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Scarborough edges Marshwood in interclass thriller


BOX SCORE

Scarborough 29 Marshwood 28

M- 7 7 0 14- 28
S- 7 7 8 7- 29

First quarter
M- Poe 45 run (K. Cougler kick)
S- Crockett 3 run (Wandell kick)

Second quarter
M- T. Cougler 46 run (K. Cougler kick)
S- Murray 38 pass from Alston (Wandell kick)

Third quarter
S- Crockett 3 run (Crockett rush)

Fourth quarter
S- Crockett 1 run (Wandell kick)
M- T. Cougler 7 run (Poe rush)
M- Ryan 8 run (kick blocked)

SCARBOROUGH—Two weeks ago, Scarborough’s football team wasn’t able to rise off the deck when it fell behind in its home opener.

Friday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex was a completely different story.

And as a result, the Red Storm earned a pivotal victory in a thrilling interclass showdown against four-time reigning Class B champion Marshwood.

The Hawks marched the field to start the game and went ahead 7-0 on a 45-yard touchdown burst from junior Emmanuel Poe, but Scarborough roared right back.

After a long run from senior Griffin Denbow, senior Tim Crockett hinted at a huge night to come with a 3-yard TD run to tie it up.

Two plays in the second period, Marshwood took the lead again, as senior Ty Cougler broke away for a 46-yard score, but again, the Red Storm countered as senior quarterback De’Angelo Alston hit senior Charlie Murray for an electric 38-yard touchdown pass to even things up again, 14-14.

Scarborough would get the ball to begin the second half and went ahead to stay when Crockett scored on a 3-yard run and he added the two-point conversion rush and the Red Storm took a 22-14 lead to the fourth period.

There, Crockett scored his third touchdown, from a yard out, six seconds in, but Scarborough wasn’t home free just yet.

The Hawks answered like the champions there are, pulling within seven when Cougler scored on a 7-yard run and Poe added the two-point conversion rush.

Then, with 2:50 to play, sophomore Andrew Ryan, on his lone touch of the night, scored from 8-yards out to pull Marshwood within one.

The Hawks couldn’t pull even, however, as Crockett blocked the ensuing extra point and while they would have one last chance, a final desperation heave from sophomore quarterback Cullen St. Cyr was intercepted by Red Storm senior Tom Hassett and Scarborough held on for a palpitating 29-28 victory.

The Red Storm won their second game in a row, beat Marshwood for the first time in a dozen years, improved to 2-1 and in the process, dropped the Hawks to 1-2.

“It’s not the way we drew it up, but I’m proud of the way our guys fought,” said Scarborough coach Packy Malia. “It’s a rare thing these days to see guys fight back when they fall behind. This is very good for us. A lot of people were talking when the schedule came out and said we’d be lucky to win one of our first three games, but we’ve come out 2-1, so I’m pretty happy.”

Pivotal week

With both teams entering play with a record of 1-1, the prospect of falling below .500 with the midway point of the season nearing made for urgency.

Marshwood, which surged late a year ago and went on to win yet another Class B Gold Ball, opened the 2022 campaign with a 35-26 loss at South Portland. Last week, the Hawks got back on track with a 40-20 home victory over Noble.

Scarborough was blanked at home by reigning Class A champion Thornton Academy (35-0) in its first outing, then responded in impressive fashion last week, rallying to down host Bonny Eagle, 33-21.

The teams hadn’t met since Oct. 15, 2010, a 27-14 Red Storm victory in South Berwick. Marshwood had won the previous five meetings, beating Scarborough every season between 2005-09.

Friday, on a comfortable mid-September evening (63 degrees at kickoff dropping into the mid-50s), the two talented teams went back and forth, but the Red Storm did just enough to escape.

By a single point.

The Hawks got possession to start the game and beginning at their 22, drove 78 yards in just six plays, chewing up 2 minutes, 29 seconds, to take the lead.

Senior Kevin Cougler gained just two yards on first down, then Marshwood got its engine rolling, as Poe picked up 15 yards on a sweep to the left for a first down at the 39. After Kevin Cougler ran for seven yards, Poe picked up six for a first down at the Scarborough 48. After the Hawks were backed up five yards for a false start, St. Cyr hit Ty Cougler for eight yards, then Poe got the ball and broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run. With 9:21 left in the opening stanza, Kevin Cougler added the extra point and Marshwood had a 7-0 lead and had made an immediate statement.

One that the Red Storm promptly matched.

Scarborough started at its 27 and in just five pays and 2:35, drove 73 yards to pull even.

The drive began inauspiciously with a false start penalty, but after Denbow ran for two yards, Alston hit Crockett for nine yards on a slant and on third-and-4, Denbow took a pitch, ran right and broke free down the right sideline. He couldn’t quite reach the end zone, as Kevin Cougler took him down from behind, but his 63-yard scamper put the ball at the Hawks’ 4. After Denbow gained a yard, Crockett came in to run out of the ‘Wildcat’ formation and he kept the snap and bulled in for a 3-yard score with 6:39 remaining in the quarter. Junior Caleb Wandell added the extra point to make the score 7-7.

Marshwood took over at its 32 and began to drive again, but this time, would be denied.

After Poe ran for seven yards, Kevin Cougler moved the chains to midfield with an 11-yard run. Poe picked up six more yards and Kevin Cougler ran for 13 for a first down at the Scarborough 31, but after a fumbled exchange led to a loss of three yards, St. Cyr threw incomplete and after a false start penalty, St. Cyr threw incomplete again, forcing a punt.

The Red Storm started their second series at their 10 and also threatened to drive for another score, as Denbow ran for two yards, Murray picked up 13 yards on his first touch, Alston hit Crockett, who fought his way for nine yards, Denbow ran for 15 yards and Crockett caught another short pass and broke a tackle en route to a 12-yard gain, setting up first down at the Hawks’ 39. After Denbow was held to a two-yard gain, Alston twice threw incomplete, setting up fourth down. Malia opted to go for it and it nearly paid six points worth of dividends, but Alston just overthrew an open Murray in the end zone, giving Marshwood the ball back on downs at its 37.

In a drive that spanned the end of the first period and the start of the second, the Hawks moved 63 yards to paydirt on just four plays in 93 seconds.

After a holding penalty pushed it back, Marshwood got a seven yard run from Poe and a 15-yard burst from Ty Cougler for a first down at the 48. On the first play of the second quarter, Kevin Cougler ran for six yards, then Ty Cougler swept right, turned the corner and outran the pursuit down the right sideline for a 46-yard score. Kevin Cougler added the PAT with 11:10 to go in the half and the Hawks had a 14-7 advantage.

But they didn’t hold it, as Scarborough needed just four plays and 78 seconds to march 54 yards.

After a nice kickoff return from Murray set them up four yards shy of midfield, the Red Storm began in less than ideal fashion as Denbow was dropped for a one-yard loss by sophomore Jesse Jacques and suffered a leg injury on the play. After an incomplete pass set up third-and-11, Alston threw over the middle where senior Keegan Weed made a nice leaping catch good for 17 yards and a first down at Marshwood’s 38. Alston then hit Murray over the middle and after he broke two tackles, he spun out of a third and ran into the end zone to complete a highlight reel 38-yard catch and run. Wandell’s extra point tied the game, 14-14, with 9:44 to go before halftime.

The Hawks got the ball back at their 22 and promptly began to march again, but this time, they’d be forced to punt.

After Kevin Cougler ran for eight yards and Poe gained 10, Kevin Cougler ran for nine yards, then two for a first down at Scarborough’s 49. Crockett then dropped Poe for a three-yard loss and St. Cyr threw incomplete before junior Ben Santisi caught a pass for just three yards on third-and-13. Kevin Cougler and his special teams partners then came up with a sensational play. Cougler’s punt hit at the 10 and appeared bound for the end zone for a touchback, but Ty Cougler came out of nowhere to save the ball at the last second and sophomore Deshawn Toussaint downed it inside the Red Storm 1.

Scarborough could go nowhere as the hobbled Denbow, in his final action of the night, picked up one yard, was held to no gain, then was dropped for a loss of a yard to force a punt.

Hassett then came up with his first huge play of the game, unleashing a terrific boot of his own, a 52-yarder, preventing Marshwood from starting in Red Storm territory.

Instead, the Hawks began at their 47 and threatened to break the tie, as Ty Cougler and Kevin Cougler each picked up four yards and on third-and-2, St. Cyr moved the chains to the Scarborough 41 with a four-yard run of his own. After Poe ran for seven yards, then five, good for a first down at the 29, Kevin Cougler moved the ball four yards closer, but on second-and-6, St. Cyr tried to throw deep only to be intercepted in the end zone by Murray.

With 54 seconds to go before the break, the Red Storm tried to drive and after Alston connected with senior Joel Nji and threw incomplete, he hit Murray for 30 yards to the Marshwood 44. But after Alston just missed hitting Hassett for a touchdown (freshman Brady Isabelle broke up the play at the last instant), Alston was intercepted by a diving Ty Cougler at the Hawks’ 25.

Marshwood took a knee and the clock ran out on an even first half.

Scarborough had a 216-190 edge in yardage in the first 24 minutes and would take the second half kickoff and drive for the go-ahead score.

Beginning at their 38, the Red Storm needed eight plays and 3:55 to find the end zone.

An eight-yard Alston-to-Murray pass got things started. After Nji ran for four yards, Scarborough got some good fortune as Hassett caught a pass, then was stripped of the ball, but Murray was Charlie on the spot as he not only recovered it, but after scooping it up, ran for nearly 30 additional yards, setting up first down at the Hawks’ 23. After Weed failed to haul in an Alston pass in the end zone, Weed went in the Wildcat formation, kept the ball and gained 17 yards to set up first-and-goal at the 6. After Crockett ran for three yards, he got another chance and culminated the drive by rolling left and scoring untouched from the 3.

“I love running the Wildcat,” Crockett said. “I just enjoy being an athlete out on the field with my teammates. It’s really fun.”

After Marshwood jumped offsides on the ensuing extra point, on a play that loomed huge, Malia opted to go for two and Crockett scored on the rush to make the score 22-14.

A holding penalty on the ensuing kickoff forced the Hawks to start from their 10 and despite some initial success, they couldn’t answer.

After Scarborough jumped offsides, Kevin Cougler moved the chains with a seven yard run. The Red Storm jumped offsides, but Marshwood then committed a five-yard false start penalty before Poe ran for four yards, then for two. On third-and-4, Kevin Cougler ran for five and a first down at the 34. After Ty Cougler gained five yards, Crockett threw Ty Cougler for a three-yard loss. On third-and-8, Kevin Coughler caught a pass for 16 yards, then fumbled but was bailed out by sophomore Shane Waterman, who recovered at Scarborough’s 49. A holding penalty negated a nice run from Poe, then St. Cyr threw incomplete. After a 10-yard run by Poe, St. Cyr threw incomplete on third down, then again on fourth and the Red Storm got the ball back at their 45 with 3:01 remaining in the quarter.

In a drive that would chew up 55 yards on seven plays in 3:07, Scarborough embarked on another scoring march.

Murray got things started with a short four-yard run, but on the play, an illegal hit to the head penalty tacked on 15 yards to the Hawks’ 36. Alston then hit Weed for 23 yards to the 13. After Nji ran for four yards, Alston threw incomplete (Crockett almost made a ridiculous one-handed snag) and Murray moved the chains with a seven yard pickup. Marshwood twice jumped offsides to put the ball inches away from the goal line and on the final play of quarter number three, Crockett was stopped just short.

He wouldn’t be denied, however, on the first play of the fourth period, faking like he was dropping back to pass before rushing into the end zone with 11:54 remaining. Wandell’s extra point put the Red Storm ahead, 29-14.

But the Hawks were far from finished and in a drive that traversed 64 yards in just five plays and 1:41, they got right back in the game.

Poe gained five yards on first down, St. Cyr hit Ty Cougler for 11 into Scarborough territory and after Poe gained 11 yards, Kevin Cougler broke free for 30 up the gut, setting up first-and-goal from the 7. Ty Cougler did the rest, breaking free to the right and scoring with 10:03 on the clock. Marshwood went for two and Poe got the job done, scoring on a rush to make the score 29-22.

The Red Storm had good field position to start their next drive, starting from their 38, but they couldn’t put it away. After Nji ran for a yard and Alston threw incomplete, Crockett made a terrific leaping catch on third-and-9, good for 15 yards and a first down a the Hawks’ 46. Murray ran for eight yards and Hassett caught a pass for two yards, moving the chains to the 36. Alston then twice threw incomplete and on third-and-10, he was intercepted, as Kevin Cougler hit Crockett when the ball arrived on a slant and senior Riley Parnham caught the deflection for an interception at the Marshwood 24.

The Hawks couldn’t take advantage of their good fortune, however, as after a holding penalty negated a nice Ty Cougler gain, Kevin Cougler broke free for 18 yards, but he fumbled while being tackled and Murray recovered at Scarborough’s 47.

“We’re a little shaky on defense, but we do create a lot of turnovers,” Malia said. “I think we’re in double digit turnovers in three games. They’re ball-hawks out there and make plays when it counts.”

The Red Storm took over with 6:36 to play and tried to milk the clock, but ultimately, were unsuccessful.

After Crockett caught a pass for eight yards and Murray gained five more to move the chains, Alston threw incomplete, Weed only ran for one and Alston threw incomplete again. After an offsides penalty set up fourth-and-4 from the Marshwood 34, Scarborough went for it, but Alston threw incomplete.

The Hawks got the ball back with 4:31 left and in just four plays and 1:41 drove right back down the field.

Poe got things started with a five yard run. Ty Cougler then nearly took the ball to the house, breaking tackles, then busting free for 51 yards to set up first-and-goal from the Red Storm 10. After Poe gained two yards, Ryan got the ball and slipped through the defense into the end zone for the 8-yard score and with 2:50 to play, Marshwood was within a point.

