PORTLAND – In compiling a 4-1 record, the Thornton Academy football team often has turned games around.

And Friday night, did it in a big way.

The Golden Trojans trailed by two touchdowns early in the second quarter, then took advantage of turnovers to rally to a 28-21 victory against Deering in a Western Class A game at Memorial Field.

“We had to start playing and get something going our way,” said Andrew Libby, one of several Thornton standouts.

A turnover, then another and finally a third in rapid succession in the second quarter deflated Deering.

“The turnovers were huge,” said Libby. “This is a big win. We lost to Deering last year. We weren’t going to lose to them this time. It’s a great win because we’re a step closer to making the playoffs.”

Libby scored two touchdowns, then intercepted a pass at the Thornton 5 with 2:43 left as Deering (4-1) bid for the tying touchdown.

“We had to keep going,” said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal on trailing 14-0. “We knew we weren’t going to shut out Deering. Our M.O. has been to start games slowly and then start playing. It was nice to get those turnovers. We had a great second quarter.”

Asked about Libby’s play, Kezal said: “He sure doesn’t play like a sophomore.”

The Golden Trojans also got outstanding performances from quarterback Eric Christensen, running back Nick Kenney and a defensive front that shut down Deering’s running for most of the game.

Deering quarterback Matt Flaherty and receiver Renaldo Lowry combined for three TD passes. The Rams needed only six plays to score with Flaherty connecting with Lowry for 25 yards.

On the first play of the second quarter, Flaherty and Lowry hooked up on a 40-yard pass to make it 14-0.

But after that the bottom dropped out.

After forcing a punt, the Rams looked to add to their total, but Lowry tried to catch it on the run and fumbled. John Remmes recovered for Thornton.

The hard-running Kenney carried four straight times for 42 yards and on a second-down play, Libby scored from the 3.

After each team punted, Josh Cyr intercepted a Flaherty pass at the 25.

Thornton converted on fourth-and- inches. Libby gained 12 to the 1 and Christensen then ran it in. Brandon Briggs’ placement made it 14-14.

On the next series, Thornton blocked a punt with Remmes recovering at the Deering 8. On the next play, Christensen scored to give his team the lead with 56 seconds left in the half.

The Golden Trojans began the second half the way it ended the first. Libby returned the kickoff 50 yards to the Deering 44.

Thornton used seven runs and one pass to take a two-touchdown lead. Libby carried three times and caught a 9-yard pass on third down for a first down at the 5. He scored on the next play.

Deering bounced back, again with Flaherty and Lowry teaming up. Taking over on its 4, Deering went to the air. Flaherty passed to end James Doyle for 19 yards.

On the next play, the speedy Lowry got behind the secondary and Flaherty hit him. The play covered 80 yards and Deering was back in it.

The Rams had one last chance. They got the ball at the 20 after a missed 32-yard field goal by Briggs.

Runs of 12 and 16 yards by Flaherty got the Rams to midfield. Deering converted a fourth-and-inches as Lowry caught a 7-yard slant.

Deering eventually reached the Thornton 23 where, on third down, Flaherty forced a pass over the middle and Libby intercepted at the 5 with 2:43 left. Thornton ran out the remaining time.

“We gave them the ball inside the 40 three times,” said Deering Coach Jon Gallant. “In our other games we made some mistakes but were able to overcome them.”

Kenney finished with 107 yards rushing on 18 carries.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH