(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Falmouth football, Waynflete-NYA boys’ soccer and Cheverus-South Portland girls’ soccer game stories, see pressherald.com/forecaster/forecaster-sports/)

Fall sports debuted with a flourish last week, as local teams engaged in memorable games and hinted at even more excitement to come.

Here’s a recap:

Football

Cheverus’ Joe Osei blocks an extra point during Friday’s season-opening loss at Falmouth Carl D. Walsh / Portland Press Herald

Cheverus’ football team, the reigning eight-man large school state champion, has moved back to 11-man this fall, in Class C, and the Stags had a promising effort in their opener at Falmouth, a Class B North contender, Friday evening, but fell just shy of victory.

Cheverus struck first in the first quarter, when Matt Fogg blocked a punt and on the ensuing offensive play, Fogg scored on a 34-yard dash, but the two-point conversion attempt failed. The Stags then fell behind 13-6 and although Joe Osei scored on a 2-yard run just before the half, again Cheverus couldn’t score on the two-point attempt. The Navigators added a third quarter TD, but the Stags rallied in the fourth, driving 55 yards in nearly seven minutes to draw even, as Fogg caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gio St. Onge on fourth down and St. Onge added the two-point conversion pass to Nicholas Manning. Falmouth would answer, however, and score the winning touchdown with 1:49 left. The Stags had one final chance, but drove no further than the Navigators’ 44 and Falmouth prevailed, 26-20.

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Cheverus had 282 yards of offense and was penalized five times for 40 yards. St. Onge completed 5-of-14 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Fogg impressed with 103 yards and a TD on 16 rushes. He also caught three passes for 25 yards and a score. Osei ran 10 times for 21 yards and a touchdown. Rilan Smith gained 56 yards on eight rushes.

Three turnovers helped doom the Stags.

“We played with a lot of grit,” Cheverus coach Mike Vance said. “We just have to learn how to finish. We have a lot of inexperienced kids who are coming along quickly, but it wasn’t quite enough tonight. We played a lot of defense. They got outside a couple times on us and that hurt.”

The Stags play their home opener Saturday, when 0-1 Westbrook pays a visit. Cheverus won the most recent meeting, 54-12, in the 2019 regular season.

“No doubt we’ll build on this,” Vance said. “We saw a lot of good things tonight. Not enough to win, but a lot to build on. We’ll go back to the drawing board and work on things we didn’t do well. We’ve got high character kids. We’ll get better from here.”

Portland, which was undefeated until losing to Marshwood in the Class B South Final a year ago, got off to a fast start with a hard-fought 21-14 victory over Kennebunk, in a game played at Biddeford Saturday. The Bulldogs struck in the opening period, as quarterback Sam Esposito hit newcomer Remijo Wani for a 42-yard score. Kennedy Charles added a 16-yard run before the half to make it 13-0, but the Rams rallied for a 14-13 advantage heading to the fourth quarter. There, Portland went back on top to stay, when backup quarterback Louis Thurston found a wide open Charles for a 64-yard strike. Andrew Brewer forced a late turnover to clinch it and the Bulldogs improved to 1-0 with a 21-14 victory. Charles finished with 110 rushing yards and Brewer added 51, as well as eight tackles on defense.

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Portland hopes to keep its fast start going Friday when it hosts 1-0 Leavitt in the first-ever meeting between the schools.

Deering lost its opener, 57-0, at Massabesic in Leon Smith’s debut as coach. The Rams are at 0-1 Messalonskee Friday. The teams have never met.

Boys’ soccer

Waynflete senior Myles Culley sends a penalty kick past North Yarmouth Academy senior goalkeper Tanner Anctil for the first goal of the Flyers’ 6-0 season-opening victory last week. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team picked right up where it left off from last year’s title run, blanking visiting North Yarmouth Academy (6-0) and St. Dom’s (9-0) in its first two outings. The Flyers, the three-time reigning Class C champions, got four first half goals from Myles Culley against the Panthers, then Liam Anderson and Spencer Kline added second half tallies.

“It’s exciting stuff,” said Culley. “I had a tough injury last year, so it was amazing to get out here today. My mindset is to do whatever I can for the team. Score some goals, get some assists and get the team going.”

“We played a really challenging preseason and when you do that, you make some mistakes,” Waynflete coach Brandon Salway said. “We came into today not really knowing what to expect. We were far from perfect today, but Myles started the game in a great way. We’ve stressed putting the ball on frame and we did a good job of that and the end result is getting more goals.”

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In the victory over the Saints, Culley scored three more times, Jacob Woodman added a pair of goals and Kline, Matt Adey, Porter Beaule and Andrew Rogers all had one goal apiece. The Flyers are idle until Tuesday of next week, when they host Sacopee Valley.

“I think we’ll be really good again this year,” Culley said. “There’s a little bit of pressure, but we have experience and we can handle it. At times, we don’t move the ball as well as we should. We play a little too direct. Other times, more communication on the field will help us. We have to be up to par when we play the top Class B teams.”

“We only have 12 of these regular season games left and they’re all golden opportunities to get better,” Salway said. “We know everyone wants to be the team that beats us, so we have to be ready every game.”

Deering also started with a ‘W,’ blanking host Biddeford, 2-0. The Rams host Sanford Wednesday and welcome Windham Monday.

Portland opened with a hard-fought 1-0 loss at Scarborough in a battle of two top contenders. The Bulldogs surrendered the lone goal with just over five minutes left and couldn’t take advantage of their few chances.

“This was a playoff atmosphere,” said longtime Portland coach Rocco Frenzilli. “This was a microcosm of what our season will be like. I’m just proud of the way the kids competed. Scarborough’s a great team. Even after the goal, the kids came back.”

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The Bulldogs host reigning Class A champion Marshwood Wednesday, visit Noble Friday and welcome Biddeford Monday.

“We’re going to build on this,” Frenzilli said. “We just have to stay focused and play together and move the ball around. Now we get a chance to host the state champs. It’ll be fun.”

Cheverus started with a 4-1 setback at South Portland. James Baur scored the Stags’ lone goal. Cheverus looks to get in the win column Wednesday at home versus Gorham. Saturday, the Stags are at Bonny Eagle.

Girls’ soccer

Cheverus senior captain Maddie Hom, left, and senior Lily Hoyt sandwich a South Portland attacker during the Stags’ 5-0 season-opening victory Friday. Michael Hoffer/ For The Forecaster

On the girls’ side, Cheverus blanked visiting South Portland on Opening Day, 5-0, as freshman Rachel LaSalle scored twice and Finley Brown and Jillian Foley also scored, while the fifth goal came on an “own goal” off a corner kick from Sophia Monfa, that went in off the Red Riots defense.

“I’m really proud of the team,” said captain Reese Belanger. “We’re pretty young. We’re seeing what we can do. I’m glad we had a lead the whole game.”

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After going to Gorham for a playoff rematch Tuesday, the Stags host Bonny Eagle Thursday and visit Noble Tuesday of next week.

“Gorham and Bonny Eagle are two really good opponents,” Cheverus coach Craig Roberts said. “I’m not at a point where it makes sense to scout opponents. We have what we have to work on. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. The girls have a mentality of not using our youth as an excuse. They want to play for each other.”

Deering won its first game, 3-2, over visiting Biddeford, as Elsa Freeman, Grace Moreno and Shay Rosenthal all scored. The Rams were at Sanford Tuesday, go to defending Class A champion Windham Saturday and play at Marshwood Tuesday of next week.

Portland opened with an 8-1 home loss to preseason favorite Scarborough. Kate Martell scored the Bulldogs’ goal. Portland was at Marshwood Tuesday, hosts Noble Thursday and goes to Biddeford Saturday.

Waynflete shut out visiting St. Dom’s, 5-0, in its first game Saturday. The Flyers got three goals from Lucy Hart and one goal apiece from Lucy Olsen and Iris Stutzman. Waynflete is back in action Tuesday of next week, at Sacopee Valley.

Field hockey

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Cheverus’ field hockey team, the defending Class A state champion, roared out of the gate with an 8-0 home win over Thornton Academy. Taylor Tory scored four times and Lily Johnson and Lucy Johnson both rattled the cage twice. The Stags go to Windham Wednesday, host Bonny Eagle Friday and have a playoff rematch at Falmouth Tuesday of next week.

The Portland/Deering co-op squad started with a 3-1 setback at Massabesic. Leah Sigfridson scored the goal and goalie Emma Walsh made 23 saves. Portland/Deering welcomes Noble Tuesday, goes to Sanford Saturday and plays host to the South Portland/Westbrook co-op team Tuesday of next week.

Volleyball

Deering’s volleyball team started with a 3-1 victory at Thornton Academy. The Rams’ home opener was Tuesday versus Westbrook. Biddeford pays a visit Thursday.

Cheverus began with a 3-0 (13-25, 8-25, 13-25) home loss to South Portland. The Stags to go to Falmouth Wednesday, visit reigning Class A champion Scarborough Friday and travel to Sanford Tuesday of next week.

Portland was at Biddeford Tuesday and welcomes South Portland Saturday.

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Cross country

Portland’s boys’ cross country team, regional champions a year ago, opened by taking first place in a four-team meet last week at Sanford, which also included Deering and Scarborough. Bulldogs standout Nathan Blades had the top individual showing with a time of 15-minutes, 48.1 seconds. The Rams finished third. Asa Tussing was eighth individually (18:07.6).

The girls’ meet was won by Portland, as Samantha Moore led the way, placing first individually (19:46.8). Deering didn’t score as a team but did feature runner-up individual Iris McCain (21:09.7).

Cheverus hosted Biddeford, Massabesic and Noble. The boys were first and were led by Danny McCartney (third, 17:50.1). The girls didn’t score as a team and were paced by Delaney Whitmarsh, who had the third-best individual time (23:59.7).

Golf

On the links, Cheverus opened with an 11.5-1.5 win over Portland, then lost by the same score to Scarborough.

Portland followed up its season-opening setback to Cheverus with a 9-4 loss to South Portland.

Deering dropped its first two matches, 10.5-2.5 to South Portland and 13-0 to reigning Class A champion Falmouth.

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

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