Bonny Eagler Cam Theberge posted a huge performance on Friday night, Nov. 11, adding more than one backbreaking play vs. visiting Scarborough. Theberge’s contributions included a critically timed INT as well as a kickoff-return TD and propelled the Scots to a 40-20 win over the Storm in the A South Regional Final.
“We really were expecting a close game,” said Scots head coach Kevin Cooper, asked how his boys managed to pull away in the end. “Scarborough’s been playing great; they’re well-coached, they’ve got some players that’re really good. We had some kids step up and make unreal plays when we needed them most. The interception by Cam Theberge and then the kickoff return – those plays were unreal.”
“This is our last home game, on this field,” said Nick Thorne, a critical component of the Scots’ run game, asked about his performance. “I’ve been here for three years with these seniors, and I really came out on the field emotions high, playing for these guys, especially No. 50, Parker Gammon – he’s my best friend. So that really pushed me to the limit.”
Theberge echoed Thorne about the motivation in playing his last home game. “I just wanted to come out with a bang, and that’s what we did, he said. ” I was really nervous, coming into this game. A lot of us were. We saw the TA game before. But we did good in practice this week and worked hard.”
Both teams took to the field looking defensively strong: Bonny Eagle halted Scarborough’s opening drive without giving up much territory, the Storm responded in kind and the Scots stood their guests up once more. Theberge then grabbed Cody Dudley’s punt, returning it to Bonny Eagle’s own 27.
“We worked hard all week on our run defense,” said Cooper. “Scarborough ran the ball very well against Thornton last week. (Owen) Garrard’s a tough back, they’ve got big guys up front. We really felt we needed to stop the run, and turn them more into a passing team – they’re good at that too, but we had to do that in order to be sucessful.”
After a heap of impressive defense on both sides, the teams traded several scoring drives in quick succession. From the Scots’ 27, running-back Alex Sprague added six up the middle and QB Cam Day added seven more. Thorne’s attempt at a powerhouse push lost a yard to an Anthony Griffin tackle, but Day then connected a short pass to Theberge, who dashed away up the right sideline, ditching Dudley at the last moment and sneaking across the goal line for a 59-yard Bonny Eagle TD. Perhaps because of strong winds, the Scots opted to try a 2-point conversion. They couldn’t reach the end zone, however. 6-0.
The Storm answered in short order. Aren Dickman covered Christian Napolitano’s kickoff for first and 10 at Scarborough’s own 35, then drove 10 yards up the middle to move the chains. Garrard dashed rightward for 15, shunting the Storm into Scots territory, and grabbed four more on his team’s next play. From second and six at the BE 36, Scarborough QB Zoltan Panyi volleyed a long-bomb up the center to Dudley, wide open after leaving his Scots defenders in the dust. Dudley reeled in the pass and crossed the goal line unimpeded. Emmett Peoples added the PAT and the Storm took the lead, 7-6.
Scarborough head coach Lance Johnson remarked on his team’s growth since they last faced Bonny Eagle, early in the regular season: “We have definitely changed quite a bit offensively since week two. We were able to use the run game to set up some shots down the field to Cody Dudley. We have become quite diverse on offense and are capable of moving the ball and scoring in multiple ways.”
The Storm, however, couldn’t keep hold of the advantage for long. Day grabbed three yards on a keeper up the middle from first and 10 at Bonny Eagle’s own 23, but Sprague followed him up with a slippery route through the center that exploded into a breakaway, 74-yard rush for the Scots’ second TD of the evening. Napolitano split the uprights and BE jumped back on top, 13-7.
The squads then returned to their defensive postures: Bonny Eagle’s Arlo Pike turned in a key tackle vs. Stormer Aren Dickman on Scarborough’s follow-up series to force a Storm punt, and Scarborough’s Reece Lagerquist kneecapped the Scots’ next drive when he sacked Day for a substantial loss. The back-and-forth burned off the remainder of the half, and the break arrived.
Bonny Eagle’s first drive, upon returning to the field for the third, ended in another punt. The Storm’s however, ended in catastrophe: Panyi hurled a pick. Theberge snatched the ball around the Scarborough 45 and carried it back to within inches of the Storm end zone. Thorne took over on first and goal, chugging a direct snap up the middle for the TD. Napolitano’s extra-point kick rang off the right goalpost and thus missed its mark – but the damage was done. The Scots were up now by two possessions, and the Storm were back on their heels.
Theberge described the interception in simple terms: “I was in deep coverage, I saw the ball, I went up for it,” he said. “We had great blocking on the field.”
The Bonny Eagle defense stood their ground once more on Scarborough’s next series, and stopped the Storm quickly. The Scots’ offense then spent most of the remainder of the third methodically inching from their own 33 all the way to Scarborough’s nine on runs by Sprague, Thorne and Day. Day iced the push with a nine-yard sling over the top to Kordell Menard in the Storm end zone. Napolitano then nailed the PAT. 26-7.
“We always try to run the ball first,” said Cooper of the Scots’ offensive play-calling. “Then try to mix in the pass. We thought we had a few things in the pass game: We just missed a couple of fade throws down the sidelines, and we felt we had to pass on that touchdown (to Menard). Cam made a great read. Really, the primary receiver was Alex Sprague, but Cam saw that we could get Kordell on an inside move and he slung it in there great.”
