Tuesday, June 18, 2013
SACO - One has been the go-to player all season. The other was getting his first start.
Donald Goodrich, who ran for 198 yards and scored three touchdowns Saturday for Cheverus, looks for room around end while pursued by Dylan Morton of Thornton Academy. Cheverus won 28-14 and just needs a home victory against Deering to complete a perfect regular season.
Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
Andrew Libby of Thornton Academy follows a block by Cody Lynn to score from 4 yards late in the second quarter. Libby scored both touchdowns for the Golden Trojans.
Donald Goodrich battered Thornton Academy with his bruising yet elusive running Saturday. Linebacker Sam Cross broke the Trojans' heart.
And the streak continues.
Cheverus tied the Class A record of 31 straight victories, using quick starts in each half, and strong performances from Goodrich, Cross and a supporting cast to beat Thornton Academy 28-14 before an announced crowd of 4,011 at Hill Stadium.
In a game between undefeated teams, Goodrich scored three touchdowns and rushed for 198 yards.
Cross had the stage for an instant, but what an instant it was.
Down 21-14, Thornton got the ball at its 20 with five minutes remaining. But on the first play, Cross intercepted an Eric Christensen pass and raced 32 yards unimpeded to the end zone.
The play all but clinched Cheverus' 31st consecutive victory over three seasons. The Stags haven't lost since a 7-6 setback at Windham in the 2009 Western Class A final.
"I read the quarterback's eyes," said Cross. "They had run the play earlier."
The victory almost certainly guaranteed the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the regional playoffs for the Stags, who are seeking a third consecutive Class A title.
Cheverus will attempt to set the consecutive-game winning streak record next Saturday at home against Deering in the regular-season finale.
Cheverus now shares the record with South Portland, which won 31 straight from 1995-97. Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram also was the Red Riots' coach for that streak.
Cheverus (7-0) scored on its opening drive, but the Golden Trojans (6-1) answered in the second quarter and went into halftime with momentum. The Stags then took the second-half kickoff, drove 77 yards to score and led the rest of the way.
"Every team tries to set the tempo early," said Goodrich of his team's opening score. "If you do, that's the way you're going to play."
Asked what tying the winning streak meant, Goodrich said: "It means nothing. We're just looking at the season and our goal."
That goal is winning a third straight state title.
Wolfgram echoed Goodrich's words.
"This streak doesn't mean anything," he said. "You might think I'm blowing smoke (but) the only thing we're concerned about is getting the No. 1 seed for the playoffs."
The running of Goodrich, fullback Cody O'Brien and quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick allowed Cheverus to control the ball for most of the game.
"We wanted to keep their offense off the field as much as possible because they have a really good offense," said Wolfgram. "Thornton gained a lot of yards but they scored just 14 points. We made the plays when we had to and controlled the pace against an excellent, well-coached team."
Goodrich ran over and around the Golden Trojans.
"We're going to give him the ball until they stop it," said Fitzpatrick.
"We came out flying and I think that might have caught them by surprise."
O'Brien was filling in for fullback Brent Green, sidelined with a knee injury. O'Brien carried 20 times for 98 yards.
Cross was filling in for Green at linebacker. A regular on special teams, Cross was making his first start on defense.
Wolfgram said there's a chance Green could return in the playoffs.
There was plenty of motivation for the Stags -- unbeaten record, the top seed, the streak, and Green.
"He was the motivation," Goodrich said of Green. "We were playing for him, Coach, and the others who couldn't play."
After stopping Thornton on its opening series, the Stags needed seven plays to score, Goodrich going in from the 2. The big play was a play-action pass from Fitzpatrick for 43 yards to tight end Ryan Casale, who was tripped up from behind.
(Continued on page 2)
click image to enlarge
Cheverus quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick is chased by David LePauloue, left, and Cody Lynn of Thornton Academy during Cheverus’ 28-14 victory Saturday at Saco.
John Patriquin/Staff Photographer