SCARBOROUGH—The Storm jumped out front of the visiting Scots early on Friday night, Nov. 2 – jumped out front and stayed there. Bonny Eagler Will Whyte logged a three-touchdown performance, but otherwise almost nothing went right for his boys, who trailed 49-7 at the half and ultimately succumbed 61-23.
“It’s always tough when you lose your last football game,” Bonny Eagle head coach Kevin Cooper said. “Because you’ve got to say goodbye to some great seniors. I just told them that I love coming to work each day because I get to see these guys in the afternoon. And now, none of us will be able to do that for about another nine months.”
The semifinals loss closed the Scots’ autumn at 5-4.
The game got away from Bonny Eagle almost from the get-go. It was both surprising – because the Scots played the Storm reasonably close at the end of the regular season – and unsurprising, because Scarborough is nothing if not explosive.
“Obviously we knew it was going to be hard to stop them,” Cooper said. “We knew we were going to have win, probably, a shoot-out game. And unfortunately, we hurt ourselves with some turnovers, which you can’t do against a good team like Scarborough. It’s hard enough to stop them as it is. When we give them easy, short fields after turning the ball over, then it makes it almost impossible.”
The very start of the dustup went the Scots’ way: Storm QB Chase Cleary missed a snap and Bonny Eagle snatched up the loose ball. But the Scots couldn’t capitalize on the takeaway, and before long, Scarborough was back in control.
The Storm put up two TDs in quick succession midway through the first quarter. Cleary scored the first on a short run, then hooked up with Jared Quintiliani to score the second on a 44-yard pass play. Zach Alofs hashed both extra points: 14-0.
Bonny Eagle then cut into Scarborough’s advantage: From first and 10 at the team’s own 14, Scot Zach Maturo carried them forward on a trio of runs – one went for 16 yards, and another for 17 – before Whyte broke away, zigzagged through the middle and broke away up the right side for a 47-yard rushing score. Whyte added the PAT as well: 14-7.
The next five notches all belonged to the Storm, however, and essentially secured them the W. Jarrett Flaker – notoriously The Fastest Kid in the State – tallied four of them, and Cleary the other. Alofs hit all five PATs.
“He’s a game-changer with what he presents on the football field,” Cooper said of Flaker. “He’s just hard to pin down: You think you have him, he changes directions, and then he’s out again. It makes it really hard for us to be able to stay where we need to stay. We think we have him contained in, but it looks like he might cut up, so we try to cut up with him and then he bounces back outside. Any player with that type of speed really changes the dynamics of the game.”
“They’re lucky enough to have him,” Cooper said of Flaker, a junior. “We’ve got to find a way to defend him again next year. We’ll go back to work, try to figure it all out.”
Beyond Scarborough’s strengths, the Scots’ own uncharacteristic missteps hurt them too. Bonny Eagle – typically well-disciplined – committed several turnovers. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort; our kids were trying,” Cooper said of his boys’ errors. “We didn’t mean to throw interceptions or not field kickoffs. It’s just that’s the way it happened tonight, unfortunately.”
Bonny Eagle did turn in a better second half than a first half, so their regrouping efforts during the break clearly made some difference.
“We just asked them to come out and play hard,” Cooper said of his halftime speech. “We always say we’re going to come out and play 48 minutes. Obviously we were pretty down, but our kids rallied at the beginning of the second half. We had a great drive, got a stop on defense. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convert after, on our next drive, to keep it going.”
Whyte earned his second TD of the night to begin the third quarter. From first and 10 at the Scots’ 40, Maturo, QBing for the team, connected on a couple passes – one to Nate Ferris and another to Keegan Meredith – and Meredith, also QBing, connected on a pass as well, this one to Shaun Brilliant. Whyte took over then, pushing on a handful of runs all the way into the Scarborough end zone.
Maturo ran for a successful two-point conversion, which brought the Scots close enough to the Storm, at 49-15, to suspend running-time rules. Those rules would kick back pretty soon, however, as Chase Cleary connected with Robert Cleary for a passing touchdown, then ran yet another Scarborough score. Whyte logged the night’s last points on a 17-yard run, but it was far too little, far too late. 61-23 the final.
“Will Whyte did what he did all year long, which was be our best player on the field,” Cooper said, asked about Whyte’s standout performance. “He plays hard, he runs hard, he gives great effort. I’m very fortunate to have the chance to coach him.”
Unsurprisingly, Bonny Eagle won their first five games of the season; unexpectedly, they dropped their last four. But the Scots faced, in that quartet of losses, Oxford Hills (who finished second in A North, and are slated to play No. 1 Portland in Nov. 9’s Regional Final), Thornton Academy (No. 1 in A South) and Scarborough (No. 2 in A South) twice consecutively. (TA and the Storm will vie for their own Regional crown, also on Nov. 9.)
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Cam Gardner returns a kickoff for the Scots.
Nate Ferris carries for the Scots.
On the run up the sideline, Scot Zach Maturo fends off a Scarborough opponent.
Will Whyte scored three TDs for the Scots on Friday night.
The Scots line up on offense.
Bonny Eagler Keegan Meredith reels in a pass from fellow QB Zach Maturo.