“We’re really diverse,” Thorne said, “between running and thrownig the ball. A lot of people think we’re mostly just a running team, but if you look at it, Kordell Menard and Cam Theberge are deep threats, short threats, and between me, Cam Day and Alex Sprague, it’s a triple threat (on the run) – you don’t know who’s getting the ball and we have three different types of running styles. And with the line making huge holes, it works.”
Thorne remarked on his own style: “I come in, thinking I’m going to do all the dirty work,” he said. “You know, on fourth downs: big boy, I can get hit. But coach calls a play where I’m going outside, I think about kicking the wheels on and show them that fat guys can run.”
Down three scores, Scarborough nevertheless continued to fight. With less than a minute to play in the third, Panyi and Dudley connected on a 55-yard pass TD that looked strikingly similar to the one they’d put together earlier. The maneuver cut the Storm’s deficit to 26-14. It also, perhaps, juiced their hopes – if only for a few seconds. Theberge ran back the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for an immediate riposte. 33-14, Bonny Eagle.
“Same thing,” Theberge said of the kickoff return, comparing his perspective on the field during that play to his perspective on the field the interception return. “We had great blocking on the field. I just turned on the jets.”
Johnson remarked on the Panyi-to-Dudley hookups, which the Storm coaching staff concocted specifically for the battle with the Scots: “The first touchdown to Dudley was a deep shot off play action out of a two-back set,” Johnson said. “The second score was a shot down the middle out of an empty set with no backs in the backfield. Both of these plays we designed off film review of Bonny Eagle.”
Each side added one more TD before the night concluded, Scarborough’s an eight-yard, Panyi-to-Lagerquist strike, and the Scots’ a one-yard Day run. In the end, Bonny Eagle simply overmatched their guests. 40-20 the final.
“With all our running backs, we were able to pick up the yards we needed to to sustain drives,” Cooper said. “For our offense to really hold onto the ball on that last drive, get in the end zone – that took a lot of time off the clock, really kind of iced it.”
No. 3 Scarborough retires till 2017 at 8-3. Besides dropping the regular-season matchup with Bonny Eagle, the Storm also succumbed to Thornton in week five, 34-19. Scarborough opened their run through the bracketing with a 42-6 crushing of South Portland in the quarters, then reversed their earlier fortunes vs. the Trojans, upsetting them 36-29 in the semis to earn Friday night’s shot at the Scots.
Johnson reflected on 2016, saying: “It is a little hard right now to be real happy with the season. I really thought we had a great chance to win these last two games and win a state championship. I certainly am very proud of our seniors and how they prepared and played this season. In time I am sure I will look back on the season as a major turning point for our program.”
No. 1 Bonny Eagle jumped to 10-0 in 2016. The Scots ran the regular-season table to enter the playoffs with a bye through the quarterfinals. They battered Sanford 42-13 in the semis to earn their shot at the Storm in the Final. They face Portland on Saturday, No. 19 in the State Championship.
Theberge eagerly anticipates the opportunity to vie for the crown. Bonny Eagle last won States in in 2013, when he was a freshman and not part of the varsity squad that year. “I got pulled up, but decided not to stay up with them,” he said. “And they won the gold ball. It’s friggin’ exciting, dude. I just can’t wait for it. I hope we win. Get that ring and get that gold ball.”
Scarborough’s Cody Dudley directs a tackle at Bonny Eagle runner Nick Thorne.
Flanked by blockers Nick Thorne, left, and Zach Klein, right, Bonny Eagle QB Cam Day receives the snap.
Cody Dudley, charging ahead, looks back as an incoming ball makes it way toward his waiting hands.
Scarborough’s Aren Dickman cuts through coverage on the run.
Stormers Reece Lagerquist (83) and Anthony Simoneau (30) wrap up Scots runner Nick Thorne.
Bonny Eagle lineman Matt Silverman gets set before the play.
Bonny Eagle’s Cam Theberge looks back for a pass; Stormer Jeremy Sendrowski zooms in on the coverage.
Bonny Eagle’s Alex Sprague cuts through midfield on the run.
Bonny Eagle’s Cam Theberge returns his mid-game INT up the right sideline.
Scarborough’s Reece Lagerquist latches onto Scot Keith Hoffses, driving him out of bounds.
The Bonny Eagle Captains – Parker Gammon, Cam Day, Keith Hoffses, Arlo Pike – show off their new hardware after Friday night’s win over Scarborough in the A South Final.
A satisfied Christian Tripp, standing triumphant with his fellow Scots, apparently realizes he’s on camera.
Scarborough’s Owen Garrard leads his boys through the post-game handshake line. Drew LeClair follows behind him, emotion showing on his face.
Bonny Eagle QB Cam Day breaks away on a keeper run, wearing Scarborough defender Eric Quirk like a cape.
Scarborough’s Cody Dudley reels in one of several impressive catches – two of which, including this one, led to Storm TDs.
Jeremy Sendrowski, carrying for Scarborough, tries to shake Bonny Eagler Christian Napolitano.
Bonny Eagle QB Cam Day unwinds into a long throw.
The Scots’ Nick Thorne dashes nimbly up the sideline.
Scarborough QB Zoltan Panyi runs a keeper.