Scarborough senior Manny Galarraga is upended by Portland senior Sam Knop during the Red Storm’s 42-3 victory Friday night. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos. More photos below. Buy this Photo

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 42 Portland 3

P- 0 3 0 0- 3
S- 14 7 0 21- 42

First quarter
S- Flaker 16 run (Fossett kick)
S- Galarraga 25 pass from Cleary (Fossett kick)

Second quarter
P- Vumpa 28 FG
S- Galeckas 71 kickoff return (Fossett kick)

Third quarter
No scoring

Fourth quarter
S- Flaker 18 run (Fossett kick)
S- Galeckas 12 run (Fossett kick)
S- Alofs 65 punt return (Fossett kick)

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s football team isn’t anywhere close to being a finished product.

And that is cause for alarm for the rest of Class A considering that Friday evening, the Red Storm managed to beat a defending regional champion by nearly 40 points.

Hosting Portland in the teams’ regular season opener at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Scarborough wasn’t its usual prolific self on offense, but the Red Storm managed enough big plays and got huge boosts from their defense and special teams to pull away to an emphatic win over the defending Class A North champion Bulldogs.

Scarborough went on top to stay in the first period when senior standout Jarett Flaker scored on a 16-yard run.

A 25 yard strike from senior quarterback Chase Cleary to junior Manny Galarraga made it 14-0 Red Storm after one quarter, but new-look Portland made it interesting in the second.

The Bulldogs held the ball for 18 plays and for over 12 minutes before settling for a 28-yard field goal from sophomore Cristo Vumpa.

But just when it appeared the visitors had some momentum, Scarborough’s special teams wrested it right back, as junior Thomas Galeckas fielded a short kickoff and ran it back 71 yards for a score and a 21-3 halftime advantage.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Red Storm put it away in the fourth, as Flaker scored on an athletic 18 yard run, Galekas bulled in from 12 yards out and senior Zach Alofs returned a punt 65 yards for the coup de grace and Scarborough prevailed, 42-3.

The Red Storm beat the Bulldogs for the second straight time and opened the season with a victory for the fourth year in a row.

“I thought the effort was very good,” said Scarborough coach Lance Johnson. “Portland plays very hard. The coaches they have, (new head coach) Jason McLeod and (assistants) Skip Capone and Mike Rutherford, they’re such quality coaches who have done a good job getting their kids ready to play. I think we just had a few too many athletes tonight.”

Standing alone

Scarborough wasn’t able to repeat as Class A champion a year ago, losing to eventual champion Thornton Academy, 53-21, in the regional final to wind up 7-2. The Red Storm are viewed as one of the favorites in the new, eight-team Class A this fall.

Portland got to the state final in 2018, but had no answers for Thornton Academy in a 49-14 setback which ended the Bulldogs’ season at 9-2. Portland has moved to Class B South this season and faces a daunting schedule.

The teams had met seven previous times prior to play Friday. The Bulldogs won the first six, but in the most recent, in the 2016 opener, Scarborough won at Portland, 14-13.

Friday, on a chilly evening (60 degrees at kickoff), a Red Storm victory was never in doubt, but it didn’t come as easily as some expected.

The Bulldogs won the opening coin toss, but deferred possession to the second half.

Scarborough got the ball first, but Portland forced a three-and-out, as senior Jamal Moriba tackled senior Sal DeBenetto for a five-yard loss, Cleary threw incomplete and Flaker was held to six yards on third-and-15.

The Bulldogs then started at their 38, but could do nothing with the ball, as senior quarterback Sam Knop threw incomplete, Moriba ran for three yards and Knop only managed four on third-and-7, forcing a punt.

With 8:55 to go in the opening stanza, the Red Storm took over at their 25 and they would embark on a nine-play, 75-yard drive which chewed up 3 minutes, 35 seconds and resulted in the go-ahead touchdown.

After Cleary kept the ball for a yard and Flaker ran for three, Scarborough faced third-and-6, but Cleary connected with Galarraga for 17 on a slant pattern for a first down at the 46. Flaker ran for six yards, but Cleary threw incomplete, setting up another third down and again, Cleary converted, hitting senior Evan Morgan for 11 yards and a first down at Portland’s 37.

