No. 3 Windham (7-2) at No. 2 Thornton Academy (9-0)

Junior quarterbacks who will undoubtedly be mentioned in any 2009 preseason Fitzpatrick Trophy discussion headline this matchup, which pits two teams with high-powered offenses and strength in the trenches.

Thornton Academy, which did not play Windham during the regular season, hasn’t received the amount of fanfare as the teams in the other semifinal matchup – No. 4 Bonny Eagle and No. 1 Deering – but has dominated opponents on both sides of the football, averaging nearly 42 points a game while giving up fewer than 10. Junior quarterback Steve Trask is a threat with his arm and his feet. He ran for nearly 200 yards in last weekend’s 43-26 quarterfinal win over Marshwood. Wide receiver John Trull is a threat to score whenever he touches the ball. Running back Zach Sheehan is a bruising back who’s tough to bring down, and the veteran Thornton offensive line is big and physical.

Windham started the year with losses to Deering and Bonny Eagle, but has reeled off seven wins in a row. The Eagles are vastly improved from last year’s 1-7 campaign. After falling behind 7-0 early in their quarterfinal contest against Massabesic, the Eagles tied the game just before halftime and dominated the second half, scoring three TDs and holding the Mustangs without a first down to roll to a 28-7 victory – the program’s first-ever postseason win. Windham runs a spread offense with junior QB Jackson Taylor taking the snaps. Jack Mallis and David Ingraham are a dangerous combination in the backfield. Taylor has a good arm and is very accurate with three solid receivers in Nate Dixon, Matthew Gledhill and Tucker Miller. The Eagles are bolstered by the recent return of two-way lineman Jimmy Tocher, who had missed some games with an injury.

The knock on Thornton is its schedule. The Golden Trojans did not face another top-five team in the SMAA this season. They’ve got something to prove against the Eagles. For Windham, turnovers have been an issue. The Eagles also have a tendency to start slow before turning it on in the second half. A good early going will be key if Windham is to leave Saco as the victor.

After beating Marshwood on Saturday, Thornton coach Kevin Kezal was confident in his team’s chances against the Eagles. “We haven’t really seen Windham much,” said Kezal. “We saw a little tape of their game against Kennebunk. They have some great skill kids. We played against them this summer. Skill wise they are tough to match up against; they have some really good backs, some good wide receivers, some big wide receivers. But it doesn’t matter who we play; we’re moving on.”

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