Friday, May 24, 2013
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
SACO - After a typical opening Friday night of football, it was Thornton Academy's turn to show its stuff.
Andrew Libby of Thornton Academy eludes a foot tackle from Dominic Esposito-Martin of Deering to score a second-quarter touchdown on a punt return, giving the Golden Trojans a 17-0 lead Saturday on the way to a 44-14 victory at Saco.
Photos by Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographers
Josh Cyr of Thornton Academy shows his enthusiasm as teammate Andrew Libby reaches the end zone on a punt return.
And the Golden Trojans did just that. Considered the best or second-best team in Western Class A, depending whose camp you belong to, the Golden Trojans wanted to show their preseason hype was warranted.
They beat Deering 44-14 on a sun-splashed Saturday before an announced crowd of 1,076 at Hill Stadium.
Thornton roared out to a quick 17-0 lead. Deering scored early in the third quarter to cut it to 17-7, but Thornton standout Andrew Libby scored on a 66-yard run three plays later. That sparked 21 unanswered points that put it away.
The Golden Trojans showed strong running and passing in accumulating their points. They beat a Rams team that should win a few games this season.
"They're a good football team," said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal of Deering. "Deering is big up front. Kenny Sweet and James Doyle, their tight end, are good football players. Deering played Brunswick tough in the preseason and you saw how Brunswick played Bangor (Friday) night.
"We were concerned going in. The guys we had to have make plays made them. It was a good start but we're just going one week at a time. It's a tough league."
After stopping Deering on the opening series, Thornton needed only five plays to score. An encroachment penalty against Deering and a 6-yard run by Nick Kenney gave the Golden Trojans their initial first down. Two runs by quarterback Eric Christensen and another by Kenney brought another first down. On first down from the 21, Christensen found tight end Cody Lynn wide open for the touchdown. Brandon Briggs' PAT made it 7-0.
Thornton's next possession resulted in a 26-yard field goal by Briggs, whose kickoffs to the scoreboard end of the field sailed out of the end zone every time.
At the start of the second quarter, Libby, a junior returning All-State player, fielded a punt and went 59 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0, which was the halftime score.
The Rams got on the board when Sweet intercepted a Christensen pass at midfield and ran to the 4 before being knocked out of bounds.
On third down, Deering quarterback Mike Marzilli passed to Doyle in the end zone for the touchdown.
Libby followed with his 66-yard touchdown, which came on third down and one.
"That was huge," said Kezal. "If we had gone three and out after they cut it to 17-7, it wouldn't have been a good signal to send."
Kenney scored on a short run at the start of the third and later, with the ball at the 9, Christensen took advantage of a drawn-in secondary to pass to tight end Dakota Tarbox in the middle and the 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior outraced the Rams' defense to complete a 91-yard score.
"It was very important to come out and play well, which we did," said Christensen. "We thought we could have success with Andrew and Nick running the ball and throwing it to Dakota. And that's what we did. We want to become a more consistent team and avoid some of the droughts we had today."
A couple of times the center snap was low to Christensen and he was dropped for large losses. But other than those, it was a strong opening performance for the Golden Trojans, who hope there are several more this season.
Marzilli scored Deering's other touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"We had stretches where we played really good but didn't capitalize," said Deering Coach Jon Gallant. "Against the good teams you have to capitalize. It took us a while to get going. We never gave up. We have some ability. If we work hard this could be a learning experience."
Libby and Kenney finished with 79 and 65 yards rushing, respectively. Dominic Lauture led the Rams with 98 yards rushing; Sweet added 79 yards with 69 coming on a run in the fourth quarter.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: