Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald
SOUTH PORTLAND - The early-season reviews are in, and Cheverus is a runaway hit.
For the third straight game, the Stags found little in the way of opposition as they ran roughshod over South Portland in a 42-0 victory.
The victory was the third straight for Cheverus to open the season and extended the Stags' winning streak to 27 games.
While the final score was lopsided, South Portland (0-3) did manage to hang tough in the first half, thanks in part to a pair of Cheverus fumbles.
"We were running pretty well against them and then we fumbled," said Cheverus quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick. "Then we got the ball back and we fumbled again.
"Turnovers were killing us. We really shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers. I mean, in the backfield without even getting hit. We just missed the communication with the ball.
"I'm actually kind of glad it happened because it's something we can learn from and work on."
The Red Riots were unable to capitalize on either turnover, though. And as good teams often do, Cheverus made the Riots pay dearly, taking advantage of the two South Portland turnovers that immediately followed.
The Stags used a quick-strike offense to build a 14-0 advantage in a span of 2:07.
Cheverus' first score was set up when Fitzpatrick picked off his South Portland counterpart, Thomas Leddy, in the waning moments of the first quarter. From there, it took only five plays for Cheverus to travel 65 yards. Brent Green capped the drive with a 19-yard run to give the Stags a 7-0 lead.
Another turnover, this time a Leddy fumble that was forced by Parker Doyon, set the Stags up on the South Portland 17. Donald Goodrich, scoring the first of his three touchdowns, took care of the rest with three straight rushes, the last from 7 yards out to put Cheverus ahead 14-0 at halftime.
"We were able to get two turnovers off them to give us the plus-2 advantage, and then obviously we gave them right back," said South Portland Coach Steve Stinson.
"To beat a team like this you are going to have to win the turnover and field-position battle."
The Red Riots were limited in the first half to a pair of first downs and only 58 yards of offense.
Cheverus opened the flood gates to start the second half when it drove 75 yards on its first possession to move ahead 21-0. The drive was a punishing ground assault that featured alternating runs by Goodrich and Green, ultimately capped by Goodrich when he scored from 3 yards out.
The two Cheverus backs accounted for 324 yards on the ground. Goodrich ran 21 times for 215 yards, while Green collected 109 yards on 14 carries.
Cody O'Brien returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown later in the third quarter and recovered a Cheverus offensive fumble in the end zone for another touchdown in the fourth quarter.