Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Tom Chard email@example.com
Cheverus and Thornton Academy are the two best football teams in Western Class A. We'll find out which is the best when they play Oct. 13 in Saco.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kenny Sweet. Deering: Sweet returned the opening kickoff 85 yards against Scarborough and added touchdown runs of 2 and 35 yards as the Rams' bid for an upset fell short, 28-21. Sweet was moved to quarterback for the game because of an injury to the starter. Defensively, Sweet was outstanding in the secondary, and his interception and 50-yard return led to his 2-yard touchdown run.
Donald Goodrich, Cheverus: Goodrich scored four touchdowns and rushed for 237 yards as the Stags remained unbeaten with a 47-0 win over Windham. Goodrich had all of his scores and all but seven of his yards in the first half.
Alex Shain, Sanford: Shain scored on kickoff returns of 85 and 84 yards as the Spartans beat Gorham, 48-20. He finished with five touchdowns.
Christian Lavallee, Cape Elizabeth: Lavallee scored three TDs in a 30-14 win over Falmouth. He carried 20 times for 112 yards.
In the meantime, unbeaten Scarborough has a chance to show it belongs in the same discussion. The Red Storm get that chance at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Thornton Academy.
The Red Storm have been impressive with wins over Bonny Eagle and Windham, but had all they could handle against Deering, trailing 14-13 at halftime before rallying for a 28-21 win. In the opening game of the season, Thornton beat Deering, 44-14.
At the halfway point of the regular season, Scarborough and Thornton are atop the Crabtree standings, just ahead of Cheverus. It doesn't really mean much until the end of the season when the playoff pairings are set. The top eight teams qualify.
For Cheverus and Thornton, the chance to be the No. 1 seed is a big incentive. That prize is home-field advantage through the regionals. A year ago, Thornton had to play the final at Cheverus and lost.
Scarborough can make a case for No. 1 by beating Thornton. After Thornton, the Red Storm host Massabesic and are at Portland, then close with Gorham, which will hurt their Crabtree ranking because strength of schedule matters.
The Red Storm have had a nice rebound from a 3-5 record last year, when running back Scott Thibeault suffered a season-ending injury. Thibeault graduated and now the mantle of leading the team falls on quarterback Dillon Russo, who has been the most exciting player in the league.
Portland, another team with a nice bounce-back season, is fourth in the Crabtree standings, followed by Noble and Windham, tied for fifth, then Massabesic and Bonny Eagle.
Kennebunk and Sanford are seeking to make the top eight.
"We're playing better defense than we have the last two seasons," said Scarborough Coach Lance Johnson. "Thornton will be a big test. They're very solid. Their skill players are all big."
Noble has had the best reversal, going from 1-7 a year ago to 3-1 heading into Friday night's game at Portland, also 3-1.
WHILE WESTERN Class A has two clear front-runners, Western Class B is wide open. Marshwood is 4-0 and ranked No. 1, and York, Westbrook, Wells and Greely all are at 3-1.
Marshwood plays at Wells on Friday night. Also, resurgent Mountain Valley is at York. Games this weekend and next weekend could bring the playoff picture into clearer focus. On Oct. 5, Westbrook hosts York and Wells plays at Mountain Valley. Westbrook plays at Marshwood on the final weekend of the regular season.
"It's anybody's guess right now which team will end up on top," said Westbrook Coach Jeff Guerette. "Marshwood is undefeated with three teams with one loss. I would like to think we'll be right there at the end."
Greely has a victory against Westbrook, then lost to York on a field goal with 39 seconds remaining.
Westbrook opened the season with victories over Mountain Valley and Wells.
WITH THE RENOVATION of South Portland High and its athletic fields, the football team has had to practice at Wainwright Field this season, off Highland Avenue about a mile from the high school.
The team takes a bus to and from practice, and puts on its practice gear in the locker room.
The Riots used to practice on the outfield grass of the baseball field behind the high school, but the baseball field is no longer there.
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