PORTLAND – With Imadhi Zagon at tailback instead of quarterback, the Portland Bulldogs showed a few more options and a lot more might.

Zagon rushed for 265 yards and three touchdowns, and new quarterback Matt McInnis threw for 53 yards and a score as the Bulldogs earned a 27-16 victory over Westbrook on Thursday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Manny Vincent rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Blazes.

Portland (1-2) enjoyed its first victory, while Westbrook (0-3) is still looking for a win.

Those previous two losses convinced Portland Coach Mike Bailey to scrap the Wildcat offense, put McInnis at quarterback and return the powerful 6-foot-2, 202-pound Zagon to running back.

“We had to become two-dimensional,” Bailey said.

Zagon, who had 37 carries against Westbrook, was all for the change.

“I can see where I’m going to run,” Zagon said. “I don’t have to think about anything else. I just run.”

Zagon also was a good decoy. On fourth-and-6 on the opening drive, McInnis faked to Zagon and threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Kenney. Feliks Cobanovic kicked his first of his three extra points for a 7-0 lead.

Minutes later, a bouncing snap on a Westbrook punt formation gave Portland the ball on the Blue Blazes 19. John Grondin’s sack on fourth down stopped the Bulldogs, however.

On the Blue Blazes’ next punt try, Ben Grant was almost swallowed up by a heavy rush, but he broke free for a 30-yard run. The drive fizzled, and Portland got the ball back.

Zagon took a handoff, broke into the open field and shed tackles for a 40-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead with 9:03 left in the first half.

A Westbrook fumble on a shotgun snap was recovered by Portland’s Nate Porter at the Blue Blazes 23. A 10-yard pass from McInnis to Tate Gale set up Zagon’s 1-yard burst that made it 21-0.

Just when it looked like a rout, Westbrook drove 69 yards, keyed by Vincent’s 18-yard run, and capped by Terry Webber’s 3-yard quarterback sneak. Graham Strondak ran in the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 21-8 at halftime.

Westbrook made it interesting in the third quarter. A 14-yard TD run by Vincent and Vincent’s conversion run made it 21-16 with 5:27 left in the third.

“I have to do a better job getting them ready to play, so we’re not down 21-0,” Westbrook Coach Jeff Guerette said.

But his team still had to deal with Zagon.

“A tremendous player,” Guerette said. “He gives them a lot of options and we certainly had some challenges tackling him.”

Portland responded to Westbrook’s score with a 56-yard drive, almost all gained by Zagon, who finished the drive with an 11-yard run up the middle.

Westbrook then drove to the Portland 45 but fumbled. Porter made his second recovery.

Portland defensive back Seamus Kilbride later made an interception to clinch the win.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

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