Saturday, May 18, 2013
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
For most of the season, the Cheverus and Thornton Academy football teams have tried to deny looking ahead to their Western Class A showdown.
Donald Goodrich will be more important than usual to the Cheverus offense if fullback Brent Green, on crutches this week, is unable to play.
Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
Andrew Libby, just a junior, is the do-everything player who Thornton Academy hopes will help end Cheverus’ 30-game winning streak.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
WHAT'S AT STAKE
• Cheverus is seeking its 31st straight win, which would tie the Class A record set by South Portland from 1995-97. South Portland was coached by John Wolfgram, the current Cheverus coach.
• Both Cheverus and Thornton Academy are unbeaten. The winner likely will have home-field advantage through the Western Class A playoffs.
We will be providing a live stream of two high school football games this week:
• Scarborough at Portland, 7 p.m. Friday
• Cheverus at Thornton Academy, 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Watch live at pressherald.com/sports
FOOTBALL PICKS CONTEST
• Win a $50 gift card if you have the best weekly record in our high school picks contest.
• Tickets to Saturday's game are being sold today at both schools. At Cheverus, tickets are available at Loyola Hall at 271 Ocean Avenue from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets also can be purchased at the Thornton Academy athletic office from 8 to 10:45 a.m. and from 12:45 to 2:30 p.m., as well as during lunches in the cafeteria. Ticket prices are $4 for adults, and $2 for students and senior citizens.
They insisted they were playing one game at a time, one game at a time, a mantra they used to the hilt.
Well, there's no need to deny it any longer. The game has all but arrived.
Cheverus and Thornton, both sporting 6-0 records, will square off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hill Stadium in Saco for bragging rights, the chance to continue their quest for an unbeaten season, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
This isn't just another game, as the players have been taught to repeat by their coaches. With so many blowouts in this high school season, there's finally a game that means something. It's not the regional final, but it's the next-best thing.
Oh, there's also that little thing about a winning streak, another thing Cheverus has denied existing. The Stags can tie the Class A record of 31 straight wins by South Portland from 1995-97.
The Red Riots' coach at the time was John Wolfgram, who now coaches Cheverus.
The game will feature talented players on both sides, but none better than Donald Goodrich of Cheverus and Andrew Libby of Thornton Academy.
They are marquee players in a marquee game.
Coaches will tell you football is a team game, and no one or two players can win a game. Goodrich, a halfback/defensive end, and Libby, a running back/safety, could be the exceptions.
Last season, Goodrich was named to the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State team as a defensive end. But it was on offense as a replacement for injured running back Spencer Cooke late in the season where Goodrich gained his notoriety. He ran for five touchdowns in the state championship game.
Libby was a Maine Sunday Telegram All-State selection on offense as a utility player. They were two of only five underclassmen to be named to the All-State team. A year ago as a sophomore, Libby played running back, wildcat back, slot receiver, defensive back and punter. He's still doing all that.
"Both are great players," said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal. "(Goodrich) is the focal point of their offense and we want to get the ball in (Libby's) hands in as many different ways as possible. Andrew does a little bit of everything for us. He plays our H-back, he's a receiver, a blocker, he plays safety, he returns and punts.
"Even so, I feel our offense is more diversified than last year. Eric Christensen has developed into a good thrower. Nick Kenney, our fullback, leads our team in carries, and Dylan Morton, one of our running backs, is averaging 11 to 12 yards a carry. He has good speed, while Andrew also has good speed but is shifty."
Kezal likes his team speed but wonders who will catch Goodrich if he gets loose.
Kezal said the game doesn't carry the pressure of a playoff game.
"We're excited for the opportunity, but if we win this and lose two weeks from now, we haven't accomplished much," he said.
The four-week playoff march begins in two weeks.
Gaining the home field is crucial.
Cheverus has had the top seed and the home field for the regional final the last two years, beating Deering two years ago and Thornton last season.
"We're really excited we're playing on our home turf," said Libby. "It's a great feeling when you step onto the field and there's 3,000 fans yelling for you. This is a big game because we want to have the regional final on our field."
With Cheverus fullback/safety Brent Green's status for the game in doubt, the task of carrying more of the load will fall on Goodrich, who already carries a lot.
Earlier this week when asked about Green's status, Wolfgram said: "It's day to day." Green was on crutches on the sideline after he left last week's game and was using crutches at school this week. Cody O'Brien will be at fullback if Green can't play.
The waiting is over. The big game has all but arrived.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: