Sunday, April 20, 2014
From Staff Reports
Ethan Jordan has steadily improved in his first season as Cheverus’ starting quarterback. He had to wait to become the starter, but that’s not unusual for the Stags. That’s just the way it is in a program accustomed to playing for Class A state championships.
Portland High School's Joe Esposito looks back as Cheverus High School's Noah Stebbins catches the ball in the third quarter at Cheverus High School during the Eastern Class A football championship game in Portland on Saturday.
Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
Jordan, a senior, succeeded Liam Fitzpatrick, who had to wait until his senior year to take over after Cam Olson graduated. Olson started at quarterback as a senior after the graduation of Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Peter Gwilym.
The Stags (10-0) will seek their third Class A state championship in four years when they meet Bonny Eagle (9-1) on Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium. Cheverus beat Portland 22-19 for the Eastern Class A title, and Bonny Eagle dispatched Thornton Academy 28-13 in the Western Maine final.
Jordan started slowly against Portland but turned things around in the second half. After the Stags took advantage of a fumble to close to within 19-14 early in the third quarter, Jordan threw a 65-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Kenny Drelich for the winning touchdown, then connected with tight end Zordan Holman for the 2-point conversion.
The Cheverus defense took over from there and didn’t allow a first down in the second half, after Portland (8-2) controlled in the second quarter and scored 19 points for a 19-7 halftime lead.
There were many facets to Cheverus’ win, and Jordan’s management of the offense was one of them. Jordan completed 6 of 11 passes for 128 yards.
“Ethan is very smart and a heady player,” said Coach John Wolfgram. “He made some big throws in the second half. His pass to Kenny Drelich was right on the money.”
Jordan said he only took two varsity snaps last season, which ended with Cheverus losing to eventual state champion Thornton Academy in the regional final. He waited, watched and learned how his predecessors played, and now is making the most of his opportunity.
BONNY EAGLE quarterback Zach Dubiel became the starter midway through last season when Tyson Goodale was injured. An effective runner in the Scots’ spread offense, he’ll offer a contrasting style to Jordan, who runs occasionally, usually on sweeps or rollouts. Dubiel is elusive and can pick his way through a defense, like he did against Thornton Academy in the Western Maine final. He also has a strong and accurate arm. He has accounted for 29 touchdowns – 15 rushing, 14 passing.
PORTLAND HAD a 19-7 lead over Cheverus at halftime of the Eastern Class A final but was overwhelmed by the Stags’ defense in the second half. The Bulldogs didn’t make a first down and gained only 16 yards in the final two quarters.
Portland Coach Jim Hartman said Cheverus’ playoff experience was an “enormous help.” The Stags have played in five straight regional finals and won state championships in 2010 and 2011.
“We’re still learning,” said Hartman. “There’s a mental stamina that needs to happen here. Hopefully they can rebound against Deering (on Thanksgiving Day) and carry it into next season. We’ve got to learn how to play these games. These are hard losses.”
Hartman said the Bulldogs just couldn’t crack the Stags’ defense in the second half.
“That’s on me,” he said.
CHEVERUS, MEANWHILE, did not panic when Portland hit some big pass plays to take the lead.
Instead, said Cody O’Brien, who scored two touchdowns and had a huge game at inside linebacker, the Stags relied on the lessons they’ve learned in practice.
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