“That was huge to get those third down conversions,” said Cleary. “That gave us momentum. Early in the game, momentum is what you’re playing for.”

Galeckas then first made his presence felt, breaking tackles and bulling his way ahead for 24 yards for a first down at the 13. After Flaker was dropped for a three-yard loss, he got another chance and he ran to his right, stepped through the defense and raced into the end zone for a 16-yard score with 5:20 to go in the first period. Junior Collin Fossett added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs couldn’t counter, as they again went three-and-out, as Knop threw incomplete, Moriba ran for three yards and Knop was held to no gain by senior Nate Mars.

Alofs fielded Moriba’s ensuing punt and returned it 25 yards to set up first down at the Portland 25.

One play later, Scarborough doubled its lead.

Cleary dropped back to pass and again found Galarraga open over the middle, Galarraga fought his way into the end zone to complete the 25-yard scoring pass and after Fossett added the PAT, the Red Storm were up, 14-0, with 3:35 left in the first.

The Bulldogs started their next possession at their 35 and embarked on a drive that chewed up over 12 minutes, but didn’t result in a touchdown.

The drive started inauspiciously, as Mars dropped Moriba for a two-yard loss, but Moriba gained seven, Knop hit junior Joseph Pike for five and on fourth-and-inches, Moriba broke free for 15 yards and a first down at the Scarborough 40.

On the final play of a first quarter which saw the Red Storm out-gain the Bulldogs, 101 yards to 42, Moriba broke multiple tackles for seven yards.

The second period began with Galeckas dropping Moriba for a one-yard loss and junior Rylen Schenk (remember that name) holding Moriba to no gain, but on fourth-and-4, Knop hit Pike for five yards and a first down at the 29. After Pike lost a yard, Moriba picked up 10, then one more to move the chains again. Sophomore Aiden Dimillo ran for a yard and Moriba gained two more. Knop was held to two yards on third-and-7, but a personal foul penalty on Scarborough was tacked on, setting up first-and-goal at the 7.

That’s as close as Portland would get to paydirt.

After Moriba lost a yard, Mars tackled senior Garrett Stewart for a one-yard loss. On third-and-goal, Moriba was brought down for a two-yard loss by Galeckas and Mars and McLeod opted for the field goal.

With 3:13 to go in the half, Vumpa drilled a 28-yard field goal, capping the 18-play, 12:22 drive, but it only cut the deficit to 11 points, 14-3.

“At that point, we just wanted to take the points and get some positive momentum,” McLeod said.

Scarborough felt like it dodged a bullet.

“That was a hard drive, but we bent and didn’t break, the Patriots’ way,” said Schenk. “We had to do that.”

“That was very important to hold them to three,” Galeckas said. “When we did, we knew we had them.”

“We gave up some yardage on defense in the first half, but we held them when we had to,” Johnson added. “We made them work for it and we held them to the field goal.”

After more than a quarter’s worth of time had to elapse for Portland to score three points, 10 seconds later, the Red Storm had themselves a touchdown.

Vumpa deliberately kicked off short to prevent Flaker from getting an opportunity to go to the house. Instead, Galeckas fielded the ball on the Scarborough sideline at the 29 and he did the rest, riding a convoy of blockers into the end zone for a 71-yard score.

“I saw four defenders on my side of the field and three blockers and I knew I could make one (defender) miss,” Galeckas said. “I cut it outside and whoever was in front of me had a great block and I just ran. It was awesome. I’ve never done that before.”

“I don’t know if people know who Thomas is, but they will,” Johnson said. “He’s a big dude. They didn’t want to kick it to Flaker, so they kicked it to him and it didn’t work out.”

Scarborough junior Thomas Galeckas fields a kickoff and returns it 71 yards for a touchdown. Buy this Photo

Going from bad to worse, the Bulldogs had to start their  next possession at their 6 after an unnecessary roughness penalty and after Knop fell on a bad snap for a two-yard loss, Moriba ran for four yards and Knop threw incomplete, necessitating another punt.

A short boot gave Scarborough the ball at the Portland 23 with 1:37 remaining before halftime, but the Red Storm couldn’t capitalize.

