Monday, December 9, 2013
By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND - A warm September evening put all the months of offseason hard work in perspective for Alex Shain.
Shain shook off the frustration of a season-opening loss a week ago and a difficult first half Friday night, erupting for three touchdowns in the second half to lead Sanford to a 24-6 win over Deering in a Western Class A football game.
"We did so much offseason conditioning as a team and we are in probably in the best shape any Sanford football team has been in," said Shain. "We just wore them down. We didn't stop. We played 48 minutes.
"It was a grind the first half. They played hard and we played hard and it was even. We kept running up the middle in the second half and we finally broke one, and then we broke another one."
With the Spartans leading 3-0 early in the second half, Shain capped a 40-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. The senior back accounted for 35 of the 40 yards.
He did it again on the Spartans next possession when he broke free of traffic and raced in from 26 yards to give the visitors a 17-0 lead.
"We challenged him after last week," said Sanford Coach Mike Fallon, referring to the Spartans 43-6 home loss to Cheverus.
"We told him (tonight) that that's the kid we need. If you are going to be among the better teams in the league, you need special kids to do special things. Tonight, Alex did special things."
Deering showed it wasn't going to go quietly, as Mike Marzilli answered for the Rams on their next possession. The Deering quarterback scored on a 15-yard run to make it 17-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Shain, who totaled 143 yards on the ground in the second half and finished with 28 carries for 213 yards, capped his evening with a 56-yard scoring run.
Sanford struck for the only points in the first half when Tyler Flayhan capped a 15-play drive with a 25-yard field goal.
Deering enjoyed great field position in the opening half but couldn't take advantage. Four of the Rams' seven drives started in Sanford territory, but they managed only four first downs.
Deering's best scoring opportunity in the half was set up after punter Jacob Coon pinned the Spartans inside their own 1-yard line early in the second quarter. Sanford managed to move the ball only to its 5 before being forced to punt, and Deering took possession at the Spartans 29.
But the Rams wasted the prime scoring chance when they fumbled on their first play.
"We just made too many mistakes to have a chance," said Deering Coach Jon Gallant. "They're a good team and you can't do that."
The Rams also had a chance to get on the board in the late stages of the opening half, but Marzilli's deep pass bounced away from Dominic Lauture, who was a just step or two from scoring.