PORTLAND — The Sanford Spartans bounced back from a 49-0 loss to Thornton Academy last week, but fell just short against the Deering Rams, 14-13, at Memorial Stadium Friday night.

All of the scoring came in the final quarter. The scoreless first half was marked by gritty defensive play by both sides. Among Sanford’s defensive standouts were interior lineman Harris Layne and defensive back Tye Laviolette. Laviolette prevented a possible Deering score late in the first half by breaking up a pass with a perfectly executed hit.

After a deflected field goal attempt by Sanford’s Pete Hegarty on the initial play of the fourth quarter, Deering (2-0) took over on its own 20-yard line. On the Rams’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Max Chabot found receiver Nate Richards on a screen pass. Richards ran the ball 80 yards, breaking a tackle on his way to the end zone. Jesus Molina- Mendez converted the extra point for the Rams, giving them a 7-0 lead.

Refusing to give up after going scoreless the first seven quarters of the season, the Spartans (0-2) answered immediately with an effective drive, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Zach Kang. Hegarty’s extra-point attempt sailed through the uprights and the game was knotted at 7-7.

After two possession changes, Sanford quarterback Frankie Veino floated a backfoot pass 11 yards to James Roche, who ran the additional 50 yards untouched for the go-ahead score. Hegarty’s kick was just inches to the right as Sanford’s lead stood at 13-7.

When the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds Deering elected to receive again on a re-kick. Deering returner Sambath Sao initially bobbled the ball, with it going between his legs. Sao scooped up the ball and darted across field to the right sideline and streaked to the end zone for the 82-yard score. Molina-Mendez tacked on the extra point, giving the Rams what proved to be the game’s deciding point.

With just over four minutes remaining, Sanford took over the ball. Deering came up with a critical sack deep in Spartan territory, forcing a punt. The Spartans forced Deering to turn the ball over on downs and had one more chance to regain the lead. However, on the first play of the drive, Deering’s Pat Viola made a leaping interception to seal the Ram victory.

“You hate to be on the short end of a 14-13 loss, but that was a really good high school football game. Our team’s effort was tremendous. Our kids played their tails off,” said Sanford head coach Mike Fallon.

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