After an illegal procedure penalty, Cleary fell on a low snap for an eight-yard loss, then the quarterback scrambled for 13. On third-and-10, Cleary was sacked by senior Obed Ntumba for a three-yard loss and on fourth-and-13, Galarraga caught a pass over the middle, but was upended by Knop short of the sticks.

Knop then took a knee to send the game to the break with the Red Storm on top, 21-3.

Scarborough wasn’t able to add to its lead in the third quarter.

Portland began the third period with possession and started at its 35 after the kickoff went out of bounds, but Knop threw incomplete, Moriba ran for three yards and on third down, senior Dominic Spina dropped Moriba for a one-yard loss. After a false start penalty, Moriba’s punt went for 29 yards, giving the Red Storm the ball at their 39.

Scarborough started with a false start penalty, then sophomore Jayden Flaker ran for 14 yards and Jarett Flaker picked up 13 for a first down at the Bulldogs’ 39. Jarett Flaker then ran for a yard and was held to no gain before Cleary threw incomplete. The Red Storm went for it on fourth-and-9 and appeared to pick up a first down when Galeckas caught a pass for 22 yards, but it was negated by a hold, forcing a punt.

Portland started at its 20, but again could generate nothing, as Knop threw to sophomore Reid Nichols for no gain, Moriba ran for three yards and Knop picked up two.

Scarborough got the ball back at its 38 and after Jarett Flaker caught a pass for nine yards, the Bulldogs jumped offsides giving the Red Storm a first down at the Portland 48. After Alofs caught a pass for no gain, Galeckas ran for 12 and Cleary kept the ball for 10 and a first down at the 26. After Cleary ran for nine more, he threw to the end zone, but was intercepted by Dimillo.

The Bulldogs started at their 20, but Moriba was dropped for a one-yard loss by junior Coleman McGarry and after another false start, Knop was tackled for a one-yard loss by Alofs on the final play of the third period.

On the first snap of the fourth quarter, Moriba ran for seven yards, but Portland was forced to punt and Schenk broke through and got his hand on Moriba’s kick and the Red Storm recovered at the Bulldogs’ 25.

“I went through, I jumped and my five-foot-eight frame managed to touch (the ball),” Schenk said. “That was a short man’s dream.”

“Rylen is a competitor,” Johnson said. “He’s a wrestler, so he knows how to use leverage. He’s taken advantage of his opportunities. He’s a hard worker.”

Scarborough took advantage, as Cleary ran for 13 yards and after Cleary was sacked for a six-yard loss by Stewart, Jarett Flaker got the handoff, ran to the left sideline, appeared bottled up by the Portland defense, then broke a couple tackles and reversed his field, racing all the way back to the right before outrunning the pursuit for an 18-yard score. Fossett added the PAT with 10:01 to play and the lead was 28-3.

The Bulldogs started their next drive at their 29, but after picking up 15 yards on a roughing the passer penalty, disaster struck for Portland, as Knop was intercepted by junior Jacob Keim, who returned the ball 29 yards to the Bulldogs’ 21.

Four plays later, the Red Storm were in the end zone again.

After an eight-yard run by DeBenedetto, Cleary recovered a fumbled exchange and lost five yards. Galeckas ran for six yards and on fourth-and-1, Galeckas got the ball again, running to the left and riding his blocking into the end zone for a 12-yard score with 8:17 remaining.

“I’m really proud of Thomas,” Cleary said. “He’s worked really hard, especially this summer. He’s excelled as a runner.”

Fossett’s extra point made it 35-3.

Portland went three-and-out again, as Mars dropped Moriba for a two-yard loss, Schenk and senior Max Pilspanen dropped Knop for a one-yard loss and Moriba only gained four yards on third-and-12.

Moriba then punted and Alofs caught the ball on the run at his 35 in front of the Portland bench and raced up the sideline untouched into the end zone for a 65-yard punt return score.

“Special teams is huge,” said Cleary. “When we get kick returns like that, they’re important plays.”

Fossett’s final PAT made the score 42-3 with 5:01 to play.

With the mercy rule running clock activated, the Bulldogs had one final three-and-out possession, as sophomore Grant Crosby came in to play quarterback and hit Nichols for two yards, then threw incomplete twice.

