November 4, 2013

High school notebook: Focus on ground game helps Sanford pull upset

From Staff Reports

Sanford football coach Mike Fallon knew his team would have to generate more offense in its Western Class A quarterfinal against South Portland than it did during their regular-season meeting, a 21-10 South Portland victory.

“Scoring 10 points was just not going to do it,” said Fallon. “South Portland can score a lot of points.”

The third-seeded Red Riots proved that again Saturday, but No. 6 Sanford scored one more point in a 33-32 upset.

Now Sanford (4-5) heads to Saco on Saturday to play No. 2 Thornton Academy (6-2) in the regional semifinals. Fallon said it’s the first time Sanford has been in the semifinals in more than 10 seasons.

How did the Spartans generate more offense? For one thing, they gave the ball more to 6-foot-4, 220-pound fullback Nick Love, who scored one touchdown and rumbled for 148 yards on 24 carriers. The other backs stepped up, too – Justin Roberge, Peter Hegarty, Edward Michetti and Jake Leonard. Roberge scored the first three touchdowns as Sanford got off to a quick lead and then held off a rally directed by South Portland quarterback Duncan Preston, who ran for one touchdown and passed for four.

“Sanford did pretty much what they wanted to on the run,” said South Portland Coach Steve Stinson. “They’re a big, physical team and it was a tough matchup for us.”

The biggest play of the game, other than South Portland failing to convert a 2-point conversion pass with 2:26 left, was Michetti’s 73-yard scoring run in the third quarter that gave the Spartans a 33-14 lead. Michetti went straight up the middle and it appeared he would score untouched, but the Riots tracked him down and jarred the ball loose from his grasp. It appeared he lost control of the ball before he reached the goal line, and the ball rolled through the end zone as players from both teams tried to recover it. But officials ruled that Michetti had crossed the plane of the goal line before the fumble.

ANOTHER TEAM seemingly peaking at the right time is Windham, which advanced with a 54-14 win over Edward Little in an Eastern Class A quarterfinal Saturday night.

The Eagles showed a strong and balanced running attack, just like Sanford. Senior Liam Sullivan and sophomore Griffin Jacobson shredded the Eddies for over 250 yards combined.

No. 3 Windham faces a tough semifinal matchup with No. 2 Portland on Friday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium. Portland beat Windham 57-14 on Oct. 11.

The Eagles are in the semifinals for the first time since 2009, the year after they won the state title. With only six seniors, Windham is one of the youngest teams in Class A.

“We’ve had some good battles with some strong teams and we’ve taken it on the chin with other teams, but we learned from it all and improved,” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins. “We’ll have a good week of practice to get ready for Portland.”

GIRLS’ SOCCER

FALMOUTH’S SEASON ended without a state championship for the first time since 2009. The Yachtsmen had won the last three Class B state titles and six of the last eight.

But Falmouth moved up to Class A this season and lost to Thornton Academy 2-1 in double overtime Saturday in the Western Class A semifinals. Falmouth still played a Class B schedule in the regular season, but Coach Andrew Pelletier didn’t think his team was at a disadvantage in the playoffs against opponents it hadn’t seen.

(Continued on page 2)

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