Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By Kevin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
WINDHAM — Fifth-seeded Portland High broke a 14-14 tie with three fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 35-21 win over No. 4 Windham Saturday afternoon, in the first round of the Western Class A playoffs.
Portland (6-3) moves on to the Western A semifinals next Saturday at undefeated and top-seeded Cheverus (9-0).
Portland tailback Justin Zukowski paced the Bulldogs with 32 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown. His 25-yard interception return for a score gave Portland a commanding 35-14 lead with two minutes left in the game.
Windham (4-5) was led by quarterback Damien Shepard, who rushed for one touchdown and threw for two more.
Portland scored on the opening drive, marching 58 yards in nine plays. On fourth-and11 from the 21, quarterback Ryan Ruhlin threaded a pass to Nick Volger in the end zone. Kyle Reichert’s extra point made it a 7-0 lead.
Windham marched 62 yards on its opening drive, but the Eagles were stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Still, Windham had field position. Portland could not get a first down. The Bulldogs punt was blocked by Windham’s Dylan Koza, giving the Eagles the ball on the Portland 7.
On second down, Shepard scored from the 5. Josh Dugas’ extra point tied the game 7-7.
Portland responded with a 65-yard drive, capped by Ruhlin’s two-yard sneak.
Windham tied the game again, near the end of the first half on a quick, 70-yard drive, keyed by Liam Sullivan’s 41-yard run, and Shepard’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Zach Davis, with 2:09 left in the half.
Portland took the lead for good with a 14-play, 6 1/2-minute drive, capped by Zukowski’s two-yard run. Folger’s 15-yard run made it 28-14. And Zukowski’s interception return clinched it.
The Bulldogs have a challenge ahead of them. Portland played Cheverus on Sept. 8 and lost 42-0.