PORTLAND – Peter Gwilym threw three of his four touchdown passes in a wild third quarter while Evan Jendrasko scored twice and top-seeded Cheverus roared back from a 27-14 deficit to remain unbeaten with a 34-27 win over No. 8 Windham in the Western Class A quarterfinals Saturday.

In the third period, the teams combined for 40 points after coming out of halftime with the Eagles (4-5) holding a surprising 14-7 lead.

The Stags (9-0) lost a chance for the tying touchdown in the final 10 seconds of the second quarter with a fumble at the Windham goal line.

Then a muffed kickoff return opening the second half and a short punt gave Cheverus another opportunity from the 24. Gwilym rolled to his right and hit Jendrasko in the flat, and Jendrasko broke a tackle and scored.

Then Damien Sheppard took the ensuing kickoff for a 93-yard touchdown return to put Windham back on top after Shawn Francoeur’s kick.

A misplayed kickoff return, the second of the day for Cheverus, forced the Stags to start their next possession at their own 7. Two plays later, Dylan Taylor pounced on a Cheverus fumble to give the Eagles the ball at the 4. Quarterback Cody Laberge scored from the 2, and although the kick was no good, the Eagles led 27-14.

“There was a little sense of panic,” Gwilym said, “but you’ve got to find a way to get it done.”

Gwilym started the next drive from near midfield. A 21-yard slant toss to DiStasio started the drive, which culminated on fourth-and-19 with a perfect pass to a well-covered DiStasio in the end zone.

Jendrasko capped a six-play drive with a 1-yard scoring run, and DiStasio’s PAT tied it at 27 with 2:15 left in the period.

Gwilym picked off a long third-down Laberge pass at the Windham 40 and returned it to the 16. Following a penalty, he rolled to his right and found Jack Bushey in the middle for a 19-yard touchdown and the Stags’ first lead of the game, 34-27.

That turned out to be the final score, as Gwilym picked off another Laberge pass on the next Windham possession and the Stags went to a clock-eating ground game.

Windham had two more chances. The first on a gutsy fake punt on fourth down at their own 3, when Colby Waterhouse from his own end zone connected with Nicholas Burton for 17 yards to keep a drive alive.

That drive ended on a pass incompletion and the Stags took over with 43 seconds left, and promptly fumbled the ball back on the next play with Francoeur getting his second recovery of the day.

Four incompletions later, the Stags could finally relax.

“The defense stepped up and made some plays,” said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram.

“That kickoff return really hurt but the kids hung tough, and Peter made some big plays. They’re very good but they’re young.”

“We knew they’d come out tough,” Gwilym said of Windham, “and we really didn’t come out ready to play. But it’s the playoffs and you’ve got to play with everything you’ve got. We’ll have to play better next time.”

“They gave it everything they had,” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins, whose team lost to Cheverus 28-0 in the regular season. “I’m very, very proud to coach these guys. We made a few mistakes we couldn’t fix, but they’ve grown up a lot and come a long way since the beginning of the year.”