NORTH BERWICK — Noble High’s football team made too many mistakes. South Portland capitalized.

The Red Riots (3-3) turned a fumbled kick return, two interceptions and an errant punt snap into four touchdowns on the way to a 30-14 win, knocking off the No. 2 team in the Class B South Crabtree standings.

“I know we lost two in a row, we wanted to fight back and we wanted to get a win,” said South Portland senior quarterback Nate Rende. “I think this is just setting us in motion for an upward climb and we’re going to get back into it.”

Rende was key in making Noble pay for its miscues. He ran for a 2-yard score just two plays after Noble fumbled the opening kickoff and South Portland recovered at the 13. After rangy 6-foot-5 sophomore Gabriel Galarraga intercepted an errant Dylan Mulligan pass over the middle with 1:12 to play in the second quarter, Rende scored on the final play of the first half on a 15-yard scramble. Rende escaped a blitz, ran into wide-open territory and wasn’t met until the 2, where he powered in for 24-8 halftime lead.

“That felt great,” Rende said. “At first I was like, ‘Should I get out of bounds?’ and then I remembered there was only three seconds and I saw it was just one man and I knew I had to get him in the end zone here and I ran him over and got in.”

Rende completed 13 of 17 passes for 117 yards, with one interception. In the third quarter, he found 6-foot-4 target Nolan Hobbs on a 9-yard slant to push the lead to 30-8. That touchdown was set up by a botched punt, with South Portland taking over at the 10.

The Red Riots’ other touchdown, which gave them a 14-0 lead, was a 65-yard interception return by linebacker Ryan Thurber after he got his hands on a fourth-and-23 screen pass.

“I blitzed and I was supposed to get blocked by the (running) back, but he went out to the flat and that’s where the quarterback threw it. I got a hand on it and hit it right back to myself,” Thurber said.

South Portland lost to Class A Scarborough, three-time defending Class B state champ Marshwood, and last week to Kennebunk, 13-12, when a last-minute 2-point conversion attempt was stopped. South Portland hosts rival Portland, the No. 1 team in Class B South, next Saturday.

“It’s a big game. Of course it’s a big game. And (Portland is) good, so we’re excited to go play them,” South Portland Coach Aaron Filieo said.

Noble (4-2) has had only one winning season since 2005, and won just 16 games from 2007-17. With games remaining against Edward Little and Deering – two winless teams – a 6-2 finish is likely. And, when the Knights limited mistakes, they showed they are a competitive team. Anthony Prak rushed for 113 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown, on 21 carries, using quick, choppy steps to find gaps and finish runs with power. Receiver Caden Barish had five catches for 94 yards.

“South Portland is a very good team, but we made a lot of mistakes and it showed,” Blindow said. “We’re 4-2, we’ve got to learn from this. We have to watch film, get better, have a great week of practice, and then we have to go play Edward Little, a Class A football team.”


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