SACO — After falling behind for the first time with just 1:44 remaining Saturday in a Class A South football semifinal against Thornton Academy, Scarborough quarterback Zoltan Panyi and his teammates had a simple response: Keep making plays.

Panyi needed just 45 seconds to drive his team 60 yards, throwing a 23-yard strike in the back of the end zone to Cody Dudley for the winning score as No. 3 Scarborough dethroned two-time state champion Thornton Academy, 36-29, in front of 1,508 fans at Paul Hill Stadium in the Class A South semifinal Saturday.

It was Scarborough’s first win against second-ranked Thornton (7-2) in 16 games. No. 3 Scarborough (8-2) will make its first trip to a Class A regional final, at No. 1 Bonny Eagle.

“I woke up this morning and realized, we’re playing TA and I need to have as much confidence as possible,” Panyi said. “I wanted to show my teammates that I believe and they should believe, too, and we’re all going to play together and win.”

Panyi completed 12 of 16 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a score as Scarborough piled up 451 yards and had a 68-39 edge in plays.

Scarborough converted 9 of 13 third downs and both its fourth-down attempts, including a 2-yard run by Owen Garrard (28 carries, 115 yards) to cap a 19-play, 91-yard drive that lasted 10:06 in the second quarter and gave Scarborough a 14-0 lead.

Quarterback Michael Laverriere (21 carries, 140 yards, three touchdowns) rallied the Trojans, scoring on runs of 21 and 15 yards. His second TD on the first possession of the second half tied the game, 14-14.

That started a back-and-forth exchange. Scarborough chewed another 7:16 off the clock and Panyi bulled in from the 4. Thornton sophomore Anthony Bracamonte (five carries, 98 yards) accelerated around left end for a 54-yard score to tie it at 21-21.

Scarborough responded with an 85-yard drive, featuring a fourth-and-6 completion to Tim Carion. Eric Quirk’s second TD grab made it 28-21 with 4:05 left.

“He’s the best quarterback in the state of Maine,” Quirk said of Panyi. “I love the man.”

On Thornton’s next drive, Laverriere gained 42 yards on five carries, including a 19-yard touchdown run with 1:44 to play. The Trojans then elected to go for a 2-point conversion, and Laverriere pushed just across the goal line for a 29-28 lead.

“I was concerned that we couldn’t stop (Scarborough),” Trojans Coach Kevin Kezal said. “We’d had issues stopping them all day, so go for two to win the game. With Michael, we felt good about the play we had.”

But Scarborough quickly regained the lead, and then Dudley helped seal the win with an interception. Dudley missed most of the second half after injuring his knee on a kick return, getting back on the field about two minutes prior to his TD catch.

Scarborough showed good balance, rushing for 286 yards.

“We’ve been running the ball a lot but when you start playing teams like Thornton Academy you’re going to have to throw the ball a little bit more,” Scarborough Coach Lance Johnson said. “Zoltan’s been working at it, knowing that when we need it, he’ll be there. He made some great throws today and we made some great catches.”