Scarborough ran one final play, a three-yard loss by junior Alexander Callahan, then celebrated its 42-3 victory.

“We’ve worked hard all summer and we won because we’ve worked so hard,” said Schenk. “Portland worked hard too and I appreciate their effort, but I just think we had a better game.”

“With the athletes we have, kick and punt returns are big for us and tonight, we scored on a couple,” Johnson said. “In the second half, defense played really well. Offensively, we need to clean it up and take care of the ball and we’ll be in good shape.”

Scarborough only mustered 203 yards of offense, but made plays when it had to.

Cleary completed 7-of-11 passes for 69 yards with a touchdown and interception. He ran six times for 38 yards.

Jarett Flaker rushed eight times for 63 yards and two scores.

Galeckas had 54 yards and a TD on four carries.

Galarraga caught three passes for 52 yards.

The Red Storm turned the ball over once and were penalized five times for 48 yards.

Growing pains

Portland managed just 70 yards of offense, turned the ball over once and committed four penalties for 26 yards.

Moriba gained 61 yards on 21 carries.

“It wasn’t the plan to run that much,” McLeod said. “We want to get the ball to athletes in space. We had a hard time early completing passes and we had success with Moriba.”

Knop completed 3-of-9 passes for 10 yards with an interception. He rushed nine times for 2 yards.

Crosby was 1-of-3 passing for 2 yards in his limited duty.

“We felt like defensively, we were opportunistic and made plays, but against a team that good, you can’t make mistakes,” said McLeod. “We’re young in some areas and we’re very athletic in many areas. This is a prime example that we have to get better every week. We have to get better at sustaining drives. As a whole, we didn’t let them sustain multiple drives. We did a good job defending the ball. We have to get better offensively and on special teams.”

Another challenge

Life gets no easier for either team next Friday.

Portland plays at Biddeford, which held off Massabesic, 27-23, in its opener.

“There are no easy games,” McLeod said. “It’s tough going against a team of Scarborough’s caliber, but the kids were up to the challenge. They had a competitive fire and that’s something we can build off.”

Scarborough has a showdown at Bonny Eagle (which dominated Edward Little, 49-6), a team the Red Storm have downed three straight times, including 61-23 last year in the Class A South semifinals.

The rematch will be much closer and will be a great barometer of where Scarborough is and what it needs to do.

“We’re a great team and everyone works hard,” Galeckas said. “We have to get ready for Bonny Eagle. We’ll work hard and be physical.”

“I feel like it went well tonight, but there are definitely things we have to work on offensively and defensively,” Cleary said. “Bonny Eagle will be a big game. We’ll focus hard in practice all week, Monday through Thursday. We’ll play all out on Friday night.”

“We’ll work hard all week to get ready for (Bonny Eagle),” said Schenk.

“It’s become a pretty good rivalry,” Johnson added. “I’m sure they’re not happy we’ve beaten them three in a row. That doesn’t happen very often. They’ll be ready to play. We’re going to go out there and be ready to play. Whatever happens, it’s not the end of the world either way. We’ll find out where we stand. Our guys will be ready to play and they’ll be ready to play us. It should be some exciting football.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough senior Jarett Flaker tries to elude Portland junior Joseph Pike. Flaker ran for a pair of scores. Buy this Photo

Scarborough senior Zach Alofs avoids a tackle by Portland sophomore Nathan Isajar while returning a punt. Alofs retrned a punt for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Buy this Photo

Scarborough senior quarterback tries to avoid a tackle by Portland senior Ryan Howell. Buy this Photo

Portland senior Jamal Moriba of Portland is tackled by Scarborough senior Jarett Flaker, left, sophomore Jayden Flaker and senior Max Piispanen.  Buy this Photo

Recent Scarborough-Portland results

2016
Scarborough 14 @ Portland 13

2015
Portland 47 @ Scarborough 26 

2012
@ Portland 25 Scarborough 20

2008
Portland 13 @ Scarborough 12

2007
@ Portland 14 Scarborough 0

2004
@ Portland 40 Scarborough 14

2003
Portland 46 @ Scarborough 8

Comments are not available on this story.