If the Deering-Portland Thanksgiving football game had been played on Thursday as scheduled, it likely would have been played in record-low temperatures.

Plenty of records were still set when the teams met Wednesday as the Bulldogs dominated the Rams 45-0 in the 107th annual contest before fewer than 500 people at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Portland leads the series 59-41-7. Deering won last year 22-20 to end a four-game losing streak in the series.

There was a chilling moment after the game as Portland Coach Jim Hartman announced to his team that he is retiring after 32 years, the last seven at Portland.

“I’ve been coaching at the greatest place to coach, with the best parents and the best kids,” Hartman said. “You can’t believe how unbelievable it is to have learned (Tuesday) the game was going to be played here and I could retire here.”

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Deering, but officials were worried that removing snow could end up damaging the new artificial surface.


Zack Elowitch of Portland led the record-breaking day with two milestones.

After setting the Portland single-season rushing record in last week’s Class A state championship game loss to Thornton Academy, he became the first Bulldog to eclipse 2,000 yards when he gained 9 yards on his eighth straight carry to start the game. The senior tailback finished with 203 yards and five touchdowns, setting the single-season record with 26 TDs.

“It feels great to end my senior year, my career, off a great game in the snow,” said Elowitch, who had 169 yards and four TDs in the first half. “It feels incredible.”

On defense, Portland senior Ben Stasium picked off two passes in the first half, giving him a school-record 17 for his career.

Special teams also got into the action as freshman kicker Cristo Vumpa’s five PATs gave him 54 on the season. He passed Quinn Clark, who set the record two years ago.

“It’s always big to beat our archrival,” said Hartman. “It’s a fantastic game to play. It always feels good to win. We have a good bunch of kids.”


For Deering, most practices leading up the game had only half the team attend. Only 36 of the normal 42 players played.

“It was a tough game … Portland had a great run this year right up until last Saturday (against Thornton) … and we’ve been off for the last month,” Deering Coach Rob Susi said. “It is tough (for us) to keep that enthusiasm and that fire and you saw that today – Portland knew what they had to do and they executed. It took us awhile to get going and we never really got into our groove.”

The Bulldogs scored four TDs and a field goal on their five first-half possessions for a 31-0 halftime advantage.

“We obviously dominated from the start by forcing some turnovers early,” said Stasium. “We kind of ran away with it at the beginning. It was good to put it away early and not have to worry about (the outcome) too much.”

The question of whether to continue with the tradition will surely come up. If it were only up to the players, however, the game would continue.

“When there was talk about canceling the game, the kids were the ones who really wanted to make sure we did this and we had it,” Susi said. “It’s the tradition.”

Added Elowitch: “(The game) is a great tradition and I feel incredible to be part of it. It’s nice to come out to play our rivals every year. There is talk about canceling it but I hope they don’t. I hope they play (the game) forever.”

Jamal Mariba recorded the other Bulldogs’ touchdown when he pounced on an errant snap on a Deering punt.

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