STANDISH—Jarrett Flaker’s early-game rush TD looked easy on Friday night, Sept. 13 – and it raised the specter of Scarborough’s huge, 61-23 triumph over Bonny Eagle in last year’s playoffs.

Thankfully, the Scots settled down in short order: QB Keegan Meredith found a groove, chief runningback Zach Maturo found a groove and – perhaps most importantly – the defense found a groove.

Over the four quarters, Meredith logged two pass TDs – one to Shaun Brilliant and the other to Chase Graves – and Maturo logged a TD on the run. Meanwhile, the Storm never managed to find the end zone again.

18-7 the final.

After suffering a deflating, 61-23 loss to Scarborough at the end of last season, the Scots celebrate their domination of the Red Storm early this year. Adam Birt / American Journal

“Our kids played super-hard, they had a great week of practice,” Bonny Eagle head coach Kevin Cooper said. “To hold [Scarborough] to seven is really unbelievable.”

Little went right for the Scots at the start of the bout – okay, Maturo returned the opening kickoff all the way to Bonny Eagle’s own 42. That’s great field position. And Meredith next pitched to Nate Ferris for five yards; that’s halfway to a first down.

But Meredith soon found himself intercepted: Jake Keim picked him off and set up the Storm with first and 10 at BE’s 49. Yikes.

Scarborough QB Chase Cleary ran a keeper seven yards leftward on down one, then ran another up the middle for – well, it turned out to be a lot, because the Scots pulled a personal foul on the play, a helmet contact penalty. First and 10 for the Storm at the Bonny Eagle 21.

Flaker took over from there: The Fastest Kid in the State (see: Flaker’s umpteen sprinting records) grabbed a Cleary pitch and zipped rightward, all the way across the Scots’ goal line. Collin Fossett added the kick for the evening’s first seven points. Barely two minutes had elapsed.

BE QB Keegan Meredith, running a keeper, ditches a Scarborough tackler. Adam Birt / American Journal

“The first touchdown, we had guys there,” Cooper said. “We just didn’t play it very well. And Jarrett’s a kid where, if you make one little mistake, it’s over…When he starts his jet motion, you’ve got to respect that. We tried to send a guy to go hard, try to force him back inside, try to be aggressive and not be tentative – last year, we were tentative.”

“That was our main emphasis,” Meredith said, asked about shutting Flaker down. “When you have a kid like that on the team, you can’t take him for granted. So any jets, any motions, anything with him we try to key on, focus, put in a few packages. Make sure we knew where he was and try to limit him on offense.”

Jake Humphrey – a maestro on the basketball court, but new this year to the BE football roster – returned the follow-up kickoff: First and 10 at the Scots’ 30. The series died on the table, however, with the Scots’ incurring a penalty, Meredith failing to connect with Brilliant (coverage by Flaker) and Ferris dropping a Meredith pass attempt over the middle. Maturo punted.

That’s when BE began to clear their heads, come together. Flaker, on the ensuing kickoff return, couldn’t escape Scot John Merrill and returned short – “short” brought him to the Storm’s 48, but the Storm’s 48 wasn’t far from where he started.

Cleary ran a keeper up the middle for 13 (Nick Klein tackled him), then threw an incomplete pass: Bonny Eagler Cam Gardner burst through Cleary’s offensive line, pressured Cleary into throwing – and flattened him.

Cleary next tried a throw left to Flaker: Flaker caught the pass, only for Ferris to pounce on him and strip the ball. Scarborough retained possession, but barely, and they lost two yards in the process.

Zach Maturo runs in a TD for the Scots. Adam Birt / American Journal

Klein tackled Cleary on a minimal-gain keeper after that, and Ferris combined with Dawson Bradway to hold Thomas Galeckas to six yards following a Cleary pitch. Those six weren’t enough, and the Storm relinquished control on downs.

From first and 10 at their own 35, BE advanced two yards on couple short Meredith keepers, and five more yards on a Scarborough offsides flag. Cooper called timeout. But when the teams returned to the field, the Scots couldn’t gain the last three they needed for a new set of downs. Maturo punted.

The contest had morphed into a defensive tug-of-war.

“Keegan can throw it – we have confidence in him to do so. As you saw, we’re not afraid to come out and start throwing it,” Cooper said. “I think he was a little excited at the beginning of the game; a lot of his throws were up too high. Our receivers…I think Nate dropped one that would’ve been a big play for us. Everybody was excited a little bit at first. So we just fell back on what we had preached all week, and that’s be physical, be tough, get after it mentally, and let things fall where they may after that.”

Bonny Eagle thwarted the Storm once more on their next series. Bradway halted Flaker’s return and Humphrey a Galeckas run. A pair of Scarborough flags cost the team 10 yards. Humphrey nearly intercepted Cleary on a long throw meant for Evan Morgan, and brought down Flaker after a gain of 15 on a successful Cleary hookup. A third flag backed the Storm up yet again, and yet again they punted.

“Most of what we did was realize we were just-about-there; we can’t slow up at all,” Cooper said. “And our guys kept responding. Last time we played, these guys scored 61 points on us. Holding them to seven was pretty amazing.”

Cam Gardner gets set for the snap. Adam Birt / American Journal

“It was a rocky start,” Meredith said. “Both teams were riled up, just came out to play. And, you know, they started slipping, and we could see that. We started making big plays, chipping away at them. I think we were more physical than them; that’s really what it is.”

