BOX SCORE

Portland 40 Deering 0

D- 0 0 0 0- 0
P- 20 7 6 7- 40

First quarter
P- Charles 6 run (kick failed)
P- Boyle 13 run (Vumpa kick)
P- DiMillo 56 pass from Crosby (Vumpa kick)

Second quarter
P- Boyle 18 run (Vumpa kick)

Third quarter
P- Vumpa 37 FG
P- Vumpa 25 FG

Fourth quarter
P- Buck 10 run (Vumpa kick)

PORTLAND—Brandon Boyle came to Portland High School from Deering for several reasons.

One of the biggest being an opportunity to play for the talented Bulldogs football team.

Friday evening at Fitzpatrick Stadium, Boyle got to go up against his former teammates as he and his new squad put on an early show in the rivals’ first meeting in seven years.

On Portland’s first offensive play, junior Kennedy Charles scored on a 6-yard run.

On its second, Boyle scored on a 13-yard rush.

On the third, senior quarterback Grant Crosby aired out a 56-yard touchdown pass to senior Aidan DiMillo and just like that, the Bulldogs were in command, 20-0.

While Portland was stymied by a pair of turnovers and multiple penalties in the second quarter, it still managed to add to its lead when Boyle scored on a highlight reel 18-yard TD scamper to make it 27-0 at the half.

Senior placekicker Cristo Vumpa added a pair of field goals in the third period, one from 37-yards and the next from 25, to extend the advantage to 33.

The Bulldogs added a 10-yard touchdown run from sophomore Reegan Buck in the fourth quarter and closed out a 40-0 victory.

Boyle ran for 149 yards and a couple scores as Portland improved to 2-0 and dropped Deering to 0-2 in the process.

“It was good to see my friends and play against them, but I wanted to beat them,” Boyle said. “I trained so hard to be out here. I wanted to prove myself.”

Long time in coming

While Portland and Deering have met annually on Thanksgiving Day, the teams haven’t met in a countable game since the 2014 Western A quarterfinals (a 28-7 Bulldogs victory) or in the regular season since Portland prevailed, 42-14, Sept. 12, 2014, in a game the Bulldogs later forfeited for using an ineligible player due to an administrative snafu.

After competing in Class A for decades, both Deering and Portland moved to Class B for the 2019 season and a year ago, neither squad was able to take the field for a countable game.

The Bulldogs began the 2021 campaign with an impressive 30-18 victory at preseason favorite Kennebunk, while the Rams hung touch for awhile with visiting Biddeford before falling, 36-14.

Friday, on a comfortable evening (67 degrees and windy at kickoff), Portland quickly seized control and didn’t look back.

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

Deering got the ball first and started from its 16, but even with Portland jumping offsides before the first snap, couldn’t move, as senior quarterback Wally Tibbetts threw incomplete, Tibbetts was thrown for a four-yard loss by junior Sam Trefethen and senior Gianni Aviles was stopped for no gain by junior Andrew Brewer.

Junior Carlos Adriano-Muaco then dropped back to punt but disaster ensued for the Rams when Adriano-Muaco couldn’t handle the snap and was dropped at the 6 by senior Grant Haron.

The Bulldogs immediately took advantage, as Charles took a direct snap and ran to his left into the end zone for the game’s first points with 10:03 to play in the first quarter. Vumpa missed the extra point, but Portland was on top for good, 6-0.

Deering started its next drive at its 17, but couldn’t answer.

After a false start penalty backed the Rams up five yards, then Aviles was dropped for a four-yard loss by DiMillo and sophomore Isaak Alkafaji. Tibbetts then hit senior Qwest Newhall for seven yards, but on third-and-12, Tibbetts was sacked by Trefethen and junior Sam Esposito and Deering was forced to punt.

This time, Adriano-Muaco got the kick away, but Boyle returned it 27 yards to the Rams 18.

Deering then jumped offsides and Boyle did the rest, taking a handoff, bursting free, then barreling over a defender at the goal line for a 13-yard TD with 6:53 to go in the first quarter.

“Brandon’s just a pure athlete,” said Portland coach Jason McLeod. “He plays the game really well. He has a high IQ on both sides of the ball. I just set him loose and let him do what he does well, which is having the ball in his hands and flying to the ball defensively.”

This time, Vumpa made the extra point for a 13-0 advantage.

The Rams started their next drive at their 44 and after Aviles lost two yards (junior Xander Smith made the tackle), senior Charlie Benider broke free for 22 yards and a first down at the Portland 36.

That’s as good as it would get for Deering, however, as Smith sacked Tibbetts for a four-yard loss, junior Remijo Wani ran for a yard and after a false start penalty, Tibbetts twice threw incomplete, giving the Bulldogs the ball back at their 44 with 3:33 remaining in the first.

Nine seconds later, Portland struck again.

This time, the score came through the air, as Crosby dropped back and unleashed a beautiful long bomb to DiMillo, who got behind the defense. DiMillo hauled in the pass and crossed the goal line to complete the 56-yard score. Vumpa’s PAT made it 20-0.

“We have a lot of weapons,” Boyle said. “Kennedy, Aidan, me, Reegan, Nathan, you’ll see that.”

After a touchback, the Rams hoped to respond, but after a two-yard run by Tibbetts, Benider lost two yards and Tibbetts threw incomplete. On the play, a roughing the passer penalty gave Deering first down at its 35, but Wani was tackled by Boyle for no gain, Brewer sacked Wani for eight yards and Wani ran for a yard, bringing an end to the first quarter.

After a Portland offsides penalty, on the first snap of the second period, on fourth-and-12, Adriano-Muaco punted and the Bulldogs took over at their 47.

Crosby looked to strike again, but he was intercepted by Wani, who returned the ball 34 yards to the Portland 17.

But Deering couldn’t capitalize, as after Aviles ran for six yards, Brewer dropped Tibbetts for a three-yard loss and on the next snap, a bad snap put the ball on the ground and Esposito recovered it at the Bulldogs’ 17.

Portland began to drive again, as Boyle ran for eight yards, then for five more. After a false start penalty, Crosby threw a short pass to senior Nathan Isajar, who broke tackles and ran over a defender, good for 40 yards and a first down at the Rams 35. Buck ran for six yards, but Boyle lost a yard before Crosby threw the ball to the end zone, only to have it intercepted by Benider to end the threat.

Starting at its 20, Deering went three-and-out with Aviles being held to no gain by Boyle and senior Anthony Thach, Tibbetts running for two yards and Wani gaining one more.

The Bulldogs started their next drive at their 19 with 5:03 left before halftime and eight plays, 81 yards and 3:55 later, extended their lead.

An eight-yard run by Buck got things started and Boyle gained three yards for a first down. After a five-yard Boyle run, Buck picked up nine and a first down at the 44. Charles gained five yards and Crosby threw incomplete, but on third-and-5, Boyle broke free for 33 yards and a first down at the Rams 18. Boyle then got the ball again and ran to his left, got hemmed in along the sideline, eluded a couple defenders, raced back to his right, then outraced the defense to the far right pylon, easily running over 50 yards on the play but being credited for an 18-yard TD scamper with 1:08 to go. Vumpa added the extra point for a 27-0 lead.

After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, Deering started at its 35, but Brewer dropped Aviles for a three-yard loss and after a Portland offsides penalty, Aviles ran for three yards but fumbled and Boyle recovered at the Rams’ 40.

The Bulldogs had time for one more play, but Crosby was sacked.

In the first half, Portland outgained Deering, 209 yards to 6, but two turnovers and nine penalties for 89 yards prevented the Bulldogs from holding an even bigger advantage.

“The part I’m most frustrated about is that we got off to a fast start and then we got sloppy and didn’t play to our abilities,” McLeod said. “We got involved in some extracurricular stuff and we have to tighten that up in order for us to play week to week with our schedule.”

Portland got the ball to start the second half and drove for a score, but this time it was a field goal, not a touchdown.

Starting from their 37, the Bulldogs got a chunk play to start, as Crosby hit DiMillo for 24 yards, but a holding penalty negated 22 of it. On the next snap, Buck ran for 25 yards and a first down at the Rams 35. Boyle then broke free all the way to the 2, but again, a penalty wiped most of it away, as a block in the back call moved the ball back to the 24. After a four-yard run from Charles and an incomplete pass, Charles was held to two yards and Vumpa came on and booted a 37-yard field goal with 9:58 left in the third period for a 30-0 advantage.

