Scarborough’s Connor Oliver breaks up a pass to Bonny Eagle’s Shaun Brilliant. SHAWN PATRICK OUELLETTE/Portland Press Herald

SCARBOROUGH — The Scarborough football team has just one loss this season and the Red Storm will have a chance to avenge that setback this weekend — and this time a trip to the state championship game is on the line.

No. 2 Scarborough (7-1) will take on No. 1 Thornton Academy (9-0) in the Class A South title game on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hill Stadium in Saco.
This will be the second straight year the Red Storm and Golden Trojans will square off in the regional final. In last year’s meeting Scarborough rolled to a 49-7 win — and that was after TA won the 2017 regular season meeting.
“It’s been a rivalry the last few years and they’ve beaten us in the regular season and we’ve handled them in the playoffs,” said Scarborough coach Lance Johnson, who led his team to the state title last year.
Earlier this season, Thornton rolled to a 35-13 victory over the Red Storm. Johnson believes his team has learned a lot since that game and has continued to improve as the season progressed.
“Until you play Thornton and Bonny Eagle you’re not quite sure what you have, so till we played them we weren’t sure what we had and we made a lot of big adjustments since then,” Johnson said. “I think we’ve learned from it and adapted the offense to play against Bonny Eagle and TA. We’re in a good place and the kids are ready to play.”
Scarborough senior offensive lineman Zack Reed echoed that sentiment.
“They were the first really, really talented team we played and after that we knew we had to work hard, so we really redid our offense and put a lot of stuff in. Hopefully that will change the outcome,” said Reed, who is the Red Storm’s starting left guard. “The whole team, defense and offense, have really stepped up and cleaned a lot of things up.”
Following the loss to TA, the Scarborough coaching staff decided to open up the offensive playbook — including finding ways to get standouts like Jarett Flaker more opportunities to do damage.
“After the TA game, our coaches realized a couple more things and they changed our offense a lot so it can help our skill players make more plays in the open field,” said Flaker, who ran for 159 yards and three scores and caught five passes for 97 yards and another TD in Scarborough’s semifinal win last week.
Johnson believes his offense has turned a corner in recent weeks.
“We weren’t in a position where we were taking advantage of our offensive line the first time we played. I think we’ve adjusted the offense and we’re going to take advantage of our offensive line,” said Johnson. “Obviously, we have Jarett who is always a threat on the perimeter. Chase Cleary, (our) quarterback, is running the ball very well and Zach Alofs and Thomas Galeckas in the backfield run the ball well. The play-action pass has developed off that run game, so we’ve become pretty difficult to defend.”
Johnson knows that his offense can’t win the regional title on its own — and that TA’s dangerous offense will challenge the Red Storm’s D.
“They make you defend the whole field. You have to defend the inside run game. You have to defend the quarterback running the ball. You have to defend (Anthony) Bracamonte and you have to defend the play-action pass,” said Johnson. “There’s a lot to defend and you just have to be sound in what you do, try to get them some multiple fronts to look at and just try to be sound and not give up the big play.”
Like most big games, Johnson feels Saturday’s showdown could come down to which team plays clean football for four quarters.
“I think it’s just the team that makes the fewest mistakes and doesn’t give up the big plays,” said Johnson. “Defensively, it’s bend but don’t break at times, don’t give up big plays and offensively don’t turn the ball over and try and be consistent and limit penalties.”
The Red Storm are expecting an electric atmosphere at TA’s Hill Stadium.
“I expect a great crowd and probably the two best teams in the state of Maine going at it, so it should be a good one,” said Johnson.
“We love it. The more people the better. We’re not a team that doesn’t like the big crowds. We feed off it,” added Reed.
Reed is hoping to once again knock the Trojans out of the playoffs and earn another trip to the state championship game.
“That would be everything. We put so much work in (during) the offseason. It would just mean everything,” Reed said.
Flaker, who is a junior, wants to give Reed and the rest of the Scarborough seniors another trip to Fitzpatrck Stadium.
“It (would mean) so much. We’ve worked so hard all year for this. Last year we did it for the seniors and this year we’ve been trying extra hard to do it for our seniors again because they’ve worked their entire lives for this. I think it’s really important that they get back to the Gold Ball (game),” Flaker said.

Comments are not available on this story.