CUMBERLAND — With three offensive starters sidelined due to injuries, the Greely defense had to step up in its Class B South quarterfinal matchup with Biddeford.

The Rangers defense swarmed all over Tigers ball carriers while jumping on pass routes to shut down the visitors. It was a welcome sight since the offense was continually hurt by penalties, dropped passes and fumbles.

A second-quarter touchdown held up in a 7-0 victory for the fourth-seeded Rangers over the fifth-seeded Tigers. The win avenged a loss to Biddeford in last year’s semifinals.

“We scouted Biddeford and knew they score a lot of points,” said Greely Coach David Higgins III. “The last couple weeks we were not executing, but tonight we did.”

The Tigers (5-4) came in averaging 32.8 points per game but mustered only 45 yards of offense and two first downs – the first with less than seven minutes left to play and the second with a minute on the clock.

Greely (6-3) forced three-and-outs on four of five drives in the first half and the first of the second half. Nick Male intercepted Carter Edgerton on the Tigers’ second drive of the second half.

“Our defense really stepped up tonight,” said Male, a defensive back. “(Will) Schumacher was fast tonight, the defensive line was flying all over the place … As a whole, the defense really nailed it.”

On its third possession of the first half, Greely broke the scoreless tie.

Starting with good field position at its own 47, Greely went on a methodical 13-play drive, culminated by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Male to Nolan Anderson on a slant pattern with 3:16 left in the half. Male found Anderson on a 9-yard shovel pass on 4th-and-5 from Biddeford 29 and three plays later Schumacher caught a seven-yard pass, with a 5-yard facemasking penalty bringing the ball to the 11.

“The (touchdown) play actually wasn’t designed to be a slant,” said Male, who threw for 77 yards. “Nolan and I practice our routes all the time and he saw an opening and I put the ball there and let him make a play.”

Biddeford’s defense gave it a chance to tie the game.

Greely moved to its 40, but two straight holding penalties – the Rangers were flagged for 101 yards – set up a 1st-and-30 situation with two minutes remaining. On third down Male fumbled and recovered at the 18, forcing a punt.

Biddeford started on the Greely 40 and after two complete passes, the ball was at the 22 with 37 seconds left. But three straight incompletions – the last thrown as Colby Santana hit Edgerton – gave the ball back to Greely.

“They played a phenomenal defensive game,” said Biddeford Coach Brian Curit. “They dominated the line of scrimmage. That was the difference.”

The Rangers ventured into Biddeford territory on five of its eight non-scoring drives but three fumbles – all recovered by Greely – and the 10 penalties often put them in long second- and third-down situations.

Colby, Anderson, Brady Nolin and Schumacher all had big games defensively.

Greely’s Tim Coyle, filling in for injured starter Joey Casella, finished with 96 yards. Schumacher had four receptions for 47 yards.

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