Bonny Eagle had a 7-0 lead when Jon Woods completed a 10-yard run by diving inside the pylon.
Dubiel’s elusiveness and a stout defense Friday night carried the Scots to the Western Class A championship with a 28-13 victory against Thornton Academy, the defending state champion.
The game pitted the top-ranked Scots (9-1) and second-seeded Trojans (7-3). They met Oct. 19 in Saco with Thornton winning, 30-21; this time the Scots were in control after the first quarter.
Bonny Eagle earned a spot in the state final next Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium for the first time since 2008, when it won a fourth state title. The Scots will play Cheverus or Portland, who meet in the Eastern final Saturday.
Dubiel ran for one touchdown and passed for two, both to Joe Bissonnette. Bonny Eagle didn’t allow a first down until the fourth quarter.
“I’ve been waiting for a moment like this since I was a little kid,” said Dubiel. “I grew up watching Nate Doehler play and all those great players.”
On the scamper that led to Bonny Eagle’s first touchdown, Dubiel said: “It was just instinct. I didn’t have anyone open so I tried to make something happen with my feet.”
“Zach is just a playmaker,” said Coach Kevin Cooper. “We had all the confidence in the world that he was going to make plays for us tonight. Zach made a great play to set up that first score. Thornton had our primary receiver covered and Zach looked for our secondary receiver, couldn’t find him and made a great play.”
Neither team could move the ball in the opening quarter although Bonny Eagle had better field position. The Golden Trojans didn’t cross midfield until late in the second quarter.
“Our defense is our pride and joy,” said Dubiel.
Bonny Eagle led 7-0 at halftime, then made it 14-0 with 3:25 left in the third quarter. On fourth-and-4 from the 31, Dubiel hit Bissonnette for the score.
“We were running the ball enough to set the pass up,” said Cooper. “Zach put it right on the money.”
Thornton finally showed life when Austin McCrum passed 15 yards to Corey Hart to the Bonny Eagle 38 – Thornton’s first first down. Moments later, McCrum connected with Kevin Barrett for a 38-yard touchdown.
Woods then returned the kickoff 46 yards, leading to a 1-yard Dubiel run that made it 21-6.
“That return killed us,” said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal. “We got back into the game only to give up that. Give credit to Bonny Eagle. They played an outstanding game. My kids hung in there and never quit. I’m proud of the way they battled.”
The Scots made it 28-6, set up by Isaiah Reynolds, a 300-pound tackle, intercepting an attempted screen pass to the 9.
After a running play lost 2 yards, Dubiel passed to Bissonnette in the corner of the end zone.
Thornton added a touchdown with 3:19 left when McCrum passed to Cody Lynn for 14 yards.
Bonny Eagle’s defense has come on strong since the middle of the season. With the exception of the loss to Thornton, it’s been stellar.
“The defense has worked so hard because they know defense wins championships,” said Cooper.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: