BOX SCORE

Scarborough 49 Sanford 13

Sa- 7 0 0 6- 13
Sc- 6 29 7 7- 49

First quarter
Sa- Bisonnette 1 run (Pease kick)
Sc- Denbow 44 pass from Weed (kick failed)

Second quarter
Sc- Denbow 4 run (kick blocked)
Sc- Murray 32 pass from Weed (Weed pass to Fogarty)
Sc- Murray 14 pass from Weed (Weed rush)
Sc- Denbow 32 pass from Weed (Moore kick)

Third quarter
Sc- Murray 15 pass from Weed (Moore kick)

Fourth quarter
Sa- Bisonnette 1 run (kick failed)
Sc- Crockett 9 run (Moore kick)

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s football team couldn’t have asked for a worse start to Friday night’s key midseason showdown against Sanford at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex.

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For starters, the Red Storm allowed the Spartans to chew up over seven minutes on a 16-play game-opening drive, culminated by a one-yard plunge from bruising sophomore Jordan Bissonnette, to take a 7-0 lead.

Then, Scarborough, already playing without senior standout Jayden Flaker, sidelined with an upper body injury, lost senior quarterback Sam Rumelhart to an ankle injury on its first offensive series.

But instead of letting things deteriorate further, the Red Storm, behind junior backup QB Keegan Weed, went out and completely turned the game around.

And rolled to an emphatic victory.

Weed’s first pass was a quick screen to junior Griffin Denbow, who broke it for a 44-yard score and even though the extra point was no good, Scarborough was on its way.

Early in the second period, Denbow’s 4-yard touchdown run gave the Red Storm the lead for good.

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The rest of the first half belonged to Weed, who threw three more TD passes, 32- and 14-yard strikes to junior Charlie Murray and a 32-yard bomb to Denbow on fourth-and-10 just before the break to produce a decisive 35-7 advantage.

Weed then threw his fifth touchdown pass and his third to Murray, from 15-yards out, and after three quarters the score was 42-7.

Sanford refused to go quietly and momentarily stopped the 35-point mercy rule running clock when Bissonnette scored on a 1-yard run early in the fourth period, but junior Tim Crockett countered for Scarborough with a 9-yard scoring rush and the Red Storm went on to a 49-13 victory.

Weed threw for 204 yards and five TDs and for good measure, added 117 yards on the ground as the Red Storm won their third consecutive game and improved to 4-2 on season, while dropping the Spartans to 3-3.

“(Sanford) came out fired up, but I think our athletes and our conditioning took over,” said Scarborough coach Packy Malia. “Something we always pride on here at Scarborough is our conditioning. A lot of teams come in here fired up to play us since we’ve been top tier for awhile. We had to weather that storm.”

A win streak

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Scarborough started its season on a high note with a 40-3 victory at South Portland, then lost at home to reigning Class A champion Bonny Eagle (20-6) and at home to Bangor in a zany, stunning finish (37-36). The Red Storm turned things around with a 43-13 win at Edward Little, then held off visiting Cony last week, 21-14.

Sanford started with losses to arguably the two best teams in Class A, Thornton Academy (47-7) and Oxford Hills (43-0), then downed Edward Little (16-0), Biddeford (32-14) and Lewiston (27-24).

The teams last met in the 2019 season, a 28-0 Red Storm victory in Sanford.

Friday, on a 57-degree evening, Scarborough’s depth and athleticism were too much for the Spartans to counter.

Sanford won the opening coin toss and chose possession and beginning at its 25, slowly began to matriculate down the field to the tune of 16 plays and 7 minutes, 14 seconds before opening the scoring.

