STANDISH – Two weeks ago, Deering was manhandled by Cheverus, losing 44-14. But the Rams profess to be a different football team than that one, and who can argue after Deering beat Bonny Eagle 28-6 Saturday in a Western Class A semifinal.

The Rams beat a Scots team that throttled them back in Week 3. Now the Rams will get another crack at the other team that beat them. Deering (8-2) and Cheverus (10-0) will play for the Western Maine championship at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Cheverus.

Deering is playing more physical football. The Rams are stronger in the secondary than the unit that gave up two long touchdown passes to the Stags, and their special teams are shining. One thing, though, has remained constant for Deering, and that’s the stellar play of quarterback, punter and kicker Jamie Ross.

Once again it was Ross leading Deering in what he called “the best rivalry in Class A football.” This was the fifth meeting in the semifinals between Deering and Bonny Eagle since 2004. Deering has won two games, Bonny Eagle three. Ross ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more as the Rams never trailed.

The difference this time?

“We came ready to play,” said junior Trey Thomes, who had a fumble recovery, an interception and a key 25-yard run in the fourth quarter while providing blanket coverage in the secondary. “The first time we played them, I think the rain held us back. Our secondary has kind of been frowned upon, but we really did a good job.”

Thomes missed a portion of the preseason and the first four games with a broken arm. He returned on defense against Thornton Academy on Oct. 2. His return has bolstered the Rams.

“Trey can run and catch the ball and play defense,” said Ross. “Maturity is a big reason for today. We’ve gotten better each week and are starting to pound teams.”

Deering took advantage of Bonny Eagle mistakes. The Scots fumbled twice, which led to Deering touchdowns. Deering also picked off two passes and blocked a punt.

“We didn’t have any turnovers,” said Deering Coach Greg Stilphen. “In a game like this, that’s huge. We’ve grown as a team. I’m very pleased with the way we responded. We were mentally ready to play. You don’t want to be the best team in August. You want to be the best team in November. We’ve earned the right to play next Saturday.”

Deering took the opening kickoff and needed only four plays to score. Ross opened with a pass to Ronaldo Lowry in the flat for 11 yards. Three plays later, Ross hit Lowry on a slant, and the speedy receiver took it 67 yards to the end zone.

Ross finished 7 of 18 passing for 139 yards and added 70 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Bonny Eagle (8-2) scored early in the second quarter on a 34-yard run by Ethan Thorne but missed the extra point when the snap when over the holder’s head. Thorne, running hard all game, finished with 147 yards on 17 carries.

Thomes recovered a fumbled Bonny Eagle punt at the 17. Five straight running plays made it 14-6 after Ross’ 4-yard run and PAT with 4:55 before halftime.

Midway through the third quarter, Mike Marzilli recovered a Scots’ fumble at the 22. After two Ross runs gained seven yards, a holding penalty moved Deering back to the 25. On the next play, wide receiver John Hardy made a diving catch of a Ross pass at the 1. Ross scored on the next play.

“We certainly made mistakes in the first half,” said Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper. “You can’t give a quality team like Deering that many chances. We didn’t think coming in that after beating Deering by 22 points the first time that we were going to naturally repeat it. We knew the game could go either way. We have a lot of respect for Deering. It’s been a great rivalry over the past seven years. They played better than we did.”

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]