SCARBOROUGH — On a night when its prolific offense wasn’t as explosive as usual, Scarborough turned to its staunch defense and opportunistic special teams to lead the way to a 42-3 victory over Portland in a regular-season opener Friday evening at Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex.

The Red Storm blocked a punt, got a kickoff return for a touchdown from Thomas Galeckas and a punt return TD from Zach Alofs to pull away in an interclass battle.

“With the athletes we have, kick and punt returns are big for us, and tonight we scored on a couple,” said Scarborough Coach Lance Johnson, whose team was one of the preseason favorites in Class A. “I thought our effort was very good. Portland plays hard. They have quality coaches. I think we just had too many athletes.”

Scarborough, a Class A South finalist in 2018, went three-and-out on its first possession but then kicked into gear on its second, as quarterback Chase Cleary converted two third downs with pass completions. A 31-yard run by Galeckas set up a 16-yard touchdown scamper by Jarett Flaker. Collin Fossett added the point-after for a 7-0 lead.

After the Red Storm defense held, a nice punt return from Alofs set up a 25-yard TD pass from Cleary to Manny Galarraga to make it 14-0 after one quarter.

Portland, which lost to Thornton Academy in last year’s Class A state final before moving down to Class B South this fall, responded with an 18-play march that stalled at the 11 and ended with a 28-yard Cristo Vumpa field goal.

But any momentum the Bulldogs might have had went right out the window on the ensuing kickoff. Vumpa kicked short to avoid Flaker, but Galeckas caught the ball at his 29 and returned it 71 yards for a backbreaking score and a 21-3 halftime advantage.

“I saw four people on my side of the field and three blockers, and I knew I could make one man miss,” Galeckas said. “I’ve never returned a kick like that before. It was awesome.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Red Storm lineman Rylen Schenk blocked a punt early in the fourth.

“I went through, I jumped, and with my 5-foot-8 frame, I was able to block it,” said Schenk. “It was a short man’s dream.”

That set up a touchdown by Flaker (eight carries, 63 yards, two TDs), who started left, ran into traffic near the sideline, then broke a couple tackles before reversing field and outrunning the Portland defense to the end zone for an 18-yard score.

After an interception from Jacob Keim, Galeckas scored on a 12-yard run. Alofs returned a punt 65 yards for the final touchdown.

“I feel like it went well for a first game,” said Cleary, who accounted for more than 100 yards of offense. “We go to Bonny Eagle next week, and that will be a big game.”

Portland only managed 70 yards and was paced by 61 yards on 21 carries by workhorse running back Jamal Moriba.

“You can’t make mistakes against a team like (Scarborough),” said first-year coach Jason McLeod. “We couldn’t sustain drives. We have to get better every week. It’s as simple as that.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.