This time the Hawks opted for the extra point that would have tied the game, but after yet another false start penalty moved the ball back five yards, Kevin Cougler’s PAT attempt never had a chance as Crockett bulled through the line, leaped into the air and blocked it, keeping Scarborough ahead by a single point, 29-28.

“We talked about it in practice and I just saw that the snapper was low and I just made a play,” Crockett said.

“I was ready for an overtime game, but we blocked it,” Murray said. “Timmy’s great. He’s stepped up in a big way this year. That block was a game-sealer.”

The Red Storm started their final series from their 19 with 2:46 remaining and weren’t able to salt the win away. Crockett ran for 18 yards and Murray gained 24 more to the Marshwood 39, but a blindside block penalty cost the hosts 19 yards and after Crockett ran for three yards, then hit Murray for seven more, Malia had Crockett catch the Hawks off guard with a quick pooch punt that died at Marshwood’s 8.

The Hawks had 58.5 seconds and one timeout to work with and quickly drove into Scarborough territory.

A 22-yard run by Ty Cougler, coupled with a facemask penalty, put the ball at the 45. St. Cyr then found Santisi for 11 more and a first down at the Red Storm 44. St. Cyr then had to throw the ball away under pressure. On second-and-10, St. Cyr connected with Poe for six yards to the 38 and that left time for one final play.

With the Scarborough secondary playing deep, St. Cyr threw the ball over the middle and hoped for a miracle, but Hassett was there to pick the ball off and on the play, time ran out and Scarborough was able to celebrate its 29-28 victory.

 

Senior Tom Hassett’s interception on the game’s final play sets off a Scarborough victory celebration. Hoffer photo.

“We just made sure no one got behind us,” Murray said. “Tommy stepped up and made the big play for us. It’s so much fun. Marshwood was a big test. It’s a great win for us. We have a lot of faith in DJ (Alston). Our O line has no quit and our receivers have no quit. That made us the better football team tonight.”

“It was tough at the end,” Crockett said. “They have a good offense. They get the edge well, they have some fast kids, but we did what we had to do. Our team has a lot of fight. We were tied at Bonny Eagle at half and we had the same kind of energy tonight in the locker room at the half and came out and put it away. I’m really proud of the team.”

“We try to put it on our best players and they stepped up and made big plays when it counted,” Malia added. “We expected Marshwood would be difficult to stop. They’re good at that wing-T offense. That’s a tough offense to play against. We hadn’t coached against that offense in a lot of years. It’s not something a lot of Class A teams are running. They’re very well coached and they get better week to week.”

The Red Storm finished with 411 yards of offense.

Crockett excelled with three TDs and 31 yards on just six rushes. He also caught five passes for 53 yards and completed a pass for seven yards.

Alston wound up 13-of-28 passing, good for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Murray had four catches for 83 yards and a score and ran seven times for 79 yards.

Denbow, despite his limited time, ran for 84 yards on 10 attempts.

Weed had two receptions for 40 yards and ran twice for 18 yards.

Hassett had two catches for 11 yards.

Nji ran four times for nine yards and had one reception for six yards.

Scarborough turned the ball over twice and committed six penalties for 59 yards.

“We’re still making a lot of mistakes offensively,” Malia said. “I don’t think anybody can really stop us, other than ourselves. We had penalties and dropped passes tonight.”

Marshwood wound up with 444 yards of offense, but was doomed by three turnovers and an uncharacteristic 15 penalties for 84 yards.

“Self inflicted wounds were a huge difference,” lamented Hawks coach Alex Rotsko. “Turnovers and penalties. If we had one turnover, we’d win the game I think. Two we probably win the game. I don’t think our effort was bad, but our focus was really poor. You can’t jump offsides as many times as we did.”

Ty Cougler wound up rushing nine times for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 19 yards.

Kevin Cougler gained 102 yards on 13 rushes and had one catch for 16 yards.

Poe ran 17 times for 135 yards with a TD. He also had one reception for six yards.

St. Cyr wound up 6-of-13 for 54 yards with two interceptions.

Ryan scored an 8-yard touchdown on his lone rush.

Santisi had two catches for 13 yards.

Continued growth

Marshwood returns home next Friday to welcome 2-1 Massabesic, which upset previously undefeated South Portland in its game Friday.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but I think we’re getting better each week,” said Rotsko.

Scarborough, meanwhile, travels to 1-1 Lewiston.

“This gives us a lot of momentum heading into Lewiston, beating two of the best teams we’ll play this year,” Murray said. “Watch out for Scarborough.”

“This gives us so much confidence,” said Crockett. “We’ll feed off this and come back next week and practice, then it’s on to Lewiston.”

“We obviously we need to shore some things up defensively,” Malia added. “We still have to have more consistency on offense.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.