SOUTH BERWICK — Lots of size, improved speed and a bundle of seniors.

That’s a good start to having a strong high school football team, and the Sanford Spartans looked the part Friday in a 42-6 win at overmatched Marshwood.

“We have both speed and strength, and I just think we (come together) really well. We’re all a team. We’re a family,” said Jordan Bissonnette, a 6-1, 235-pound power back with nimble feet who scored the Spartans’ first two touchdowns and rushed for 70 yards on 12 carries.

“We have speed, strength, big dudes,” added Makai Bougie, a rangy senior defensive back who set up the first score with an interception and 44-yard return, then scored himself on his second interception of the first quarter, returning it 35 yards.

Sanford (3-0-1) also got a big game from junior Rhylen Avery, who brings the speed factor to the backfield. Avery gained 140 yards on just seven carries, highlighted by a 54-yard run off an inside reverse that sent the game to running time with 5:54 left in the third quarter.

Carter Mills (four carries, 37 yards) had a 9-yard rushing touchdown. Cameron Suhy, another power runner, scored on a 7-yard run and helped lead a controlling defensive line from his end position. Quarterback Tanner McCann played with confidence and completed 4 of 7 passes, with two other nice completions negated by penalty. Up front, Sanford boasts an offensive line that averages 254 pounds, with huge offensive tackles in Tucker Walker (6-4, 320) and PJ White (6-4, 299).


“I was concerned about that. They obviously had a good size advantage,” said Marshwood Coach Alex Rotsko.

Sanford, the only undefeated team in Class A South, bottled up Marshwood’s running game for most of the night. The lone score for the Class B Hawks (2-2) came on a 39-yard pass from Tyler Hussey to Brady Isabelle that cut their deficit to 21-6.

Next up for Sanford is a home game against Thornton Academy (2-2), which has had its way with Sanford in recent years and is coming off an impressive win over previously unbeaten Windham. The schedule doesn’t get any easier after that for the Spartans, with games at Class B South leader Kennebunk (4-0), at home against Bonny Eagle (3-1), and then at defending Class A champ Oxford Hills (3-0).

“Make no mistake about it, our schedule is a bear,” said Sanford Coach Mike Fallon. “Right now, we’ve got Thornton Academy next week. We’re going to focus on that. Hopefully that will go well for us, and there’s no secret through the years it hasn’t gone well for us. It hasn’t gone well for a lot of teams.”

Marshwood is still in a position to make noise in what appears to be a balanced Class B South division. The Hawks showed some flashes. Hussey, a junior, has a big arm at quarterback. Sophomore Cole Goodwin (42 yards) and junior Ryan Essex (49 yards) each had some good runs. But Rotsko said if the Hawks, winners of six Class B state titles from 2014-21 – are to improve significantly from last year’s 2-7 squad, they’ll need to show more grit.

“The message is, if somebody punches you in the mouth, you better punch them back or it’s going to be a long night. That’s basically what happened. It was embarrassing,” Rotsko said.


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