SOUTH PORTLAND — So much for that streak.

South Portland hadn’t beaten Deering in football since 2009. Then came Friday night.

Spencer Houlette scored two touchdowns and a bend-but-not-break defense made it stand up for a 20-6 victory at Martin Field.

“We put ourselves in the underdog role coming into tonight. We haven’t beaten (Deering) in a long time,” said South Portland Coach Steve Stinson. “For us to make the jump to the middle of the standings we need to beat teams like Deering.

“We made a statement tonight that we are improving.”

Deering, meanwhile, dropped to 0-3 after a tough early-season schedule: The Rams lost to Thornton Academy and Scarborough – two of the top three teams in Class A South – to start the year.

South Portland opened the scoring before most fans found their seats.

On Deering’s second play, Hunter Owen pounced on a loose ball in the backfield, setting up South Portland (2-1) at the Rams’ 28. It took only one play for Houlette (19 carries, 145 yards) to score on an end-around down the right sideline.

“The fumble was probably the biggest momentum (change) of the game,” said Houlette. “And then scoring on the first play brought us out and showed we were ready to play. We came out strong and hit them in the teeth.”

Still, Deering didn’t take long to answer. An 11-play, 64-yard drive ended with Dru Tillman’s 8-yard scamper. He hit the line, jumped to the left, then faked a defender by scooting out even farther left before crossing the goal line with 6:40 remaining in the opening period.

Starting quarterback Jack Lynch was hurt on the drive when he lowered his shoulder on a play that was called back due to holding. Running back Travis Soule – the team’s third quarterback in three games this season – took over.

“It was tough to lose our quarterback but Travis came in and did a bang-up job,” Deering Coach Jason Jackson said. “He only probably took a total of 10 to 15 snaps (Thursday in practice).”

South Portland took the lead for good 1:33 into the second quarter. Jake Poole (5 of 8, 64 yards) found Owen in the back left corner of the end zone for a 2-yard pass and a 13-7 lead. Poole had bumped into a teammate in the backfield but kept his composure. Houlette had a 36-yard gain on third-and-10 from the South Portland 20.

The Rams appeared to be moving for a tying score, but their seven-play drive stalled at the Red Riots’ 42.

That was the story of the game for Deering, which only had one three-and-out drive. But two turnovers and penalties negating big gains stymied numerous drives. The Rams also went 0 of 5 on fourth downs.

Deering’s next drive ended after one play when Houlette intercepted a Soule pass.

It took only three plays for South Portland to increase its lead. Houlette scored from 51 yards with 1:38 left before halftime. He broke an arm tackle at the line and went in untouched the rest of the way. Zach Johnson’s second PAT made it 20-6.

Soule finished with 89 yards rushing and 70 yards passing. Michael Randall rushed for 54 yards, all but one in the second half.