PORTLAND — Well, this was unexpected.

Just two weeks after a close regular-season finale between Cheverus and Deering, top-ranked Cheverus overwhelmed the fifth-seeded Rams in a Western Class A football semifinal at Boulos Stadium.

Cheverus intercepted five passes – the first three setting up touchdowns, the last two returned for touchdowns – to rout the Rams 45-0 for its 22nd consecutive victory and a berth in the regional championship game. Cheverus (10-0) will play second-seeded Thornton Academy (9-1) at Boulos Stadium at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Obviously that’s one of our goals, to get to the final,’’ said Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram. “And we’ve worked hard to get here.

“It’s a good group of kids. It’s an intelligent group, it’s a competitive group, it’s a proud group.’’

The Stags said the biggest difference between this game and the first meeting was preparation.

“We executed everything we did,’’ said Cam Olson, the Stags’ quarterback and safety. “Not just offense, but kick game, special teams, defense. Everything.’’

“And we had a great week of preparation,’’ said junior running back Donald Goodrich. “We were focused every day in practice.’’

Olson, Goodrich and Brent Green played huge roles for the Stags, who once again played without standout running back Spencer Cooke (right leg injury). Olson had the first two interceptions, Goodrich rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Green scored three touchdowns, including a 40-yard interception return in the third quarter.

“We made a lot of mistakes,’’ said Deering Coach Jon Gallant. “And we didn’t do what we needed to do.’’

Olson ended Deering’s first drive with an interception on a ball that deflected off a Deering receiver’s hands. Cheverus took over at the Rams 41 and needed only six plays to score, on a 1-yard plunge by Green. Louie DiStasio’s kick made it 7-0 with 6:26 left in the first quarter.

Deering responded with a nice drive, highlighted by a 37-yard pass from Matt Flaherty to a leaping Renaldo Lowry (five catches, 74 yards). But the drive stalled when Flaherty’s fourth-down pass from the Cheverus 27 was batted down at the line.

From then on, Cheverus was in control.

DiStasio kicked a 32-yard field goal with 9:03 left in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead. Three plays after the kickoff, Olson made another interception, leading to a 34-yard touchdown pass from Olson to Ryan Casale.

Lowry responded with an electrifying kickoff return to the Stags 32. But three plays later, DiStasio made the first of his two interceptions – he returned the other 80 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. His first interception led to a 26-yard scoring run by Goodrich and a 24-0 lead at  halftime.

Wolfgram wouldn’t allow his players to let up, reminding them that Deering nearly came back from 23 points down in last year’s regional final.

“We’ve been there before,’’ he said. “Deering is an explosive team, and you’ve got to remember history a little bit. I thought we stayed plugged in pretty good for 48 minutes.’’
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
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Twitter: MikeLowePPH