October 14, 2013

High School Notebook: Biddeford proving it's worthy of playoffs

From staff reports

After Biddeford High started the football season with a 48-14 thumping at the hands of Bonny Eagle, no one was quite sure what to expect from the Tigers.

But after their convincing 28-6 win Friday night over Sanford, the Tigers stand 4-2 and have a chance for a bye in the first round of the Western Class A playoffs. Biddeford is fourth in the Crabtree standings, with games remaining at No. 3 South Portland and at No. 2 Thornton Academy (both 4-2).

Brian Curit, who returned this year to coach the Tigers after resigning in 2006, isn't entirely surprised.

"We played Bonny Eagle, and if you think of it, that was a heck of an opener," Curit said of the Scots (6-0). "And we played Cheverus the week before (in an exhibition). Think about it, those two teams, for all intents and purposes, could be playing the week before Thanksgiving (for the Class A state championship).

"And I knew, keep in mind how young we are. We're young everywhere. And I think we had that deer-in-the-headlights look at the beginning of the year. Now they've started to get it. I've never questioned how hard they work. I think they had to believe they could compete."

Senior running back Corey Creeger, who scored a touchdown against the Spartans, added, "The first game, we (had) a devastating loss. And every week we've been progressing. We've been moving forward, fixing things that need to be fixed. The one time we didn't come out on top (a 41-21 loss to Scarborough), they were just a better team than us. But we've been progressing every week."

The Tigers converted four fourth-down plays in the first half, three for touchdowns and the other a 27-yard completion. Curit felt the Tigers had to play aggressively.

"Sanford is a good team, take a look at how they've played everyone all year," he said. "We knew if we didn't do that, it could be trouble. I never felt the lead was safe against them."

SINCE GETTING past Portland in the season opener, 35-25, the Cheverus football team has dominated all of its opponents. The average score in the Stags' last five games is 56.4-7.4.

Despite the almost perfectly average score, Saturday's 56-7 win against Thornton (4-2) was an above-average effort.

"We've played fairly well this year but I think that was our best game," Coach John Wolfgram said. "They're a real quality opponent is the thing."

"We get better week-to-week. We're improving," senior two-way tackle Greg Grinnell said. "We'll just see how next week goes. We have Bangor. Every team we play is good. We prepare the same way."

After his six-TD, 261-yard effort, junior running back Joe Fitzpatrick has 21 touchdowns (20 rushing) this season.

Cheverus allowed only 171 yards -- 80 coming on a long touchdown run by Demel Ruff. TA's passing game was stifled and held to six short completions in 17 attempts for just 30 yards.

Sophomore cornerback Isaac Dunn was on the spot for an early interception that he returned 30 yards to set up a touchdown.

When the Cheverus offense made its one mistake -- a fumble by Cody O'Brien -- the defense got it right back, forcing a Thornton fumble two plays later that Will Hilton recovered.

"Fumbles are not acceptable, as Coach says, but they do happen sometimes," O'Brien said. "We've got to handle sudden changes. We played on defense. We had our heads in it and we got the ball back."

(Continued on page 2)

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