On Sept. 14, the Portland and Oxford Hills football teams were walking off fields with a likely combination of anger and disappointment, spiced with questions about themselves.

Two critical turnovers and nine assessed penalties had derailed Portland in a 24-7 setback at Bonny Eagle.

Oxford Hills was riding high after victories in its first two games when it visited winless Sanford, but the Vikings went home with a 20-6 loss.

What a difference a month makes.

Portland travels to Oxford Hills on Friday night, with the top seed in Class A North likely at stake. Both teams are 5-1 and playing with confidence after three straight wins, the most impressive being Oxford Hills’ 31-22 upset of Bonny Eagle last Friday.

Colton Carson continued his strong play at quarterback for Oxford Hills with three rushing touchdowns and one touchdown pass, but it was the Vikings’ ability to block a punt and force Bonny Eagle’s first three turnovers of the year that was the biggest difference.

“They started to throw in the second half because they couldn’t run on Bonny Eagle, and the turnovers were just immense,” said Portland Coach Jim Hartman.

Bonny Eagle did run the ball effectively. That’s Portland’s strength as well, especially with the development of Ben Trefethen, a senior, as a complementary threat out of the backfield with Zack Elowitch. Trefethen scored on 43- and 62-yard runs (and on a fumble recovery) as Portland cruised to a 49-0 win against Bangor.

“We’ve controlled our emotions a lot better,” said Portland Coach Jim Hartman. “The penalties (at Bonny Eagle) were just devastating. It took us a couple of weeks to get over that.

“We’re still growing and learning and getting much better every week. We’ve got two weeks to get ready for playoffs, so we have to continue to get better.”

DESPITE THE loss, Bonny Eagle is still ranked first in Class A South Heal points entering Friday’s home game against No. 2 Thornton Academy (6-0). Then the Scots will finish at No. 3 Scarborough (4-1). In other words, the road gets tougher for the Scots, but they still are in control of their own destiny – and that early season win against Portland is going to play better from a Heal point perspective than any of Thornton or Scarborough’s crossover wins.

THE OTHER shocker last week was Fryeburg Academy’s 13-0 win at previously unbeaten Leavitt. Both teams are now 5-1. The Hornets entered the game averaging 38.2 points. Fryeburg intercepted three passes. The Raiders defense has not allowed more than one touchdown in its five-game winning streak after losing the season-opener to Class D Lisbon/St. Dominic, 36-14.

The Raiders are at Cape Elizabeth on Friday.

THORNTON ACADEMY impressed in many ways in its 35-13 win against Scarborough (4-1) on Saturday.

Defensively, the Trojans played with good team speed and demonstrated sure tackling, particularly on the outside from players like senior cornerback Eli Arsenault.

Thornton gained 10 or more yards 13 times (nine rushing, four passing). Scarborough had seven such plays, and two came in the final drive when Thornton was playing a prevent defense.

Scarborough (4-1) will look to bounce back Friday at Lewiston before its regular-season finale against Bonny Eagle.

STATE OF THE STATE: Last week’s average scoring margin was 24.49 points, on par with the season-long figure of 24.94 points.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig