BOX SCORE

Bonny Eagle 14 Scarborough 7 (OT)

S- 7 0 0 0 0- 7
BE- 0 7 0 0 7- 14

First quarter
S- Jarett Flaker 27 pass from Cleary (Fossett kick)

Second quarter
BE- Ferris 27 run (MacDonald kick)

Third quarter
No scoring

Fourth quarter
No scoring

Overtime
BE- Maturo 1 run (MacDonald kick)

STANDISH—Bonny Eagle and Scarborough’s football teams can score points with the best of them, but Friday evening, in a Class A state semifinal, the teams engaged in a defensive showdown, one which needed more than 48 minutes to determine who would advance to the state championship game.

In a throwback affair, a defensive struggle played in the cold and mud, each squad managed a touchdown in the first half, but that would be all for offense in regulation.

The third-seeded Red Storm, who lost the regular season meeting at the Scots, 18-7, struck first, as senior standout Jarett Flaker touched the ball on all six plays of the scoring drive, and he capped it with a 27-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Chase Cleary for a 7-0 lead, but that would be all the offense Scarborough would muster.

After second-ranked Bonny Eagle prevented the Red Storm from opening it up, forcing a timely fumble, the Scots evened things up in the second period, as senior Nate Ferris scored on a 27-yard scamper, and the game went to the half deadlocked, 7-7.

Despite having opportunities deep in opposition territory, neither Bonny Eagle or Scarborough could score in the third or fourth quarters and the game would be decided in overtime.

The Scots got the first chance and from the Red Storm 10-yard line, needed just three plays to score, as senior Zach Maturo’s 1-yard TD run put the hosts on top.

Scarborough had a chance to answer, but after a couple near-misses in the end zone, a last-ditch Cleary desperation run was stopped short of the goal line and Bonny Eagle had a dramatic 14-7 victory.

The Scots beat the Red Storm for the second time this season, improved to 10-1, advanced to face either defending champion Thornton Academy (10-0) or Oxford Hills (6-4) in the Class A state final next Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium and in the process, ended Scarborough’s season at 8-3.

“I was very impressed how hard Bonny Eagle played and how hard our kids competed,” said Red Storm coach Lance Johnson. “Unfortunately, someone had to win and someone had to lose.”

Just short

The teams met way back on Sept. 13 and despite scoring first, Scarborough went down to an 18-7 defeat. The game was preceded by a 42-3 home win over Portland and after their loss, the Red Storm rattled off six straight victories: 42-7 at Bangor, 70-8 over visiting Edward Little, 32-8 at Deering, 28-0 at Sanford, 57-0 at home over Lewiston and 49-7 at Oxford Hills. Scarborough closed with a palpitating 28-27, overtime home loss to Thornton Academy, as the Red Storm’s game-winning two-point conversion attempt was stopped.

Scarborough had no trouble with No. 6 Bangor in last week’s quarterfinal round, winning, 48-3, to advance.

Bonny Eagle, meanwhile, stumbled just once this fall.

The Scots opened with home wins over Edward Little (49-6) and Scarborough (18-7), at Kennebunk (42-21) and at home over Oxford Hills (33-21). After a hard-fought 21-14 loss at Thornton Academy, Bonny Eagle defeated host Lewiston (54-14), visiting Cheverus (41-14), visiting Bangor (62-0) and host (34-20).

Last weekend, the Scots advanced with a 48-0 quarterfinal round victory over No. 7 Lewiston.

Bonny Eagle and Scarborough had met three previous times in the playoffs. The Scots prevailed in the 2013 Western A semifinals (27-0) and the 2016 Class A South Final (40-20) and the Red Storm rolled in last year’s semifinal round (61-23).

“A lot of things happened last year that led to that last game, but this is a different year, different kids,” said longtime Bonny Eagle coach Kevin Cooper. “Kids who were juniors last year and weren’t really ready are seniors now and they’ve done a great job this year.”

Friday, on a chilly (39 degrees and dropping at kickoff) and breezy evening, defense ruled and Bonny Eagle did just enough to end Scarborough’s season.

The Red Storm won the opening coin toss and deferred possession to the second half.

The Scots then came out and moved the ball, but in a game-long theme, couldn’t finish the drive with points.

Bonny Eagle started at its 35 and on first down, senior quarterback Keegan Meredith rolled right, then connected with Maturo for 13 yards. Meredith then kept the ball for 11 yards and a first down at the Scarborough 41. After a timeout, the Scots moved the chains again, as Meredith hit Ferris for 12 yards to the 29. Ferris then ran for four yards, but Meredith threw incomplete and after Meredith was held to no gain and after another timeout, Bonny Eagle was stymied, as Meredith threw incomplete, with Cleary knocking the ball down, to give the ball to the Red Storm on downs.

Scarborough, more specifically, Flaker, then marched 75 yards on six plays to get the jump.

Flaker broke free to the right side for 18 yards to set the tone. After being held to four yards, Flaker ran left for 13 yards and a first down at the Scots’ 40. After Ferris dropped Flaker for a five-yard loss, he picked up 18 yards to the left for a first down at the 27 and then, the Red Storm went to the air, as Cleary dropped back and lofted a pass to Flaker down the middle in the end zone. Flaker outleaped Bonny Eagle sophomore Garison Emerson for the ball and scored on the 27-yard completion. Junior Collin Fossett’s extra point made it 7-0 Scarborough with 5:37 left in the first period.

At that juncture, it appeared the Red Storm would score at will, but the Scots didn’t allow them to register another point.

Bonny Eagle looked to answer, starting at its 31, but appeared doomed to go three-and-out, as Ferris ran for four yards and Meredith twice threw incomplete, but out of a punt formation, Maturo ran a fake for 10 yards to pick up a first down at the 45. That’s as good as it got for the Scots on that drive, however, as after Maturo lost three yards, a holding penalty set up second-and-19 and Meredith twice threw incomplete. Maturo then did punt, but his low boot was fielded by junior Evan Foley, who brought the ball back to the Bonny Eagle 35, seemingly setting Scarborough up to extend its lead.

But it wasn’t to be, as after throwing incomplete, Cleary took off with the ball, was hit and fumbled and Scots’ junior Eli LeBlanc recovered at his 25 to help Bonny Eagle regain momentum.

The turnover sparked the Scots’ offense, which again drove into Red Storm territory as the first period gave way to the second.

After a 12-yard Ferris run, Foley stuffed Maturo for no gain, but on the next snap, Maturo tried again and broke away for 33 yards to the Scarborough 30. When Maturo gained 11 more yards for a first down at the 19, the hosts appeared primed to pull even, but Foley held Ferris to no gain and on the final play of the opening stanza (which saw Bonny Eagle outgain Scarborough, 106 yards to 85, but trail on the scoreboard), Meredith gained five yards.

The second quarter began with a three-yard Maturo run on third-and-5 and on fourth down, after a false start penalty cost the Scots five yards and a delay of game penalty backed them up an additional five yards, Meredith threw incomplete, giving the Red Storm the ball on downs at their 21.

This time, Bonny Eagle’s defense forced a three-and-out, as Flaker ran for one yard, then picked up three before junior Thomas Galeckas caught a pass for just three yards on third-and-6.

The Scots would get the ball back at their 45 with 8:26 to go before halftime and seven plays and 2:14 later, they finally managed to draw even.

The drive began with a nine-yard Meredith burst. After Ferris was held to no gain by Scarborough senior Max Pilspanen, Maturo was held to no gain by seniors Zach Alofs and Salvator DeBenedetto. Maturo would pick up the yard on fourth down, then Maturo ran for 10 yards and a first down at the Red Storm’s 35. Maturo got the call again and gained eight yards, then Ferris broke free through the right side, faked out a defender, then outraced the pursuit to the end zone to complete a 27-yard scoring run. Junior Cam MacDonald’s PAT tied the score, 7-7, with 6:12 remaining before halftime.

And that would be it for scoring during regulation.

Scarborough hoped to answer on its next series, but after an initial first down, couldn’t do so.

The Red Storm began from their 34 and after Cleary fell on a bad snap for an eight-yard loss and sophomore Nick Klein dropped Flaker for a two-yard loss, Scarborough faced third-and-20, but Galeckas broke free through the left side and gained 25 yards for a first down at the 49. Cleary then threw incomplete, Flaker was dropped for a three-yard loss by Ferris and Klein and Cleary only gained two yards on third-and-13, forcing a punt.

With 2:56 left before halftime, the Scots got possession at their 27 and a trick play put them in business.

On first down, Meredith handed off to Maturo, who passed to junior Jacob Humphrey, who was open behind the defense. By the time sophomore Jayden Flaker dragged him down, Humphrey gained 47 yards to the Scarborough 26. Bonny Eagle couldn’t cash it in, however, as Ferris was tackled for a one-yard loss by junior Rylen Schenk, Humphrey caught a pass for four yards and after Maturo ran for one yard, Jayden Flaker broke up a pass to Humphrey in the end zone to give the Red Storm the ball back on downs at their 22 with 26.8 seconds to go.

Galeckas would pick up seven yards, but with Scarborough out of timeouts, the contest went to halftime deadlocked at 7-7.

In the first 24 minutes, Bonny Eagle mustered 205 yards to the Red Storm’s 113, but the Scots’ inability to finish drives with points prevented them from taking the lead.

There would be no separation in a hard-hitting, hard-fought second half either.

Scarborough got the ball to start the half and a nice kickoff return from Jarett Flaker put the ball at the Red Storm’s 43. The visitors couldn’t gain a first down, however, as after Jayden Flaker ran for seven yards, Cleary was sacked for no gain by junior John Dugan and on third-and-3, Jarett Flaker only gained two yards, forcing a punt.

After a nice Cleary punt, Bonny Eagle’s first possession of the third quarter started at its 8 and the Scots went three-and-out, as Ferris rushed for four yards, senior Nate Mars held Meredith to no gain, then Meredith threw incomplete.

Scarborough got the ball back in great field position, at its 46, but despite a promising drive, couldn’t retake the lead.

After Galeckas ran for two yards and Cleary gained seven, Galeckas moved the chains with a four-yard rush to the Scots’ 41. Cleary kept the ball for six yards, then was held to no gain by Bonny Eagle junior Dawson Bradway, but on third-and-4, Cleary connected with a wide open Jayden Flaker for 21 yards and a first down at the 14. Galeckas ran for two yards, then gained one and on third-and-7, Jarett Flaker was held to a yard, setting up fourth down, where Cleary tried to find sophomore Ryan Kelly in the right corner of the end zone, but Humphrey knocked the ball away, giving the Scots possession back at the 10.

In a drive that chewed up the final 1:35 of the third period and much of the fourth quarter as well, Bonny Eagle moved down the field and used up nearly seven minutes of clock, but again, came up short.

After an incomplete pass, Meredith ran for four yards, then connected with senior Shawn Brilliant for a dozen and a first down at the 25. Ferris ran for five yards on the final snap of the third quarter (which saw Scarborough hold a 54-9 edge in yardage and a big advantage in time of possession).

On the opening play of the final stanza (or so we thought), Maturo moved the pile six yards with a second effort for a first down at the 36. Meredith then connected with Ferris for eight yards and a personal foul penalty on the Red Storm tacked on 15 more, giving the Scots a first down at the Scarborough 41. After a false start penalty backed Bonny Eagle up five  yards, Meredith ran for six yards, then Maturo swept left for 12 and a first down at the 28. Ferris ran for three yards and Maturo gained eight more on a sweep right for a first down at the 17, but after Meredith kept the ball for five yards and Ferris gained one, a false start cost the Scots five yards, Ferris was held to no gain by Alofs and on fourth-and-9 from the 16, Alofs brought Maturo down after a gain of just four yards to give the Red Storm possession at their 12 with 6:38 remaining.

“It was frustrating to get down in the red zone and stall,” Ferris said.

“When you get close to the goal line, it gets tougher,” Cooper said. “You don’t have the space. Upfield, they have to back off guys like Zach Maturo and Jacob Humphrey, but in the red zone, it’s harder. Give Scarborough credit for rising up and making plays.”

Scarborough got a first down, as Cleary kept the ball for 13 yards, but he was banged up on the play. Sophomore Sam Rumelhart came on in relief and handed off to Jarett Flaker, who rushed for 14 yards and a first down at the 39. Cleary returned to action, but the Red Storm went backwards with a false start penalty and after Cleary kept for a yard, then threw incomplete, on third-and-14, Galeckas gained just nine yards, forcing a punt.

With 4:08 to go, Bonny Eagle got the ball back at its 31 and appeared to finally break through, only to be frustrated again.

After Galeckas sacked Meredith for no gain, Ferris ran for four yards. Maturo then got the call on a direct snap, ran left, turned the corner, bounced off a defender and appeared to break free for a 65-yard touchdown.

But a flag rested on the field near the Scots’ sideline and sure enough, a holding penalty negated the score and set up third-and-11. Maturo tried the same play, but this time, only gained four yards and Bonny Eagle had to punt.

With 2:46 on the clock, Scarborough took over at its 36, but couldn’t pick up a first down, as after a false start penalty cost five yards, Cleary threw incomplete, Jayden Flaker ran for seven yards and on third-and-8, Ferris sacked Cleary, forcing a punt.

The Scots got their final chance in regulation when they took over at their 34 with 1:08 remaining, but they went nowhere, as Meredith twice threw incomplete and a four-yard Ferris run on third-and-10 allowed the Red Storm to use their final timeout and get the ball one more time.

With 32.1 seconds showing, Scarborough took over at its 22 and immediately picked up 18 yards on a Jarett Flaker burst. Cleary then threw incomplete, but he connected with Galeckas for 11 yards to the Bonny Eagle 49 with time for one more play. Cleary would be intercepted on the final pass, with Bradway doing the honors, but senior Dominic Spina dragged Bradway down by his jersey to bring an end to regulation.

In high school football, each team gets a series of downs from the opposition’s 10-yard line and if the score remains tied, another overtime is played.

Just one would be necessary on this chilly night, however.

As was the case pregame, Scarborough won the coin toss and the Red Storm elected to go on defense first.

Three plays later, the Scots rediscovered the end zone.

Bonny Eagle’s overtime possession was all-Maturo, all-the-time. The standout ran for five yards on first down and a late hit penalty moved the ball half the distance to the goal. After Maturo gained two more yards to the 1, he got the call, ran right, saw that the middle was congested, so he bounced it out to the right and followed Ferris into the end zone for the touchdown.

” I knew it was clogged and I had to go outside,” Maturo said.

“We wanted to put the ball in the hands of our best player and get him in the end zone,” Cooper said. “(Zach) made a great adjustment taking it outside instead of running inside. Great players make great plays.”

After a false start penalty, MacDonald added the all-important PAT, from 25-yards out, and the Scots had a 14-7 lead.

Scarborough had to answer, but the Bonny Eagle defense would come up huge one final time.

After Jarett Flaker gained just one yard on first down, Cleary had Jayden Flaker open in the end zone, but his throw was just low. Then, Cleary threw to Spina in the end zone, but the receiver couldn’t haul it in cleanly, setting up fourth-and-goal.

More to the point, it was fourth-and-the-season.

After a Scots’ defensive timeout, the Red Storm hoped to score through the air, but that hope went out the window when the snap to Cleary was low. Cleary had to take off with the ball and made it to the 5 before he was brought down by Klein, as well as seniors Cam Gardiner and Alex Dyer, to end it.

“There was a low snap and instantly, the quarterback scrambled and we swarmed to the football like we always do and made the play,” Ferris said.

“Once they started passing (in overtime), I knew they wouldn’t move the ball,” Maturo said. “I saw (Cleary) tuck it and we ran after him and tackled him.”

“Our defense has played so well for so long, so I felt if we could score and get the extra point, it would put the pressure on them,” Cooper added. “We got lucky on the one pass, but it’s hard to complete passes down there.”

