Before the Riots could adjust to Scarborough wide receiver Griffin Madden Friday night, he’d already done too much damage – already caught two long balls from QB Jack Hughes for a pair of TDs and this confident declaration: the Storm aren’t finished, they’ve got something still to say before the season’s over, something to remind everyone of.

Nobody’s safe.

Scarborough’s eventual 25-7 road win over third-ranked South Portland, who slip to 4-2, was their second surprise victory away from home in as many weeks. After opening their season with four straight losses, the Storm bested No. 5 Biddeford (3-3) at Waterhouse Field last Friday to taste blood for the first time this year. They seem to have liked it.

After all, the Riots are the team who shocked first-place Bonny Eagle. For them to get blasted in turn by a team that Bonny Eagle decidedly clobbered – well, it is astonishing, and it isn’t. All upsets are astonishing to some degree, but this season has seen enough unanticipated outcomes to lend real credence to the old adage. Expect the unexpected, indeed.

“We played some really good teams at the start of the season, and we had very little experience coming back,” Scarborough head coach Lance Johnson said. “I think we’re a lot better team than we were at the start of the season. We’re playing some juniors that didn’t play last year, we’re playing some sophomores for the first time.

“They’re really stepping up, because they keep working hard in practice. We’re getting better every week. The kids made a commitment to keep improving.”

Scarborough’s first drive Friday night, the game’s opening drive, was a dud: a three-and-out that needed about one minute to meet a frustrating end. But call it a warm-up drive instead, because the Storm would soon enough find their stride, even if doing so required a little prodding from the opposition.

South Portland answered Scarborough’s anemic start with a rampage, beginning with a punt return to the Storm’s 42. From there, QB Nick Mezzanotte hit Hayden Owen, among the state’s top receivers, for a gain of 13, and Matt Stearns cut right for another substantial advance. Shortly, a quick Stearns one-yarder up the middle coupled with a successful Mezzanotte PAT kick put South Portland on top 7-0.

Less than three minutes of the first quarter had elapsed, and already the game threatened to be a blowout. But instead, here’s where Scarborough picked up strength, where they made landfall instead of simply petering out and drifting home again.

The Storm’s nine-play follow-up drive included a handful of setbacks – a pair of penalties, for instance – but climaxed in fireworks anyway, beginning when Hughes connected with Aren Dickman for a 15-yard gain across midfield and into Riots territory.

Looking confident, Hughes immediately connected again, this time with Madden, for 42 yards and a TD. Stearns blocked the PAT kick, so South Portland retained the lead, 7-6, but Scarborough had shown themselves to be dangerous – even more so, perhaps, than the Riots could have predicted.

“We’ve been trying to get fundamentally sound,” Johnson said of his team’s goals in practice. “Trying to block better, trying to tackle better, trying to defeat blocks better, and just do the little things that help you win games.

“A lot of it has to do with kids getting experience and settling into roles.”

Juiced, the Storm forced a three-and-out on South Portland, and scored again on their next series, which Hughes capped with another pair of laser-sighted passes. First, he found Anthony Quintiliani, who grabbed 30 yards up the middle. And then he found Madden in the end zone once more. A successful kick put Scarborough on top 13-6.

The game turned noteworthy then for more than just Scarborough’s resurrection; it turned into a display of skill and determination by both teams’ defensive lineups. In the final two minutes – two scant minutes – of the first quarter, each team stood the other up, and through the entire second quarter, they similarly repelled one another’s advances. Through the third quarter, more of the same, and before anyone scored again, a dozen consecutive drives had come to naught.

“We played sound defense,” Johnson said. “Made a couple of adjustments to stop them when they had two backs in the backfield, and when they spread it out, we’re sound and we tried to cover everybody, and make them earn the field, not give up big plays.

“We didn’t give up big plays, and in high school football, guys have a hard time earning their way four yards at a time down the field. Sooner or later they make a mistake and it ends up second and 15 and you get a stop.”

Finally, in the early fourth, Scarborough secured the momentum for good when Anthony Simoneau trotted a TD up the middle for 19-7. Ten minutes later, with time winding down, the team – and especially Hughes – did it again. Hughes dropped his third TD pass of the night into the ready hands of Jacob Gardner, waiting in the Riots’ end zone, for 25-7 and the W.

Scarborough finishes their regular season hosting Massabesic on Oct. 17 and traveling to Noble on the 24th. South Portland travels to Biddeford on the 17th, and welcomes Portland for their annual Bridge Battle on the 25th.

“We can finish our season hopefully with a .500 record,” Johnson said, “and move forward in the playoffs. I don’t think, a couple weeks ago, people were talking about us in the playoff picture. But [South Portland] beat Bonny Eagle, right on this field. We came to this field and controlled the game.

“If you take away our first drive on offense, when we weren’t effective, and their first drive when they scored – if you take that away, they didn’t score again, they didn’t threaten a lot. We threatened, we were down close, a bunch of times.”

Scarborough’s Griffin Madden returns a South Portland kickoff 23 yards, to his team’s 30. The series ended with another big Madden play, a 42-yard TD reception.South Portland standout Hayden Owen strongarms defender Griffin Madden while returning a Scarborough kickoff.Scarborough’s Milani Hicks grabs a quick seven yards.South Portland’s Nick Mezzanotte unwinds into a pass.Waiting in the end zone, Jacob Gardner can’t quite reach an incoming pass from QB Jack Hughes. South Portland’s Matthew Stearns rushes in on the coverage.A Jack Hughes pass firmly in hand, Scarborough’s Anthony Quintiliani breaks upfield for a gain of 22.South Portland’s Matthew Stearns (24) takes flight and takes out Red Stormer Anthony Quintiliani.Scarborough’s Jack Hughes lets loose a pass during his team’s unsuccessful first series in South Portland Friday night.

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