Deering’s first possession of the second half resulted in a three-and-out, as sophomore Jack Caron ran for a yard, Wani picked up five, then Wani was held to no gain.

A 17-yard punt and a 37-yard return by DiMillo set Portland up at the Rams 10, but again, the Bulldogs had to settle for a field goal.

After Charles gained five yards, DiMillo ran for two, but on third-and-goal from the 3, Aviles dropped Charles for a six-yard loss. Vumpa then made a 25-yard field goal with 4:29 remaining for a 33-0 lead.

Starting from its 21, Deering again went three-and-out, as Wani ran for two yards, Aviles was dropped for a two-yard loss by Boyle and Newhall caught a pass for five yards.

With 1:46 left, Portland started from its 46 and in a six-play march that spanned the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth, added one final touchdown.

After Isajar caught a pass for a two-yard loss, Buck ran for eight yards and Boyle broke away for 32 yards and a first down at the Deering 16. On the first play of the fourth period, senior Franco Katunda ran for seven yards. Two plays later, Buck took the ball on a sweep left and raced into the end zone for a 10-yard score. Vumpa added the PAT and with 10:59 to go, the Bulldogs held a 40-0 lead.

With the clock running due to the mercy rule, the Rams embarked on their best drive of the game on their final opportunity, but couldn’t generate points.

Starting from its 28, Deering began inauspiciously with a four-yard loss by Wani, but Tibbetts threw a 16-yard pass to Caron for a first down at the 40. Adriano-Muaco ran for three yards, but Wani was dropped for a six-yard loss by Thach and after Portland jumped offsides, an incomplete pass set up fourth-and-8. Tibbetts then connected with Caron again for 18 yards and a first down at the Bulldogs 40. After Wani was held to no gain, freshman Santino Cavallaro gained one yard, Thach threw Adriano-Muaco for a five-yard loss, then the Rams punted the ball away.

Portland ran one more play and the clock ran out on its 40-0 victory.

“It’s always great to beat our rival,” McLeod said. “It’s been awhile. Regardless of how we played and what we need to tighten up, it’s always good to beat these guys. I thought we flew to the ball and did good things on defense.”

The Bulldogs gained 321 yards, led by Boyle, who ran for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 carries.

“I love my line,” Boyle said. “I say thank you to them after every play.”

Buck ran six times for 66 yards and a score.

Charles gained 14 yards and had a TD on six rushes.

Crosby completed 4-of-7 passes for 119 yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions.

DiMillo caught two balls for 81 yards and a score.

Isajar had two receptions for 38 yards.

Portland finished with 13 penalties for 143 yards.

Deering only mustered 45 yards of offense, turned the ball over twice and was penalized five times for 42 yards.

Wani completed 3-of-4 passes for 39 yards and ran eight times for 5 yards.

Tibbetts completed 1-of-4 attempts for 7 yards.

Aviles rushed seven times for negative-5 yards.

Caron caught two passes for 34 yards.

Newhall had two receptions for 12 yards.

Hardy was pleased with his team’s effort over 48 minutes.

“We definitely stepped up in the second quarter,” Hardy said. “A lot of teams would have just folded after their first three plays. I’m very proud of this young team for really buckling down and holding their ground. We have a lot of new guys in new places. There were positives.”

On to week three

Deering will try again to give Hardy his first victory next Friday at home versus 0-2 Massabesic.

“The lesson is that there are some positives that come out of a loss,” Hardy said. “We’ll watch film tomorrow. The Portland game’s behind us and we’ll see them Thanksgiving Day. Now, it’s on to Massabesic.”

Portland will look to improve to 3-0 when it welcomes Noble (2-0) in a battle of unbeatens.

“We just need to work as a team and not overthink things or complicate things,” Boyle said.

“Noble has a quarterback who can throw the ball around and he’ll give us fits,” McLeod said. “Their defense blitzes a lot and tries to pressure us. We’ll need to have a good week of practice.”

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

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