At 9:25 p.m., after a grueling 2-hour, 23-minute passion play, Bonny Eagle celebrated its exhausting and exhilarating 14-7 overtime victory.

“It was exciting from the start,” Maturo said. “We knew it would be a defensive game. We all did our jobs and played our gaps. We’re tough.  Last year, we weren’t happy losing. We’ve focused on getting better this year.”

“It feels awesome,” Ferris said. “We wanted it. We’re so tight-knit. We all grew up together playing football. We don’t feel like anyone can get in our way.”

“We were prepared,” Dyer said. “We got startled on their first drive, then we put it all together. We’re just a different team this year. We’ve gotten so much better.”

“We talked to the guys all week about finding a way to win because sometimes that’s what big games come down to,” Cooper added. “Our guys found a way to get it done at the end. They made plays during the game and in overtime. For our defense to hold a team as good as Scarborough is to a touchdown again, I’m very proud. Scarborough’s great on defense too. For all the offensive talent on the field tonight and the spread offenses with quarterbacks who could throw it and running backs who could run it, for it to be 7-7 at the end of regulation was pretty incredible.”

The Scots finished with 304 yards of offense.

Maturo rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also completed a pass for 47 yards and caught one for 13 yards.

Ferris rushed for 67 yards and a score on 13 carries and caught three passes for 20 yards.

Meredith finished 6-of-17 passing for 48 yards and ran eight times for 40 more.

Humphrey caught two passes for 51 yards and Brilliant’s one reception went for 11 yards.

The Scots didn’t commit a turnover, but were flagged seven times for 36 yards.

Bonny Eagle is 6-0 all-time in the state final, with a 34-14 win over Portland in 2016 the most recent, but will have its hands full next weekend as it seeks a seventh Gold Ball.

“We’ll be ready,” Maturo said. “You can believe that.”

“This team is awesome,” said Cooper. “How can you not love coaching guys like Zach Maturo and Nate Ferris and Keegan Meredith? To coach them one more week and go to a state championship game is pretty cool. We’ll start working on who we play and what we have to do tomorrow around 3:30 (after the Thornton Academy-Oxford Hills game).”

Hard to say goodbye

Scarborough’s potent attack was limited to 229 yards of offense.

Jarett Flaker bowed out by rushing 14 times for 83 yards and catching one pass for 27 yards and a touchdown.

“Jarett, for two years, every defense is designed to stop him and he’s still put up incredible numbers,” Johnson said. “I can’t say enough about what he’s done.”

Cleary completed 4-of-13 passes for 55 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He rushed nine times for 35 yards.

Galeckas had 50 yards on seven carries and caught two balls for 14 yards.

Jayden Flaker had two rushes for 14 yards and one reception for 21.

The Red Storm committed four penalties for 27 yards and also turned the ball over on two occasions.

“We had some opportunities, especially early on,” Johnson lamented. “We were controlling the game and if we could have gotten a second score, it could have been different. Then, it turned into a slugfest, back and forth. Both defenses played very well. The footing wasn’t great. That affected skill guys on both sides. It was hard for guys to put their foot in the ground and make a solid cut.

“To be honest, we’ve prepared for them for two weeks and they were preparing for us for two weeks. We tried to give them different looks. We just came up a play short. I felt good going into overtime. We thought we had some things ready to go. We just didn’t make the plays there.”

Scarborough will be hard-hit by graduation, as a core group of 16 seniors which has won 25 games (and the program’s first Class A state title in 2017) will depart.

“Our seniors have played in a lot of big games,” Johnson said. “They took the program to a different level and worked extremely hard. I’m so proud of them. They prepare year-round. We brutalize them in the summer and they put up with it and get in shape. We’re a program that has become known for our athleticism and toughness and they’re a big reason why.”

Don’t go writing off the 2020 Red Storm, however. They’ll learn from this experience and will return hungry and determined next year.

“We have some talent back and we have 23 freshmen,” Johnson said. “We’ll try to keep it moving.”

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

Comments are not available on this story.