Sanford’s Jordan Giroux picks up some yards on a run during Friday night’s Class A South quarterfinal against Deering.
SIENNA BARSTOW/Journal Tribune.

SANFORD — A strong second quarter led the No. 4 Sanford football team to a 42-21 victory over No. 5 Deering during a Class A South quarterfinal contest at Alumni Stadium on Friday night.
“We knew that Deering was going to come here ready to play football. They were probably a little bit readier than us in the beginning,” said Sanford coach Mike Fallon. “We challenged the kids late in the first quarter saying, ‘hey we better respond to this. They are just simply outplaying us right now.’ It wasn’t scheme it wasn’t anything like that, it was just general effort. We had to up our effort and once we did, we got things rolling again. I was proud of the kids because they responded to not a great start.”
The Rams opened the scoring with 7:25 left in the first quarter. Deering was positioned at the Sanford’s 3-yard line. On a third down, James Opio tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Michael Randall. Max Morrione nailed the extra point for the Rams to produce a 7-0 score.
The Spartans tied everything up early in the second quarter. At the 11:52 mark, Sanford’s Leyton Bickford blocked a Deering punt and returned it to the house. Noah Riley kicked a bullet for the extra point and generated a 7-7 score.
“It’s really ironic because we were kind of in a safe mode on that, we weren’t in a block mode so they didn’t have a lot of pressure but Leyton Bickford came off the edge as a pressure guy and he did a really nice job. We’ve actually been working on that the last couple of weeks about how to technically attack and block the football and he did it perfect. Of course, the scoop and score made it a little sweeter,” said Fallon. “Whenever you make a big play like that on special teams those are big game changers. That really marked the momentum swing for us.”
Deering responded quickly. With 8:32 left in the first half, Opio sent a 20-yard touchdown pass to Will Vachon to break the tie and create a 13-7 score.
“The backbone has been our seniors and our leaders, our captains. There were moments in the game where we needed leadership. Kids like James Meggison, Brady Parker, Doug Johnson, Matt Romano and Anthony Nguyen have leadership personalities. The kids really look up to them and rally around them and when they speak I think they’re listened to and that was evident because I could hear them and see them try to rally the troops and it worked. The kids responded to them which was really important,” said Fallon.
Seven plays after Vachon’s touchdown, the Spartans gained the lead. Caleb Saucier carried the ball 23 yards down to the Deering 1 to put the Spartans in position. Xavier Levine would finish the drive with a 1-yard score. Riley scored the extra point to give Sanford a one-point lead.
With 1:59 left in the first half, Levine rocketed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Bickford to extend the Spartans lead and end the first half with a 21-13 score.
During the second half, Levine scored three times to put the game away for Sanford.
“We did little things right tonight. We did a good job taking care of the football. Overall, we had a couple penalties here and there but we played clean. I think physically we kept our energy level up and we continued to hit hard and play hard and that really was the difference in the end,” said Fallon.
Deering was not shutout in the second half. With 5:36 left in the third quarter, Travis Soule rushed the ball 62-yards for a Deering touchdown but the final score would still be 42-21.
Sanford’s win means they will be competing in a Class A semifinal next week against Thornton Academy. The last time the Spartan and Trojans matched up, the Trojans came out on top with a 48-0 win.
“You have to play nearly perfect against Thornton Academy and you have to be able to withstand the fact that they have more depth,” Fallon said. “We can’t put as many bodies out there as they can. We have to be prepared for that. We just can’t go there and have penalties and turnovers and let things fall apart early. No doubt, we have our hands full but I know we’ll have a good week of practice and we’re certainly hoping to have a better showing then we did a week ago.”

— Sports Writer Sienna Barstow can be reached at [email protected] or at 780-9018. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

Comments are not available on this story.