One upset and another near-upset marked the opening round of the Class A football playoffs last week.
In the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) quarterfinals, top-seeded Cheverus needed to rally for a pair of second-half touchdowns to defeat defending state champion Windham 34-27. The Stags trailed 27-14 before putting three touchdowns on the board, the first a 21 yard pass from Peter Gwilym to Louie DiStasio.
Evan Jendrasko evened the score with a 1-yard run and Gwilym completed the comeback with a scoring pass to Jack Bushey. Gwilym completed a 11 of 18 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns.
In other SMAA quarterfinal games, fifth-seeded Scarborough knocked off No. 4 Biddeford 48-14 and third-seeded Deering downed No. 5 Thornton Academy 56-18.
In the Pine Tree Conference quarterfinals, No. 8 Brunswick upset No. 1 Lawrence for the second year in a row, beating the Bulldogs 14-13 on their home field. The visiting Dragons trailed 13-0 before rallying for a pair of scores, the second a 34-yard option pass from Keith Kitchens to Donald Benbow.
In other PTC games, second-seeded Bangor shut out No. 7 Edward Little 16-0, fourth-seeded Lewiston topped No. 5 Messalonskee 42-13 and No. 3 Mt. Blue edged No. 6 Cony 20-12. Cony quarterback Luke Duncklee rushed for two touchdowns, giving him 18 for the season. The senior rushed for 1,201 yards this season and also passed for 1,512 yards and eight touchdowns. Over the past two seasons, Duncklee has accounted for 50 touchdowns, rushing and passing, and 4,805 total yards.
In Class B East, the top three seeds, Leavitt, Hampden and Gardiner all advanced while No. 5 Belfast stopped No. 4 Camden Hills 50-0. The Class B West playoffs get under way this week with unbeaten Mountain Valley hosting Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth at Wells.
The top three seeds also won in the Class C quarterfinals with the fifth seeds pulling off mild upsets.
Ten finalists for the annual James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, given annually to Maine’s top senior football player, will be announced following the playoffs. That number will be reduced to three in December through a vote of coaches and media and presented in January.
Four of the leading candidates are Cheverus quarterback Peter Gwilym, Deering quarterback Jamie Ross, Cony quarterback Luke Duncklee and Messalonskee running back Keenan Knox.
An award for the state’s top linemen has been added this year. The Annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards will be presented to players who epitomize the character, leadership, and perseverance of Gaziano. Recipients will be selected by an awards committee based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. It well be presented Jan. 23 at the Augusta Civic Center.
In SMAA semifinal games. No. 2 Bonny Eagle hosts No. 3 Deering. Bonny Eagle won the regular season matchup but the Rams had been playing well until last week’s lopsided loss to Cheverus. This week, Cheverus hosts Scarborough, a 7-1 team that won its first-ever playoff game last week. The teams did not play in the regular season.
Should the seedings hold up, SMAA fans will see a rematch between Bonny Eagle and Cheverus two weeks ago. Cheverus squeaked out 23-20 win based on the play of its special teams.
In the Pine Tree Conference, No. 8 Brunswick will try to make it two upsets in a row when it travels to No. 4 Lewiston, a 28-12 winner when the teams played during the regular season. No. 3 Mt. Blue faces a tougher task when its travels to No. 2 Bangor, a 39-6 winner in the regular season.
In Class C, No. 3 Winthrop looks to avenge a recent 14-6 loss to No. 2 Lisbon.
STAGS ON TOP IN TOP 10
2. Bonny Eagle
5. Mtn. Valley
SOCCER: STATE TITLES ON LINE
The matchups are set in all four classes for boys and girls state soccer championships Saturday. Games will be played on turf at Falmouth High School and Hampden Academy.
In Class A, the Western Maine champion Portland boys will take on East champ and No. 1 seed, Bangor. The West bracket was turned upside down when eighth-seeded Kennebunk upset No. 1 Scarborough in the opening round. The girls matchup features East champ Bangor against West champion Scarborough. Bangor knocked off previously unbeaten, defending state champion Brunswick in the regional final.
The Class B boys game pits a pair of unbeaten teams in East champ Ellsworth and West champion Yarmouth. Falmouth meets Caribou for the girls title.
In Class C, the North Yarmouth Academy boys face East champ Fort Kent.
NYA came in as the eighth seed and knocked off three teams including No. 1 Wiscasset. On the girls side, its Fort Kent against Sacopee Valley.
The Richmond boys and girls will both play for class d titles. The girls face Van Buren while the boys play Bangor Christian in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
SKOWHEGAN TAKES FIELD HOCKEY TITLE
Skowhegan completed an unbeaten season by blanking Cheverus 3-0 for the Class A state championship. The championship was the ninth in the past 10 years for the Indians. Coach Paula Doughty recorded her career victory during the playoffs.
In Class B, East champ Nokomis beat York 2-0 while North Yarmouth defeated Foxcroft 2-1 in penalty corners for the Class C title.
CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONS CROWNED
Championships were decided in four classes Saturday. In Class A it was the Scarborough boys and Cheverus girls; in Class B the John Bapst girls and Caribou girls; and in Class C the Merriconeag Waldorf girls and North Yarmouth boys.
Kennebunk junior Abbey Leonardi, who won the New England title as a freshman, posted the best overall girls time while Madison junior Matt McClintock was best among the boys.