Windham had just gone through the customary handshakes at game’s end and was in the end zone awaiting Coach Matt Perkins when the coaching staff waved them in to celebrate.

And celebrate the Eagles did. It was almost like they had won a state championship. They hadn’t, but in their minds it must have seemed like it.

Windham had just ended Cheverus’ 36-game regular-season winning streak (dating back to 2009) with a dominating 35-7 victory in an Eastern Class A football game Saturday afternoon at Boulos Stadium on the Cheverus campus.

Cheverus’ only losses the previous four seasons were two playoff games – the 2012 Western Class A final to Thornton Academy and last year’s state championship game to Bonny Eagle.

Both teams entered this matchup with a 3-0 record. Windham displayed strong running and passing games along with a stifling defense that contained Cheverus halfback Joe Fitzpatrick, the second-leading rusher in the conference. Fitzpatrick carried 16 times for 110 yards, but wasn’t able to break many big plays.

The Eagles revealed some weaknesses for Cheverus – namely, the Stags’ secondary is suspect and their passing game needs work.

Cheverus, which is used to controlling the tempo with its running game, didn’t have that luxury against Windham. After falling behind 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Windham scored on five straight possessions.

“We have some things we need to button up,” said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram. “It’s just one game. We knew Windham was a very good team. They executed on all cylinders and we were just a little off. Windham’s line did a very good job. Windham hit some passes which gave them the momentum. They’ve very balanced.”

Perkins attributed the win to the Eagles’ work in practice.

“We put in so much time and the kids really listened,” he said. “They’re very coachable and they went out and executed.”

Junior running back Dylan Koza was Windham’s workhorse, scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 125 yards on 29 carries. Time and time again, he broke tackles for extra yards. Windham wore down Cheverus in the second half, with Koza and the other backs overpowering the home team.

Sophomore quarterback Desmond Leslie was also impressive, as he threw two fourth-down touchdown passes in the third quarter. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 185 yards.

“He didn’t look like a sophomore,” said Perkins.

Cheverus scored on its second series, taking a 7-0 lead on Fitzpatrick’s 10-yard run.

Windham’s first scoring drive overlapped the first and second quarters and ended with Koza’s 5-yard run. The key play in the drive was a 28-yard completion from Leslie to Mitchell Eskilson.

“We gained a lot of confidence after we scored to tie it,” said Koza. “We knew we could play with them. The line did another great job of staying with their blocks, which allowed me to get extra yards.”

Just before halftime, Eric Webb returned a Cheverus punt 44 yards to the 25, setting up the Eagles’ second touchdown.

“That was a return we put in this week,” said Perkins.

Two runs by Koza put the ball on the 11. A motion penalty pushed the Eagles back, but two plays later Leslie passed to Zach Davis for 14 yards, setting up fourth-and-1. Koza picked up the first down, and Leslie scored two plays later from the 1 with 17 seconds left in the half.

Windham received the second-half kickoff and drove 82 yards in eight plays, with Leslie passing 33 yards to Webb for the touchdown on fourth down to make it 21-7.

“I thought that was the turning point,” said Perkins. “All these kids have heard is Cheverus this, Cheverus that. When we realized we could play with them, the game changed.”

Midway through the third quarter, Cheverus had fourth-and-4 at the Windham 29 when a pass bounced off the hands of an open receiver and fell incomplete. On the next play, Leslie passed to Eskilson for 42 yards, leading to a 21-yard TD catch by Zach Davis.