November 10, 2013

Eastern Class A football: Cheverus cruises to the final

The Stags get five TDs from Joe Fitzpatrick in routing Bangor, 37-0.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

It may be a different region, East instead of West, but its place in it remains the same.

click image to enlarge

Zordan Holman of Cheverus slows Dane Johnson of Bangor during Cheverus’ 37-0 victory Saturday in an Eastern Class A semifinal. The Stags will meet Portland in the final.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

EASTERN CLASS A FINAL

WHO: Portland (8-1) at Cheverus (9-0)

WHEN: 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Top-ranked Cheverus is headed to another regional final, its fifth straight, after shutting out fourth-seeded Bangor 37-0 in an Eastern Class A semifinal Saturday at Boulos Stadium.

The victory set up a classic final between Cheverus (9-0) and second-seeded Portland (8-1) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Bulldogs have won eight straight since losing to the Stags in the opener, 35-25. Both teams have blown out everyone else.

Before the realignment this season, Cheverus had been in the last four Western finals.

Cheverus had a somewhat sluggish first half that was remedied by giving the ball to Joe Fitzpatrick, who scored all the game’s touchdowns (five) and rushed for 254 yards on 24 carries. His touchdown runs accounted for 180 yards alone,

Cheverus beat Bangor 49-7 after taking a 21-0 lead in the first three minutes. This time the Stags led 16-0 at the half.

“At least this time it was a good football game for the first half although our field position didn’t make it look that way,” said Bangor Coach Mark Hackett. “But scorewise it was a football game.”

Then Cheverus scored on the second play of the second half, a 52-yard run by Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, who could be a candidate to win the Fitzpatrick Trophy next season, had to work for his first-half yardage. He was dropped for losses three times on runs and lost a fumble on another.

In the second half, Cheverus got into a better offensive flow.The Stags scored on their first two series to make it 30-0. Fitzpatrick’s fourth score was a 32-yarder. His final TD came on the first play of the fourth quarter, covering 40 yards.

“We definitely had some hiccups in the first half,” said Fitzpatrick, who played behind the Fitzpatrick Trophy winner, Donald Goodrich, last season. “The offense was thinking too much in the first half. At halftime Coach calmed us down and told us what we had to do. It came down to executing like we normally do, which enabled us to re-establish ourselves.”

Fitzpatrick credited his line for creating the seams that allowed him to find the end zone. Fitzpatrick showed a good burst on his scoring runs.

“Guards Connor Conley and Riley Archer did great jobs. I could just run behind them. Fullback Cody O’Brien blocked well on the sweeps and there’s no one I would rather run behind than a 6-foot-6, 200-pound tight end like Zordan Holman,” said Fitzpatrick.

Cheverus, like Portland, had a first-round bye and was off since the Oct. 25-26 weekend.

Coach John Wolfgram wasn’t sure if the break hurt.

“We obviously didn’t play our best game but the kids came back in the second half,” he said. “We came out with a good pace in the second half, which was important. Bangor is a good football team. They’re tough inside and good defensively. They took away some of the things we wanted to do.”

Bangor showed life after James Deane intercepted a pass at midfield in the second quarter The Rams got to the 15, then the 12 on successive drives before the half, but Cheverus pushed them back on the first one and Justin Johnson intercepted on the second.

“If you had told me before the game that we would be down 16-0 at halftime, we would have taken it because Cheverus is a very good football team,” said Hackett. “When we couldn’t get a score before halftime, it hurt our chances of making it competitive. The kids tried hard but we’re not good enough yet. Cheverus is very well-coached and very disciplined.”

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

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