WINDHAM – Matt Flaherty threw for two touchdowns, both to wide receiver Renaldo Lowry, and ran for two more Friday night as Deering took charge early and beat Windham 28-20 in a Western Class A football game.

Deering (2-0) led 21-0 at halftime, saw Windham cut it to one touchdown twice, then held on. Flaherty sealed it when he passed to tight end James Doyle on third down for a 25-yard gain with time winding down.

Flaherty, a senior who played behind Jamie Ross at quarterback for two seasons, is making the most of his chance.

“I have a great team behind me,” said Flaherty. “I’m just doing what I’ve been preparing for. We lost (Ross) and wide receiver John Hardy through graduation but we still have a lot of talented players.”

Flaherty sparked the Rams through his passing and running. He and running back Trey Thomes were the chief threats for Deering on the ground.

Each gained 98 yards. Thomes had a 79-yard run called back just before the half because of a holding penalty.

Flaherty completed 9 of 11 passes for 128 yards.

“This is the first time I really thought (Flaherty) threw the ball well,” said Deering Coach Jon Gallant. “He had tons of time to throw. The line did a great job protecting him. We lost our focus a little bit in the second half with some penalties. Windham is a proud program and fought hard.”

Deering graduated some key threats but still has the speedy Lowry as a pass catching and return threat.

Lowry was one of Ross’ favorite targets, and now the same holds true with Flaherty, who started last season in the secondary.

Deering’s defense rose to the occasion in the first half, stopping the Eagles (0-2) after they had first downs at the 12 and 10 in different series.

The Rams scored on their second possession. It was set up by a 45-yard punt return by Lowry.

On second down from the Windham 25, Flaherty passed to Lowry at the corner of the goal line for the touchdown. Brandon Saucier’s point-after kick made it 7-0.

Deering’s first defensive stop soon turned into its second score.

Taking over at their 20, the Rams covered 80 yards in only seven plays. Thomes and Flaherty gained yardage on the ground, and Flaherty’s passing helped bring the Rams downfield.

On first down from the Windham 37, Flaherty again hit Lowry down the sideline for the touchdown. Both touchdown throws were tight spirals.

“Those two quick scores set the tone for the game,” said Flaherty. “We know we have a good team. We just want to show it. We all love football and play with passion.”

An interception and 16-yard return by linebacker Nick DiBiase set Deering up for its third touchdown. The pivotal play was a 13-yard run by Flaherty to the Windham 14. On third down, he scored from the 6.

The Eagles then drove to the Deering 5, but on third down, quarterback T.D. O’Brien was sacked by Doyle for a 3-yard loss, and a screen pass to Jake Peavey went for no gain on the following play.

O’Brien stood out for Windham with two touchdowns and a 3-yard scoring pass to Damien Shepard with 2:09 left that made it 28-20.

The Eagles got their first points early in the third period on a 1-yard run by O’Brien, who finished with 157 yards rushing.

“We made some mental mistakes that hurt,” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins.

Perkins said his offense is still a work in progress but has potential.

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

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