Maybe the turning point came near the end of the opening quarter, on Bonny Eagle’s next drive: From their own 19, the team inched forward on three Ferris running yards, but then stalled out on a pair of slightly-overthrown Meredith pass attempts, one to Maturo and the other to Ferris.

Maturo trotted into punting position – but faked, and carried the snap left for nine yards and a first down. That play seemed to juice the Scots up, give them enough momentum to get on the board.

Meredith hit Ferris up the middle for a gain of 22, and two plays later, hit Brilliant up the middle as well – for 47 and a TD. Meredith then tried to find Humphrey, lingering in the back corner of the Scarborough end zone, for a two-point conversion. But he wasn’t quite dialed-in yet, and the ball flew high.

“We talked all week about having to turn around how we play, how we approach the game, mentally and physically,” Cooper said. “Last year, in the playoff game, we weren’t in a great space. It was a tough year for us: We had a lot of injuries, we had guys in and out because of sickness and whatnot. And we go down there in the playoff game and give up 61.”

“So we just talked all week about how the outcome wasn’t really the first thing to worry about,” Cooper continued. “It was how we played, how we approach things, how physical we were going to be, and let the win take care of itself – and I think that’s what happened…Our guys believed that. And even though they throw a pick on the second play, [Scarborough scores] on, what, the third play? We just went back to focusing on what we talked about all week.”

Chase Graves reels in a TD pass for the Scots. Adam Birt / American Journal

“That was one thing coach was always mentioning in the locker room,” Meredith said. “He said, ‘You know, the last three times we’ve played them, they’ve been the better team; they’ve wanted it more. So to come out – we know we’re a different team…and we’ve got that underdog mentality, so we wanted to come out and show ‘em that we were the more aggressive, more physical team. We did that tonight.”

7-6; the Storm still held the lead. They didn’t hold it for long, though: BE’s defense fired on all cylinders for Scarborough’s next drive, with Will Horton latching onto Flaker, Maturo and Eli LeBlanc latching onto Cleary, Gardner and Horton combining to drop Galeckas, and Humphrey preventing a Cleary-to-Jayden-Flaker hookup. Further, the Storm pulled two flags on the series, the second of which Cooper declined.

Net result: fourth and 14 at Scarborough’s 40. The Storm punted.

Bonny Eagle’s turn with the ball started on a sour note: Maturo received the kick, but a herd of Stormers converged and dropped him well back from where he started. First and 10 at the BE 10, but the Scots kept their cool. Meredith ran for 12 and a first, Maturo for seven, Ferris for three, and Maturo for four more and another first. Meredith connected with Maturo (carrying Jayden Flaker) for five, ran again himself for six more – and so on.

The series culminated at second and six at Scarborough’s 36: The snap came in high, but Meredith’s line provided good protection – provided time for him to snatch up the ball and get his bearings. He ran left a few yards, wheeled back and fired rightward, long. The ball soared close to the end zone, then plunged into Graves’s hands. With no Stormers nearby, Graves scooted over the goal line untouched.

The Scots tried for a two-point conversion, but couldn’t covert. 12-6.

Bode Daycoombs springs into action. Adam Birt / American Journal

Scarborough marched forward on the subsequent drive, reaching second and two at the BE 28. The Storm threatened to score, to retake the lead, but Humphrey had other ideas, and intercepted Cleary’s next pass attempt – a deep-shot that would’ve earned six had it found its intended target.

The Storm received the kickoff to begin the third quarter, but the Scots held them silent, then turned around and put up another touchdown. BE assembled a nearly five-minute series out of Meredith, Maturo and Ferris carries, and Maturo capped the push with a three-yard rushing score.

18-7, and that’s where things would stand for the rest of the night: The action tightened into another defensive stalemate. Scarborough’s last-ditch effort to tally a TD, late in the last quarter, brought them inside Bonny Eagle’s 10. It didn’t, however, collect enough yards on fourth and four at the six. The Storm turned over control on downs.

Meredith kneeled the rest of the clock away.

“I think so,” Cooper said, asked his squad has the pieces to be a far better team this year than last. “But it’s like I told our guys: It’s only week two. Is this the end-all, be-all? No. I’m sure Lance (Johnson, Scarborough head coach) is telling his guys that it’s just one loss, it’s week two. They’re going to come back. I don’t think anybody would be surprised if it was Bonny Eagle or Scarborough in the State Championship game. But both of us have to go play TA; we’ve got tough games against Sanford and Oxford Hills.”

Bonny Eagle dominated Edward Little at home in week one. The 2-0 Scots travel to Kennebunk on Friday the 20th.

Zach Maturo fends off a would-be Scarborough tackler. Adam Birt / American Journal

Jake Humphrey jets into action as the play begins. Adam Birt / American Journal

Nick Klein lines up for the Scots. Klein got in on a number of key tackles in BE’s victory over the Storm. Adam Birt / American Journal

Shaun Brilliant breaks away from the pack, en route to the Scarborough end zone. Adam Birt / American Journal

Scot Eli LeBlanc locks horns with his Scarborough counterpart. Adam Birt / American Journal

Jake Harriman faces down a Scarborough opponent. Adam Birt / American Journal

John Dugan launches forward off the line for the Scots. Adam Birt / American Journal

Keegan Meredith threw for two TDs vs. Scarborough. Adam Birt / American Journal

Adam Birt / American Journal

Nate Ferris runs interference for ball-carrier Zach Maturo. Adam Birt / American Journal

Zach Maturo carries for the Scots in their win over Scarborough. Adam Birt / American Journal

Comments are not available on this story.