STANDISH—Nick Thorne racked up four rushing TDs for Bonny Eagle on Friday night, Sept. 8, spearheading a huge, 55-7 win over rivals Windham. Thorne scored twice in the first quarter, once in the second quarter and once in the third. He didn’t reach the end zone in the fourth – but that’s probably only because the Scots found themselves up by enough after 36 minutes to sub in their second-stringers during the final 12.
“Definitely,” said Bonny Eagle head coach Kevin Cooper, asked if he was satisfied with the triumph. “I thought we played very, very physical tonight; and coming back, we gave up that touchdown on their first drive, to be able to shut them out the rest of the way, I thought was pretty nice. We didn’t punt the ball till we had our twos in the game, so definitely happy with our guys.”
Thorne didn’t go it alone against the Eagles, of course: The Scots’ other main runningback, Alex Sprague, gained huge yardage, and quarterback Connor Sirois both ran and threw like an ace. And then there was Bonny Eagle’s defense, which repelled most every Windham attack with seeming ease.
Thorne was quick to praise his teammates:
“People said last year that we had a very diverse backfield with Cam Day, but honestly, it hasn’t changed. Connor’s good at throwing and running, just as well as Cam was. So backfield’s pretty much stayed the same. And with Kordell (Menard) and Greg (Emerson) and Casey (Maturo) on the outside – you know, no one can stop Kordell on the fade-balls and skinnies and that stuff. (And) Christian Napolitano really stepped up this year, switching from runningback to slot-back.”
Zach Maturo returned the opening kickoff for Bonny Eagle Friday night, reaching the team’s own 32. From there, Sprague galloped for 19, Sirois connected with Casey Maturo for eight more, and so on and so forth. Midway through the drive, Windham succeeded in sacking Sirois for a hefty loss, 10 yards, but the Scots recovered quickly, and arrived at fourth and short on Windham’s 23 when Sirois found Napolitano over the top. After that, Thorne took over, powering up the middle all the way into the end zone. Napolitano added the extra point.
The Eagles promptly responded, however. Nazari Henderson returned the kickoff to Windham’s own 33; Stuart Salom then pushed for nine up the middle and QB Tanner Bernier connected with Grant Jacobson for a quick 10 and a first down. A few short Salom runs and a couple more pretty Bernier passes – another to Jacobson and one to Treva Valliere – advanced the team to first and goal at Bonny Eagle’s three. Valliere made mincemeat of the distance, and Hunter Coffin added the PAT. 7-7.
Given the speed with which the rivals scored on each other, it looked at first like the contest would end up a shoot-out. But Bonny Eagle took the action firmly in-hand after relinquishing Windham’s TD – the first the Scots had yet given up this season.
“We thought, going into the year, that our defense was pretty darn good,” Cooper said. “It took us a little bit of time to adjust to the speed of the game on that first drive – give Windham credit, they made a big play on fourth down – but after that, I mean, our defensive line was pretty good. They’re holding their gaps at the line of scrimmage. I thought our secondary played very well tonight.”
Thorne remarked on the defense as well: “We lost a huge filler with Parker Gammon, but Austin Mitsin’s stepped right up, and Alex Smith, and Zach Klein and Arlo (Pike) and me, we took it on ourselves to fill that void of having our two-year Captain gone. We call it the Iron Curtain up front, because nothing gets through. And our DBs, they’re trying their best and working hard and it proved tonight.”
Sirois and Sprague combined to lead the Scots offense upfield on their ensuing series, Sirois logging a 20-yard pass to Arlo Pike and an 18-yard run to reach first and goal at Windham’s three. Thorne with the scoring push and Napolitano with the PAT then ratcheted the scoreboard forward to 14-7.
Bonny Eagle forced a punt on Windham’s next drive, a ball Kordell Menard returned via a brilliant run – a juking, jumping, dodging route up the right side – to the Eagles’ 43-yard-line. Sirois then hit Menard for a 38-yard hookup, bringing up first and goal, before running the final five yards himself. Add in another Napolitano PAT, and the score stood 21-7.
Sprague (and Napolitano) soon made it 28-7 and Thorne (and Napolitano) made it 35-7 before the break arrived. After the break, Thorne went back to work, making it 41-7 with 4:29 to play in the third. Napolitano missed that PAT – his only miss of the night.
“There’s a lot of very, very good skill players on our offense,” Cooper said. “We’re able to spread the ball around. It seemed like Windham came in with a game plan to try to take Kordell out of the game as much as possible, but we’re able to mix it up with a little more quarterback-run than we had last week; we got a couple plays to Casey Maturo, who’s our other receiver. Christian Napolitano made a good catch on a big third-down play. So definitely a lot of offensive weapons that we have, and when we get it cranking, we’re pretty tough to stop.”
Thorne talked about the divvying-up of the Scots’ running duties: “Past years, I’ve kind of just been the down-and-dirty guy, and this year, personally, from being hurt so much, I tried to come in in the best shape I could. So really, now, this year, it’s a lot of, ‘you don’t know who’s getting it,’ and that’s what makes us so diverse.”
“Alex gets a lot of up-the-middle,” Thorne went on, “especially when I’m in there, because defenses – I come in there, and they’re already saying I’m getting the ball, so fake to me, Blondie gets a big – Alex gets a big run. Coop’s really good with messing with defenses’ heads with that. (Alex) gets all the outside runs, but we usually split the insides and middle-insides pretty well.”
Bonny Eagle would add two more TDs: Late in the third, Sprague broke a tackle in the middle of the field and escaped away for 70-plus yards and 48-7, and Zach Maturo tallied for 55-7 late in the fourth.
The last word goes to Sirois: “Our preparation, starting in film,” he said, asked what allowed the Scots to dominate such a tough opponent, “and then just continuing to execute and work hard every play. Gotta start off with credit to the offensive line; they worked hard all night and opened big lanes for two great runningbacks, Nick and Alex. And then Kordell made a great catch, and our defense just worked great as a whole.”
Through week two, the Scots have hashed over a hundred points – they battered Sanford 48-0 in their season-opener. They look experienced and disciplined already; no doubt they’re a contender for this year’s Class A crown.
But Scarborough and Thornton Academy are both posting ferocious victories of late as well, and stand in Bonny Eagle’s way. And that’s just the South; Windham, Cheverus and Portland in the North should never be counted out. None of those teams is flying particularly high at the moment – Windham’s now 1-1, as is Cheverus, while Portland is 0-2 – but they’re top programs and the autumn is young.
Bonny Eagle travels to Portland on Friday the 15th; they visit TA in week five and host Scarborough in week eight.
Windham welcomes Lewiston on the 15th. The Eagles typically smash the Devils quite handily, but Lewiston is actually sitting in first place at present, having won their first two contests.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Nick Thorne mic-drops the football after scoring the first of his four TDs vs. visiting Windham on Friday night.
Scots QB Connor Sirois runs a keeper behind blocker Alex Sprague.
Windham QB Tanner Bernier drops back.
Windham runner Stuart Salom stiffarms would-be Scots tackler Zach Maturo.
Aidan McGlone lines up at center for the Scots.
Bonny Eagle runningback Alex Sprague fends off Windham defender Justin Labrecque.
Bonny Eagle QB Connor Sirois hands off to trusty runningback Alex Sprague.
Windham offensive linemen Blake Colby (54) and Braxton Cassidy (71) set up before the snap.
Austin Mitsin charges forward for the Scots.