Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Steve Craig firstname.lastname@example.org
STANDISH - Bonny Eagle flashed its big-play ability on offense, but its biggest plays in Saturday's 46-21 win against South Portland were turned in by the defense.
The Scots' defense forced five turnovers -- returning two for touchdowns -- and South Portland also muffed two kickoffs for a total of seven Bonny Eagle takeaways.
"Our defense is our pride and we just work hard and we follow our keys and get the job done," said Bonny Eagle defensive back and quarterback Zach Dubiel.
Dubiel put his team ahead for the first time, 20-14, with the first of his two touchdown passes to Ben Malloy -- a great back-shoulder throw and catch for 31 yards.
Then he went to work on defense.
With South Portland driving, the Scots' stripped the ball free from Riots quarterback Duncan Preston. Dubiel scooped it up and ran clean for a 72-yard score.
"It's something we practice. Our guys this year have really bought into that," Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper said. "You can see them really trying to get the ball."
Bonny Eagle is 2-0. South Portland (1-1) was coming off a Week 1 win against defending Class A state champion Thornton Academy.
Dubiel directed an offense that gained 384 yards. Matt Smith (13 carries, 128 yards) and Jon Woods (10 for 108) both rushed for over 100 yards. Dubiel gained 70 yards, including two 17-yard touchdowns, and completed 6 of 9 passes for 78 yards.
"Our offense can allow us to do anything," Dubiel said. "We have so many options we can do whatever we want out of it."
Early on, it was South Portland that showed off its array of playmakers.
Hayden Owen returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a score, and the Red Riots quickly tacked on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Preston (13 of 26, 178 yards) to big tight end Luch Bol.
South Portland was driving for what appeared to be a third straight score when Matt Smith ripped the ball out of Preston's hands for the first turnover.
"That got us fired up. A big momentum swing," Smith said. "They brought that (kickoff) back and gave us all sour looks and we got down on ourselves a bit, but we came right back."
Bonny Eagle drove 80 yards for its first score, with Dubiel running it in from the 17.
"The difference between us going up 21-0 to having it be 14-7 is a vast difference, so that was huge for them," South Portland Coach Steve Stinson said.
A miscommunication in the South Portland passing game resulted in Preston throwing the ball right into the chest of Bonny Eagle's Woods, who returned it 40 yards for another score. The point-after kick was missed, but the South Portland's early momentum was gone.
"A good team like South Portland they're going to make plays, we just have to keep battling. Our guys did that tonight. I'm most proud of that," Cooper said.
After Dubiel's long fumble return put Bonny Eagle up 27-14 in the third quarter, things got quickly worse for South Portland. Isaiah Reynolds' kickoff caromed off the helmet of the returner and was recovered by the Scots, setting up Dubiel's 9-yard scoring strike to Malloy.