After sophomore quarterback Tanner McCann threw incomplete on first down, junior L.J. McFarland ran for eight yards. On third-and-2, sophomore Cam Suhy was held to just one by Red Storm senior Cam Freedman, but on fourth-and-1, Bissonnette’s first carry resulted in an 11-yard pickup and a first down at the 45. After Bissonnette ran for three, Suhy was held to no gain by juniors Isaac Glidden and Brady Clough, McCann hit McFarland for four yards to set up fourth-and-3, where Bissonnette got the call again and ran for seven yards and a first down at Scarborough’s 41. After Bissonnette gained one yard, Suhy ran for 11 and a late hit out of bounds transgression tacked on 15 more to the 14. Sophomore Makai Bougie picked up two yards, Suhy gained four and Bissonnette ran for three, again setting up fourth down, where again, Bissonnette moved the pile for two yards, setting up first-and-goal at the 3. Bissonnette got the ball again and was stopped just shy of the goal line at the 1, but with 4:38 to go in the first period, Bissonnette wouldn’t be stopped, bulling in from the 1 for the lead. Senior Parker Pease added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

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The Red Storm would answer, driving 70 yards in six plays at 2:50 for a touchdown, but it came at a price.

Denbow got things started with a three yard run before Rumelhart took off for six. On third-and-1, Rumelhart rolled right and hit Murray for 22  yards and a first down at Sanford’s 39. After a false start backed Scarborough up five yards, Bougie held Denbow to no gain and Rumelhart, who injured his ankle on his rush, threw incomplete, then had to leave the game.

Enter Weed, who started the Red Storm’s first three games when Rumelhart was also sidelined.

Before Weed could even feel nervous, he threw a quick screen to Denbow on third-and-15 and Denbow did the rest, eluding one tackler, turning the corner, then outracing the defense to the end zone for a 44-yard catch-and-run with 1:45 left in the opening stanza.

“I played the first three games and I had a great quarterback ahead of me who taught me and gave me good advice,” said Weed. “I was a little nervous at first, but that first play gave me a lot of confidence.”

“Sam missed the first three games, so Keegan got a lot of time and he’s pretty comfortable back there, more so than most backups because of all of the time he’s seen,” Malia said. “You hate to see your starting quarterback go down, especially since we just got him back.”

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Junior Andrew Moore’s extra point attempt was no good, but Scarborough was on the board and down by just one, 7-6.

The Spartans then played generous guests, turning the ball over on three straight plays, which would lead directly to three touchdowns to break the game open.

Sanford’s next drive began at its 29 and after McCann found freshman Ryley Watson for one yard and Suhy ran for two, a delay of game penalty backed the Spartans up five yards before McCann threw downfield where senior Ryan Kelly dove and intercepted the ball for the Red Storm at the Sanford 38 on the final play of the quarter.

Scarborough then needed just four plays and 80 seconds to march and take the lead for good.

After Denbow caught a pass for a modest yard on first down, Weed threw a quick slant to Kelly, who nearly broke it, racing all the way to the 1. A bad snap led to a loss of three yards, but with 10:40 to play in the first half, Denbow ran to his right, shook off one tackler, then beat the pursuit to the right corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Moore’s PAT was blocked, but the Red Storm were on top, 12-7.

The Spartans got the ball back at their 44, but on the first play, the ball was fumbled and senior Brady Reed recovered for Scarborough at the Sanford 41.

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This time, the Red Storm needed five plays and 2:21 before finding the end zone yet again.

Weed threw to Crockett for 10 yards on the first play, then he kept the ball for five yards. After Denbow lost a yard, Weed was sacked for a five-yard loss by senior Korbin Robertson, but on fourth-and-11, Weed lofted a rainbow down the right sideline where Murray ran it down for a 32-yard score with 8:04 to play in the half. This time, Scarborough went for the two-point conversion and Weed hit senior Quinn Fogarty to make it 20-7.

After a touchback, the Spartans started at their 20 and again, they gave the ball right back, as Suhy ran for seven yards but fumbled and senior Jack Simonton pounced on the loose ball at the Sanford 27.

The Red Storm would need just four plays and 1:39 to extend their lead, as Crockett caught a pass for 11 yards, Crockett ran for three yards, Denbow lost one, then Weed and Murray connected again from 14-yards out and with 6:18 to go before halftime, Scarborough was in the end zone again.

“I have a lot of trust in my receivers,” Weed said. “I know they’ll be there. It calms my nerves knowing I have receivers like that. I’ve grown up with Charlie Murray. That was just like the way we played in eighth grade.”

“Keegan did a good job making the right reads and getting the ball out of his hands, much better than he was early in the season,” said Malia. “We’ve got athletes out there to get the ball to.”

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This time, Weed kept the ball on the two-point rush and he bulled his way with a nice second effort for a commanding 28-7 advantage.

The Spartans avoided a turnover on their next possession, which began at their 12 after an illegal block in the back penalty on the return, but they couldn’t get back in the game.

After Bissonnette ran for six yards, then for seven to move the chains, a bad exchange led to a six-yard loss, Bissonnette ran for six yards, then he threw incomplete, forcing a punt.

With 4:02 remaining before halftime, the Red Storm got the ball back at their 45 and this time, needed seven plays and 2:03 to march 55 yards for another touchdown.

Murray was held to no gain on first down, then Weed threw incomplete, but on third-and-10, Weed kept the ball and picked up 23 yards to the Sanford 32. After a fumbled snap lost five yards, Weed twice threw incomplete. Scarborough was poised to punt, but when the Spartans were called for an illegal substitution, it set up fourth-and-10 from the 32 and Malia decided to go for it.

It turned out that fortune favored the bold, as Weed again threw deep where Denbow was waiting in the back of the end zone to haul in the 32-yard touchdown pass and after Moore added the PAT with 1:59 to go, the score was 35-7.

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Sanford got the ball one final time, but was content to run out the clock, as Bissonnette ran for eight yards, then picked up one yard before Crockett and Feedman dropped Suhy for a three-yard loss.

In the first 24 minutes, the Red Storm had 231 yard of offense to the Spartans’ 96.

Weed was superb, completing 8-of-11 passes for 180 yards and four touchdowns.

Scarborough got the ball to start the second half and for the first time, wouldn’t find the end zone.

The Red Storm started at their 41 and the drive began inauspiciously with a false start penalty, but Weed broke free for 45 yards and a first down at Sanford’s 19. Weed then threw incomplete and after Denbow ran for eight yards, a false start penalty backed Scarborough up five yards and after Weed ran for two yards, he threw incomplete into the end zone, where Kelly made a valiant diving attempt but couldn’t come up with the ball and the Red Storm gave up possession on downs.

The Spartans started at their 14 and again were bitten by the turnover bug.

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After Bissonnette ran for 12-yards, then for 10 more, he gained eight yards, but at the end of the play, he fumbled and Crockett recovered at the Sanford 44 with 9:20 to go in the third period.

This time, it took Scarborough seven plays and 2:46 to drive to paydirt and induce a mercy rule running clock.

Denbow got things started with a three-yard run, then Weed picked up 14 more and a first down at the 27. After an incomplete pass, Denbow ran for three yards, Weed hit Clough for two, then, on fourth-and-5, Weed scrambled right, drew a defender, then lofted a high pass to Denbow, who made a highlight-reel one-handed catch before getting his foot inbounds for seven yards and a first down at the 15. On the next play, Weed rolled right again, spotted Murray and Murray dove and caught the ball right at the goal line for the touchdown. Moore’s PAT made it 42-7 with 6:34 left in the third.

With the clock running, the Spartans took over at their 20 and in a 12-play drive which spanned the end of the third period and the start of the fourth quarter, would end the Red Storm’s 42-point run.

Suhy got things started with a six-yard run and Bissonnette picked up six more. After a false start penalty, Suhy ran for two yards, Bissonnette hit Bougie for two more, then on third-and-11, Bissonnette lofted a deep pass to the left, which McFarland caught for 30 yards and a first down at Scarborough’s 39. After an incomplete pass, Bissonnette kept the ball for 11 yards to the 28. After another incomplete pass, McFarland ran for three yards on the final play of the third quarter.

