BIDDEFORD – Two longtime football coaches met at midfield for a handshake and hug.

Aaron Filieo then rejoined the South Portland High football team he has helped turn around – highlighted by a 41-19 win Friday night over Biddeford in a Class B South quarterfinal at Waterhouse Field.

Brian Curit, meanwhile, walked off Waterhouse Field for the last time as Biddeford’s coach after 20 years in charge of the program.

“This is a very special place,” Curit said.

But Curit also acknowledged Filieo, who coached Cape Elizabeth for 15 years before returning to his alma mater this year. Filieo took over a South Portland team that finished 1-7 last year in Class A and has them on a five-game winning streak.

“Aaron Filieo has done a very good job with that team, which is evident by the way they’ve played down the stretch,” Curit said.

Fifth-seeded South Portland (7-2) will play next weekend at No. 1 Marshwood, while No. 4 Biddeford is done at 5-4.

The Red Riots began the year with a 30-14 loss to Deering, and they were 2-2 after a loss to Massabesic.

“After that Massabesic game, we just – not to sound cliché – but we really do stress getting better every week,” Filieo said.

The Red Riots feature a dynamic backfield. Quarterback Anthony Poole is the focus, and he came through again with 22 carries for 178 yards and four touchdowns, and 3-of-5 passing for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

But South Portland has a complement to Poole. Keenan Jones, a 150-pound running back, ran the counter play often, gaining 177 yards on 17 carries.

“(Poole) is an amazing playmaker for our team and I’m just glad to be able to help out,” Jones said.

South Portland ran only three plays that were runs or passes by Poole or Jones.

“They’re all focusing on No. 1 (Poole’s jersey number) and then we have little 21 (Jones) in the backfield. His legs don’t stop,” lineman Caleb Viola said.

Biddeford moved the ball initially with fullback Aidan Donavan. He capped a short drive with a 1-yard run for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. But the Tigers could not sustain many drives after that.

“We stayed resilient,” said Viola, who also is a linebacker and had one of his team’s three interceptions. “We did our job, pursued and swarmed the ball.”

The Red Riots tied it in the second quarter with an 86-yard drive. Then defensive back Connor Dobson got the ball back with an interception at the Biddeford 48. On the next play, Dobson lined up as a receiver and beat the secondary on a post pattern, hauling in the TD pass for a 14-6 lead.

Poole, who did not complete a pass in the previous game, added a 65-yard scoring pass to tight end Tyler Small in the second half.

“Biddeford is very aggressive, and we had to throw the ball to back them up a little bit,” Filieo said.

Ahead 14-12 at halftime, South Portland never lost the lead and eventually pulled away. Then the coaches were shaking hands.

“I have a lot of respect for Brian,” Filieo said. “He carried on the tradition here.”

That tradition was built by the late Mike Landry. After the game, Curit stood next to the Michael Landry locker room.

“This is dedicated to a guy I revered,” Curit said, occasionally pausing to compose himself.

“I’ve coached 195 games (127-68) as head coach here. It is special here. This is a community I love. It’s very emotional.”

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