In case the national recognition wasn’t enough, Bonny Eagle’s performance in Friday night’s football exhibition against Biddeford served notice to the rest of the state: the Scots are ready to defend their Class A crown.

Bonny Eagle, fifth in the east region in USA Today’s prep football rankings, rolled over the Tigers 44-0 in the preseason game at Waterhouse Field. The Scots, winners of three of the last four Class A Gold Balls and coming off a 12-0 campaign in 2007, are No. 30 in the nation according to MaxPreps, a national Web site that tracks high school sports. For a little perspective, Lawrence, which Bonny Eagle defeated 34-14 for last year’s state title, is the second-highest ranked team from Maine. The Bulldogs are No. 440 on MaxPreps.

“We’re starting to get some national attention,” said Bonny Eagle coach Kevin Cooper, in his 11th year. “That stuff is really nice, especially since we don’t get that up here in Maine that often. We’re very proud of that. Hopefully we can uphold those high thoughts of us during the year. But our goal is to win a state championship and get a Gold Ball. All those preseason rankings, they don’t get us that. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to reach our goals.”

To Biddeford, the Scots looked pretty well-polished. Bonny Eagle jumped to a 26-0 halftime lead and saw its second string pick up where the starters left off, adding three second-half touchdowns while holding the Tigers to single first down after the break – that coming thanks to a Scots’ penalty.

“When we get in situations where we put in guys that don’t start, we don’t want to have any steps back,” Cooper said. “Those guys did a good job, both (the offensive and defensive) sides, to make the second half a really one-sided affair.”

It was a tough night for the Tigers, who are coming off a 4-4 regular season and a first-round playoff loss in 2007. The tradition-rich program has 11 state championships, but none since 1994.

“When you don’t have a full week to prepare for a team like Bonny Eagle, they can make you look bad, which I think they did tonight at times,” said second-year coach Scott Descoteaux, whose team scrimmaged Windham on Monday.

Bonny Eagle went three and out on its opening drive, but Biddeford quarterback Nate Curran had a pass intercepted by Ryan Nason on the Tigers’ third offensive play. A 38-yard return by Nason set the Scots up at the Biddeford 12-yard line. Three plays later, Bonny Eagle quarterback Nate Doehler ran in for a touchdown from 11 yards out and kicked the extra point to make it 7-0 Scots with 8:37 to go in the first quarter.

Biddeford’s next drive covered 37 yards and lasted more than five minutes, but Curran’s fourth-down pass to Nate Cadorette came up short of the first down. On Bonny Eagle’s next play, running back Josh Ruby busted loose for a 67-yard TD run as the Scots went up 14-0 on Doehler’s PAT with 3:03 left in the first.

The Tigers ran the ball 12 straight times on their next possession, picking up four first downs while chewing up more than seven minutes, but again turned the ball over on downs on the Bonny Eagle 24-yard line. An offsides penalty turned a fourth-and-1 into a fourth-and-6 and Curran’s keeper came up two yards short of the stick.

The Scots drove 76 yards on eight plays, the final one being a 23-yard touchdown pass from Doehler to Nason, to make it 20-0 with 4:01 to go in the second quarter. After a Biddeford punt, Bonny Eagle got the ball back on its own 30. Eight plays later, Nason’s three-yard run made it 26-0 with 40 seconds left in the half.

Ruby carried seven times for 132 yards in the first half for the Scots.

Biddeford’s opening drive of the second half was looking good after a roughing the passer penalty on a ball that the Scots intercepted gave the Tigers a first down at the Bonny Eagle 40. But Curran’s third-and-two pass was intercepted by Ruby, who took the ball away from a Biddeford receiver inside the 10-yard line. The Scots used a 12-play, 93-yard drive, capped off with a 15-yard TD run by backup quarterback Max Alfiero to make it 32-0 with 27 seconds to go in the third.

Alfiero added a seven-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and Nate Martel scored on a 26-yard run with 3:13 remaining for the game’s final score.

Descoteaux said he wasn’t concerned about the score. The focus of the entire preseason has been the upcoming regular-season opener – Friday night at Scarborough at 7 p.m.

“Any opportunity you have to ever spend time with a team of (Bonny Eagle’s) caliber is worth your time,” Descoteaux said. “But our goal, our prize, is Scarborough next week. That’s all we’ve talked about all preseason.”

Bonny Eagle begins its title defense on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Cheverus.

Last season, the Scots opened up what would become an undefeated championship season with an easy 41-6 win at home against Cheverus.

In that game, Bonny Eagle quarterback Nate Doehler threw for three touchdowns and scored two on the ground to help lead the Scots to victory. Doehler will return to quarterback the Scots in 2008 for his senior season.

The Scots took control of the game on the first drive. Ricky Hoyt caught the kick off on the 10-yard line, and sprinted 90 yards downfield to put Bonny Eagle up by a touchdown.

Cheverus came back to march down the field on big runs from tailback Topher Pochebit, rushing 35 yards on the Stags’ first possession. Cheverus quarterback Vinnie Ciampi then scored on a short QB keeper. The Stags didn’t hit the extra point, so Bonny Eagle remained in the lead, 7-6.

Bonny Eagle made the score 13-6 at the end of the first quarter on Doehler’s first rushing touchdown, a seven-yard sweep.

Bonny Eagle’s defense shut down the Stags’ offense on the following possession, and after a turnover on downs, Doehler connected with Travis Dunn for his first touchdown throw of the young season.

The Bonny Eagle defense soon struck again, recovering a fumble and giving the Scots control of the ball. Doehler responded by throwing his second touchdown pass of the game, a 43-yard bomb to John Onesti. The extra point put the score at 27-6 in favor of Bonny Eagle.

Onesti scored in the third quarter on Doehler’s third touchdown pass, bringing the score up to 34-6. The final touchdown of the game came after Josh Speerin intercepted a Ciampi throw, and Doehler followed up with his second score on the ground, a 13-yard rush to bring the score to 41-6.

Bonny Eagle 2008 football schedule

Sept. 6 @ Cheverus 12:30 p.m.

Sept. 12 Windham 7 p.m.

Sept. 19 @ South Portland 7 p.m.

Sept. 26 Westbrook 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 @ Noble 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 Deering 7 p.m.

Oct. 17 @ Portland 7 p.m.

Oct. 24 Gorham 7 p.m.

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