On the first snap of the fourth, McCann threw to Bissonnette for 18 yards and a first-and-goal at the 7. On the next play, Suhy got the handoff and ran for three yards before he was brought down by a hard tackle and didn’t get up. Play was stopped for 20 minutes as Suhy was tended to and eventually taken away by ambulance. On that play, a taunting penalty was called on Scarborough, setting up first-and-goal at the 1 when play resumed and Bissonnette capped the march with a 1-yard dive with 11:05 to go. Pease missed the extra point and the deficit was 42-13.

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The Red Storm then drove for one final score, marching 50 yards on six plays in 3:05.

After Murray returned the kickoff 30 yards to midfield, Denbow lost a yard, but he tried again and ran for 13 and a first down at Sanford’s 38. Weed then kept the ball for 28 yards, setting up first-and-goal at the 10. After Denbow lost a yard, then Denbow ran for two, it would be Crockett’s turn and he swept left into the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown run with 7:50 remaining. Moore’s extra point extended the lead to 49-13 and resumed the running clock.

Sanford started its last possession at its 34. After McCann was held to no gain, junior Cayden Rollins picked up two and sophomore Carter Mills ran for 11 yards and a first down at the 47. Junior Cooper Dean dropped sophomore Cole Lizotte for a one-yard loss, then a fumbled snap led to a loss of six more. After Lizotte gained one yard, Mills ran for seven, but the Spartans gave the ball up on downs.

Scarborough then got the ball back at the Sanford 48, but was content to run out the clock, as junior D’Angelo Alston ran for four yards, then sophomore Monty Russell gained three as the horn sounded and the Red Storm celebrated their 49-13 victory.

“This says Scarborough football is what we’ve always been,” Weed said. “Just because we lost two games doesn’t mean we’re out of it. We’re coming back stronger than ever.”

The Red Storm finished with 377 yards of offense, didn’t turn the ball over and were only penalized five times for 33 yards.

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Weed stole the show by completing 11-of-17 passes for 204 yards and a whopping five TDs. He ran six times for 117 yards.

Rumelhart was 1-of-2 passing in limited action, good for 22 yards. He also ran once for 6 yards.

Murray was the biggest receiving weapon, catching four balls, three for touchdowns, good for 83 yards.

Denbow was a dual threat with four receptions for 84 yards and two TDs and 13 rushes for 29 yards and another score.

Crockett ran twice for 12 yards and a touchdown and had two receptions for 21 yards.

Kelly had one catch for 36 yards and an interception on defense.

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Sanford gained 220 yards, but turned the ball over four times and was penalized three times for 15 yards.

Bissonnette led the way with 19 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He caught one pass for 18 yards and was 2-of-5 passing for 32 yards.

McCann completed 3-of-5 passes, good for 23 yards with one interception.

Suhy gained 33 yards on 10 carries before leaving with injury.

McFarland ran twice for 11 yards and had two receptions for 34 yards.

Down the stretch

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Sanford is home the next weeks versus Bangor and Windham, then closes the regular season at Bonny Eagle.

Scarborough, meanwhile, hopes to extend its win streak next Friday at Lewiston. The Red Storm then run a season-ending gauntlet, hosting Oxford Hills before closing at Thornton Academy.

“We’re looking forward to those tests,” Weed said. “They’ll show us where we’re at. I have full confidence we’ll show up with our best effort.”

“We’re getting better as we go,” said Malia. “Getting healthy will help for the end. It’s been tough. We really haven’t had our core group of guys on the field together at any point this season, but I see it as kind of positive where we’ve been able to build depth and make us a strong team down the stretch. We have a ton of seniors on the team, but not a lot of them have seen varsity time. We have to keep getting better. If we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we can hang with those teams. I’m excited for it.”

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

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