November 8, 2013

High School Football Notebook: Familiarity among foes makes for exciting playoffs

Rivalries continue into the regional semifinals.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

After Sanford beat South Portland 33-32 in the Western Class A quarterfinals last Saturday, Spartans Coach Mike Fallon had plenty of praise for his players as he talked to them at one end of Martin Memorial Field.

Jack Drinan

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Jack Drinan, Cape Elizabeth: A tailback, Drinan got the call in last week’s Western Maine Class C quarterfinal against Yarmouth and responded. He carried the ball 30 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns as the fifth-seeded Capers advanced with a 27-14 win. Drinan scored twice on runs of 10 yards as Cape scored 27 straight points to take charge.

HONORABLE MENTION

Nick Love, Sanford: Love, a fullback, scored on a 1-yard run with 50 seconds left in the first half to give the Spartans a 27-8 lead. He finished with 148 yards on 24 carries as Sanford upset South Portland, 33-32.

Brendon Smith, Scarborough: Smith, a tight end, caught touchdown passes of 8 and 60 yards to help the Red Storm beat Biddeford 45-19 in the Western Class A quarterfinals.

Duncan Preston, South Portland: Preston passed for four touchdowns and ran 66 yards for another as the Red Riots’ comeback fell just short against Sanford in the Western Class A quarterfinals.

“We’re 1-0,” Fallon emphasized.

Sanford (5-4) struggled on offense in the middle of the season, scoring six, nine, 10 and six points in four straight games, all losses. But all that was in the past after last weekend’s win, as Fallon alluded to in his postgame remarks.

Now it’s on to the regional semifinals in all classes, where many of the opponents have very recent histories. In what is likely a first because of statewide football realignment, all but one of the matchups are the second meetings this season. The exception is in Eastern Class D, where No. 3 Mattanawcook and No. 2 MCI didn’t play in the regular season.

Only two games could be classified as blowouts the first time around, and they involved local schools. On Oct. 19, Cheverus beat Bangor 49-7. A week earlier, Portland defeated Windham 57-14. But Bangor and Windham come into the second meetings with confidence after having won their quarterfinals by big scores.

Other regular-season scores for this week’s rematches:

Class A: Bonny Eagle 34, Scarborough 26 on Sept. 27; Thornton Academy 25, Sanford 9 on Sept. 28.

Class B: Kennebunk 22, Westbrook 8 on Oct. 14; York 28, Marshwood 19 on Oct. 25; Cony 48, Messalonskee 20 on Sept. 6; Brunswick 47, Skowhegan 26 on Sept. 27.

Class C: Leavitt 26, Cape Elizabeth 7 on Sept. 6; Wells 20, Spruce Mountain 15 on Sept. 13; Winslow 28, Belfast 12 on Sept. 7; Mt. Desert Island 42, Waterville 35 on Oct. 8.

Class D, Winthrop/Monmouth 24, Dirigo 14 on Sept. 20; Oak Hill 33, Lisbon 14 on Oct. 26; and Bucksport 24, Orono 20 on Oct. 4.

Of these previous meetings, the only game where the lower seed won was No. 3 MDI over No. 2 Waterville in Eastern Class C.

The best game in Class A looks to be Scarborough (6-3) at Bonny Eagle (7-1). The Red Storm have won five straight since their regular-season loss to the Scots, scoring more than 40 points in every game. Last week, Scarborough beat Biddeford 45-19 in the quarterfinals.

Bonny Eagle suffered its only loss to Thornton Academy, 30-21 three weeks ago, then rebounded with a 57-12 win over Windham in the regular-season finale. The Scots received a first-round bye as the top seed in Western Class A.

The other Western Class A semifinal, Sanford at Thornton Academy, also could be interesting. Sanford looked impressive last week in beating South Portland, which defeated the Golden Trojans in the season opener.

In Western Class B, Marshwood at York on Saturday afternoon should be another tight one in the tradition of the rivalry.

A question going into the semifinals is how the top seeds will play after opening-round byes. While the byes gave teams a chance to heal injuries, not having played last week could cause rustiness. This is the first time top seeds have had a bye week, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.

“You never know,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Aaron Filieo whose team travels to No. 1 Leavitt Friday night.

“Every team is different. Some teams aren’t fazed by it. We’re excited to go up and play them. I think we match up well with them. We have no expectations. They’re undefeated and expected to beat us. We’ve just been kind of rolling along,” he said.

Filieo likes the fact the Capers have played Leavitt during the season.

(Continued on page 2)

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