Pursued by Marshwood defenders, Thornton Academy wide receiver Hayden Pomerleau runs for a long gain Saturday in the Trojans’ 28-27 win. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

“It’s only Week 2.”

That’s what both winning coach Kevin Cooper and losing coach Lance Johnson said after Bonny Eagle’s 18-7 win over sloppy Scarborough in Standish on Friday night.

We get it. There’s a lot of season left. Nobody wins championships in the second week of the season.

But considering I saw the top four teams in the Varsity Maine football poll meet in two head-to-head games this past weekend, I’ll play the “if trophies were handed out today” scenario.

And the overall best team in the state – right now – is Thornton Academy (2-0). But much like its 28-27 win on Saturday, which came down to stopping Marshwood on a 2-point conversion with 18 seconds to play, the margin is slim.

Here’s how I see it: Thornton has more depth and a better kicking game than any team. It has two new playmakers to replace Anthony Bracamonte in receivers Payton Jones and Hayden Pomerleau. Senior quarterback Kobe Gaudette is a cool customer. The Trojans’ defense will become better at getting off the field on third down. They have shown they can come from behind against two good teams in Sanford, which routed Oxford Hills on Friday, and Marshwood. As Thornton’s senior defensive tackle Tanner Lynn put it, “Hopefully we won’t make (comebacks) a habit but if we have to, we can do it. We have that dogfight mentality.”

Marshwood running back John Valentine carries the ball during the Hawks’ 28-27 loss at Thornton Academy on Saturday. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Put Marshwood at No. 2. The defending Class B champion (1-1) had to replace four starting offensive linemen and All-State quarterback Tommy Springer this season. A bit of regression on offense seemed likely. That is until I saw the Hawks roll up 514 yards of well-balanced offense in the loss to Thornton. Pulling guard Charles McCann conjured Lombardi-era visions with his ability to get out in front of John Valentine on a couple of toss sweeps. Quarterback Connor Caverly was sharp, especially on slant passes to Cullen Casey, a 17-yard dart to Valentine he threw while rolling left on a third-and-11 play, and his third-and-10 in-stride completion to Cameron Cornett in the end zone with 18 seconds to play. And the Hawks weren’t satisfied with their near miss.

“When we go to film (Sunday), we’re going to say everything we did wrong. And we need to,” said Valentine. “We need to get better next week.”

The team that impressed the most compared to expectations was Bonny Eagle (2-0). As Friday’s game wore on, the Scots’ physical presence took control. They had the ability to run the ball between the tackles. Most impressive was the defense. Injuries decimated that group during last season’s uncharacteristic season-ending four-game losing streak. Scarborough gained only 199 yards against the Scots, with just two plays netting more than 15 yards. The secondary led by safety Alex Dyer smothered Scarborough’s receivers. If the Scots can stay healthy, their old-school toughness and ability to rally to the ball will be tough to handle.

Scarborough (1-1) was my No. 1 going into Friday. By season’s end they could return to that spot. But a combination of 10 penalties, the head-scratching decision to give speedster Jarett Flaker (14.6 yards per touch in his sophomore and junior seasons combined) one carry in the second half, and a pass game that went 4 of 16 for 27 yards, short-circuited the Red Storm’s offense. This morning? They drop all the way to No. 5 on my chart.

And, what about Kennebunk? I’m ranking the Rams at No. 4. In two games against lesser opponents, Kennebunk (2-0) has 118 points. Players like quarterback Tommy Lazos, fullback David York (25 carries, 325 yards) and running/receiving threats Jake Sullivan and Ryan Connors are shining in bigger roles. Class B Kennebunk gets its chance to slug above its weight class Friday at home against Bonny Eagle.

A PRIMARY PURPOSE of reclassification is to try and create better competitive opportunities for more programs. How’s it going so far? The average margin of victory through two weeks of 25.12 points is comparable to 2018 (24.96) and greater than 2017 (23.8), the season with the lowest margin since the Press Herald started tracking the stat in 2012. Week 2 did see eight of the 36 games decided by six points or less (not counting Dirigo’s forfeit loss) but there are still a lot of lopsided outcomes. Twenty-four games (12 each week) – essentially a third of all games – have been decided by 35 points or more, the threshold for running time in the second half.

 


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