It was a painful way to end the first half: Scarborough tight end Reece Lagerquist catching a pass and stretching within an inch of the end zone before being brought down by Portland defender Issiah Bachelder.

But if the Red Storm were disappointed heading to the locker room with a touchdown deficit against the defending Class A North champions, it wasn’t apparent to Coach Lance Johnson.

“We were just focused on what we had told our kids for the last three weeks, that it’s going to be physical and that we needed to be tougher and that our conditioning would take the game over,” said Johnson.

Indeed, Scarborough held the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half and pulled out a 14-13 win Friday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium on high school football’s opening weekend.

“We work extremely hard in the summer,” Johnson said. “We really get after them and make it difficult for them so we’re ready to play in the second half of games like this.”

Portland has plenty of returning starters from a team that went 10-1 last fall and lost only to Thornton Academy in the state championship game. The Bulldogs had a chance to extend their 13-7 halftime lead when they drove to the Scarborough 4 late in the third quarter, but the Red Storm tackled Bachelder, the quarterback, for a loss. A subsequent muffed shotgun snap left the Bulldogs facing a 31-yard field-goal attempt.

Quinn Clarke, whose second PAT kick was blocked, never had a chance to put his team ahead by two scores. A low snap got away from the holder and Scarborough pounced on the change in momentum.

Junior quarterback Zoltan Panyi, making his first varsity start, drove the Red Storm 70 yards in five plays. He hit Connor Kelly in traffic for 38 yards, then avoided a sack by dumping a pass to Lagerquist (who had scored Scarborough’s first TD). Finally, under heavy pressure, he connected with Tim Carion for a back-shoulder catch and a 25-yard touchdown.

“He took a lot of hits, but he hung in there,” Johnson said of Panyi, who was 11 of 20 for 160 yards and two touchdowns. “We didn’t protect him very well. We didn’t give him a chance to show how good he really is.”

Emmett Peoples booted the second of his two successful PAT kicks to give Scarborough a 14-13 lead with 1:19 left in the third quarter.

Portland had two more chances to regain the lead.

The first drive stalled inside the Scarborough 30. One fourth down, Bachelder lofted a pass near the right pylon to Zachary Elowitch, who caught the ball as he stumbled out of bounds. Two officials conferred, as was the case on the Lagerquist catch at the end of the half, before signaling an incompletion.

“He only needs one foot in,” said Portland Coach Jim Hartman. “I thought he was out. Hell of a catch, though, and good throw.”

Bachelder finished 15 of 24 for 275 yards and two touchdowns – 20 and 30 yards to Griffin Foley (eight catches, 182 yards). He directed one final drive, 65 yards to the 22 with just under a minute left. But the Red Storm forced four straight incompletions, the last with Owen Garrard bearing down on Bachelder.

“Scarborough is very underrated,” Hartman said. “They deserve credit for that win.”

“It’s a big win for our program,” Johnson said, “but it’s nothing that we didn’t expect from our kids.”