Several outstanding individual performances highlighted the first week of high school football in the state.
Two teams expected to challenge for the Class A championship this fall cruised to victories as Western Maine power Bonny Eagle defeated Westbrook, 36-0, and defending Eastern Maine champion Bangor blanked Skowhegan, 49-0.
Quarterback Matt Rollins paced Bonny Eagle with a pair of passing touchdowns while also rushing for 123 yards and a score. Bangor senior Josiah Hartley made a successful transition from wide receiver to tailback, rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns in his debut at that position.
In other standout performances, Collin Downs rushed for 176 yards on 15 carries and scored six touchdowns to lead Camden Hills to a 60-28 win against Nokomis. Both schools are recent additions to varsity competition in the state.
Cony quarterback Luke Duncklee led the Rams of Augusta to a 48-12 win over Mt. Ararat of Topsham. The senior, who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Maine to play baseball next year, rushed for 194 yards on 21 carries and scored four touchdowns. He also passed for 71 yards and a score.
Winthrop senior Ryan Conant rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Ramblers to a 54-18 win against Madison. In another Class C game, Jared McGreevey of Stearns passed for 167 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 110 yards and two more scores to lead the Minutemen to a 48-6 win over Mattanawcook.
In a couple of other key Class A games, Cheverus cruised past Gorham, 40-6, and South Portland upset defending state champion Windham, 13-6.
GAMES FOR A CURE
Four schools renewed longtime rivalries, one in preseason and another in the first week of the regular season.
Cony and Gardiner played a preseason exhibition as part of a Drive Out Cancer Challenge that also involved soccer and field hockey teams. The schools raised over $15,000 for the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta.
Cony won the game, 26-7, behind quarterback Luke Duncklee who passed for 146 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 158 yards and two scores.
With the win, the Rams lead the all-time series which began in 1892, 67-56-10. Next year, Cony is expected to drop a class and the teams will meet in the regular season.
Deering faced Portland in the first of two meetings this season. The two schools, both in Portland, play in the regular season as well as traditional game on Thanksgiving. Deering, which lost last Thanksgiving, 41-6, pulled out a last-second 21-14 victory. Quarterback Jamie Ross capped a 98-yard drive with 14.8 seconds left with a two-yard run to seal the win. Ross completed 11 of 23 passes for 166 yards.
Portland’s Imadhi Zagon had an outstanding game, rushing for 180 yards on 25 carries. He also completed a 92-yard touchdown pass.
In a series that began in 1908, Portland leads with a 53 wins, 37 losses and seven ties.
MAINE TEAMS HIT THE BIG TIME
Two Maine high school football teams are featured in a film entitled “The Rivals” which premieres Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. on the Smithsonian Channel.
The film documents the 2007 season of Class B rivals Cape Elizabeth and Mountain Valley, highlighting the differences between the two communities as well as the similarities between their teams and fans.
Mountain Valley is located in Rumford, a Western Maine mill town that has fallen on hard times. The team has been a contender for most of the past 20 seasons, winning six conference titles and two state championships. The Falcons added another state title in 2008 under longtime coach Jim Aylward.
Cape Elizabeth is a suburb of Portland and one of the state’s wealthiest communities. Although the program began in 2004, it has superior equipment and facilities to Mountain Valley. The teams quickly developed a rivalry by meeting in the playoffs, but the film is about much more than football.
The film was produced and directed by Kirk Wolfinger whose son played for the Capers. It debuted at the Maine Film Festival two years ago to rave reviews and has been shown at high schools around the state. Billed as a story of class, pride and perseverance, it contains much behind-the-scenes footage of practices, home life and locker room speeches from the teams during that season.
BONNY EAGLE FLYING HIGH
Maine football top 10 heading into Week 2:
1. Bonny Eagle
7. Mountain Valley