SCARBOROUGH — Scarborough High football coach Lance Johnson is proud of his team’s fitness.

But he admits there’s one downside to having a team in great shape.

“I can’t run them as punishment because they don’t get tired,” Johnson said, a small smile creasing his face. “That’s a little bit frustrating. They’ll just run forever and be out there, and look at you like you’re funny.”

It’s a trade-off Johnson gladly accepts. He believes his team gained physical and mental toughness through a summer and preseason that emphasized cross-fit style training, and it paid dividends Friday in the opening 14-13 win at Portland.

“Big difference between last year’s game and this year’s game was that we matched their toughness and physicality, and hung in there. I don’t think we executed very well but we played tough,” Johnson said.

Portland is coming off a 10-1 season, its only loss in the Class A final to Thornton Academy. The Bulldogs are again a top contender in the North.

“It was a giant win,” said Dakota Joy, a tri-captain and three-year starter at left tackle and defensive tackle. “Portland’s a tough team and they’ll definitely win a huge chunk of their games. So that helps us in the standings a lot.”

Joy and fellow captains linebacker Matt Cook and slotback/linebacker Drew LeClair said toughness – a stout defense and resiliency after a bad play – was not a team strength in recent seasons.

“A lot of people usually kind of look down on us and say we only make it to the semifinals and get blown out,” LeClair said. “I think that’s what gave us motivation this year, people not really respecting us.”

Johnson, in his seventh season, has always emphasized conditioning, he said, but the offseason regimen has grown. This offseason the team mixed push-ups, squats, abdominal exercises and burpees into their running routines while also using the weight room for strength training.

Scarborough shut out Portland in the second half.

“You could definitely notice in that Portland game, our practices made that game a lot easier for us, just conditioning wise,” Cook said.

“The second half, you could see a lot of their guys having cramps and I didn’t see one of our guys putting their heads down sucking wind,” LeClair added. “That was a big factor in the Portland game.”

The Red Storm play Bonny Eagle at 7 p.m. Friday. The Scots, consensus Class A South co-favorites with two-time state champ Thornton Academy, beat host South Portland, 60-20.

“It’s our first home game, new uniforms, we definitely have something more to prove,” LeClair said.

Making his first start, Scarborough junior quarterback Zoltan Panyi capped the go-ahead drive against Portland with a 25-yard touchdown throw to Tim Carion. The play drew raves from Johnson for the way Panyi sidestepped blitzing linebacker Nick Archambault, then reset his feet.

“There aren’t many kids in the state who could have made that play,” Johnson said of Panyi. “Archambault is a stud. Very few kids are going to avoid him. Then (Panyi) stuck his foot in the ground and makes the throw for the winning touchdown.”

Freeport lost all eight games in 2015 by at least 20 points. Twenty seconds into its opener last Saturday, Austin Bouchard of Poland took the first play from scrimmage around left end 65 yards for a touchdown.

“The first reaction to that from everybody, even the coaches, was ‘Oh, boy, last season all over again,’ ” Freeport second-year coach Paul St. Pierre said.

“I think everybody felt that for at least a second.”

Unlike last season, Freeport kept the game at 8-0 through a quarter, tied it before the half and scored two late touchdowns to snap a nine-game losing streak with a 22-8 win.

“Going in tied at halftime, you could see the look on all their faces said, ‘We can win this now,’ ” St. Pierre said. “They have a lot more confidence, a lot of faith in themselves.”

Nearly all of the returning players contributed to a 4-0 junior varsity record last year. The roster, still small at 29, is deeper with seniors Connor Dostie and T.J. Morrill. Dostie had not played football since middle school. Morrill, who had never played football, joined the team the third week of his junior season, and is now a two-way starter and kicker.

Those two combined for the clinching score. Morrill batted a Poland pass into the air, and Dostie intercepted it and returned it for the score, with Morrill making a key block.

Key players like QB/MLB Josh Burke, RB Max Doughty and TE/LB Austin Langley had pivotal roles on Freeport’s baseball team that won last spring’s Class B South title.

“A lot of these kids have had success in other sports or in middle school football,” St. Pierre said. “You’re starting to see that vibe in practice. They approach it with a winning attitude.”