PORTLAND – Cheverus used a superior running game Friday to open its Western Class A football season with a 40-6 victory against Gorham.

The Stags, who played their opener a day early to elude Hurricane Earl, opened the scoring with two long touchdowns runs — 45 yards by Spencer Cooke and 57 yards by Evan Jendrasko, who eluded three tackles.

It set the tone just minutes into the game, and the Stags had a 40-6 halftime lead.

“I liked our composure and the way our offense moved the ball,” said Cooke. “We played excellent as a whole. The defense made some great stands. We’ve got to play as hard moving forward.”

Cheverus led 16-0 with 8:13 to go in the first quarter.

Cooke’s touchdown at 10:02 was followed by a 2-point conversion by quarterback Peter Gwilym.

Gwilym then intercepted a pass by Gorham quarterback Joey Lynch, setting up Jendrasko’s scoring rush on the first play. Another 2-point conversion from Gwilym made it 16-0.

“I thought we ran the ball well,” said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram. “We had a nice balance on offense.”

Wolfgram went to his backups in the second half and got two defensive stands, the most notable coming in the waning minutes when Gorham recovered a fumble and carried it to the Cheverus 5.

Cheverus pressured the quarterback in the backfield as the series died on fourth-and-goal.

“It was important we continued to execute and make sure the tenor of the game didn’t break,” said Wolfgram.

“The defense had a nice stand.”

The Rams had a nice rushing touchdown of their own when Nick Kilborn ripped out a 38-yard run with 4:33 to play in the first quarter.

It capped an eight-play drive that began on the Rams’ 14 and was aided by a personal foul against Cheverus.

The 2-point conversion attempt failed.

Cheverus got four more scores in the first half, including a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Gwilym with the point after to close the first quarter.

Cheverus tackle Sam Sanders blocked a Gorham pass on third-and-long to start the second quarter, forcing the Rams to punt.

Cooke reeled off another long rushing touchdown on the first play — a 60-yard run — and the point after made it 30-6.

Gwilym scored again from the 2 with 7:23 to play and the point after made it 37-6. Louis DiStasio kicked a 35-yard field goal to cap the scoring with 2:30 to play until halftime.

Gorham Coach Dave Kilborn, whose team runs the double-wing, said the Rams will look to draw lessons off the loss.

“This was a good piece of humble pie for us,” said Kilborn. “We’ve been used to doing that to other teams. So hopefully we respond the correct way.”

Kilborn said he expects his team will remember this one.

“Cheverus is a great team. They came to play and were a lot more motivated,” he said. “We have a lot of guys who need to step up. And our plan is to improve every week.”

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

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