Thursday, May 23, 2013
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - After every Cheverus home football game, the players walk from one end of the field to the other, replacing the grass divots that have been churned up.
Cheverus running back Cody O’Brien is tackled by Portland’s Anthony Lane, bottom left, Joe Nielsen, top, and Cody McCormack. Cheverus won, 42-0.
Photos by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
With their team leading 42-0 after three quarters, the Cheverus starters – including Matt Cushing, left, Jackson McMann, middle, and Mike Flaherty – watched from the bench in the fourth quarter while the reserves got their chance for some varsity experience.
Over the last three seasons, most of the divots have come from the cleats of the Stags and their high-powered offense and suffocating defense.
"It really helps the field recover," said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram said of the postgame cleanup.
As for their opponents recovering, well, that's another matter.
Cheverus, which has won the last two Class A state titles with 12-0 seasons, took control early and rolled to a 42-0 win over Portland on Saturday afternoon at Boulos Stadium.
In two games, Cheverus has outscored opponents 85-6. Because Portland opened with a 45-14 win over Massabesic, some thought there was a chance for a close game this week. But the Stags ended those thoughts in a hurry.
Donald Goodrich, who scored three touchdowns, offered this sobering assessment for the rest of the league:
"I think we're as good as we were last year," he said. "We did lose some big players but the other guys have done a nice job replacing them."
Greg Grinnell, Dan Peabody-Harrington and Matt Cushing are first-year starters in the line. They've stepped up to help open holes for Goodrich and Brent Green.
The first two times Goodrich carried the ball, the Bulldogs tackled him for losses. But he finished with 171 yards on 20 carries. The Stags pulled their starters at the end of the third quarter.
"Portland was prepared for our sweeps early on," said Goodrich. "We came back with traps and isolations. That helped to open things up."
Goodrich scored his first touchdown on a 15-yard run late in the first half. He added scoring runs of 7 and 2 yards in the third quarter.
Cheverus quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick completed 3 of 4 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, he had two interceptions.
"I thought we were aggressive," said Wolfgram. "We executed and played well in all three phases."
Jackson McMann of Cheverus blocked an early punt. Two more Portland mistakes led to touchdowns.
On fourth down, Goodrich was back in punt formation but decided to run for the first down. He would have been short but the Bulldogs grabbed his facemask.
On fourth-and-10 from the 20, Fitzpatrick hit tight end Zordan Holman cutting across the middle for the touchdown.
Then, after a fumbled punt, Fitzpatrick hit a wide-open Noah Stebbins near the goal line for a 30-yard score.
The Bulldogs (1-1) only crossed midfield three times, getting only as far as the 30.
"It's a leaning process," said Portland Coach Jim Hartman of his young team's progression. "We have a lot of work to do. How we bounce back from this and improve as a team will be the question."
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: