The Scots scored on their final drive of the first half, then again on each of their first four drives of the second half to roll past Portland 34-14 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Bonny Eagle senior quarterback Cam Day reached across the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown with less than a minute to play in the first half, cutting the Scots’ deficit to 7-6.

“We went back to the locker room and we made a lot of adjustments with our linemen,” Day said. “We started opening up those holes, the running backs started getting through, I started getting through on some big runs, and after that it was over.”

Day completed a fourth-down pass to Kordell Menard for a 13-yard touchdown to open the second half for Bonny Eagle. Alex Sprague ran for a touchdown, and Nick Thorne ran for two more before the Scots were able to kneel out the clock on their final drive.

The key was getting touch yards behind the left side of the offensive line, featuring tackle Zach Klein, guard Matt Silverman and center Parker Gammon.

“Our left tackle, Zach Klein, is a pretty darn good player,” Bonny Eagle coach Kevin Cooper said. “We think he’s as good a blocker as there is in our league. We’ve been kind of like that all year. When we’ve needed some key yards, we go left behind Zach Klein.”

Advertisement

The Scots ran for 155 yards in the second half, and there was little the Bulldogs (9-2) could do to stop them.

“They’re much bigger than we are, and stronger,” Portland coach Jim Hartman said. “Our kids fought hard that first half, but we just kind of ran out of gas.

“(Coach Cooper) found a little weakness there. We had a sophomore sitting there, and he just trapped it. Bigger, stronger, faster. We just couldn’t stop the trap.”

The Bulldogs found the end zone early in what turned into a first-half defensive struggle. Issiah Bachelder connected with Griffin Foley on a 32-yard touchdown pass on Portland’s second drive.

Then the Bulldogs were given great field position to start their third drive, getting the ball at the Bonny Eagle 19-yard line after a Dylan Bolduc sack of Day and a short 16-yard punt. But the ensuing drive went nowhere, made up of a 1-yard loss, an incomplete pass, a 1-yard run and an broken-up pass on fourth down.

“For our defense to rise up and get a stop there is arguably as important part of the game as there was,” Cooper said.

Advertisement

“We should have got into our run game, and that’s my fault,” Hartman said.

Hartman said he thought his team could exploit the Scots’ pass defense, but Bonny Eagle foiled that plan, holding Bachelder to 6-of-17 passing.

“We have confidence in our pass defense, Cooper said. “A lot of teams try to throw on us, so we end up giving up more passing yards than rushing yards because we stop the run, teams will throw it.”

The Bulldogs had trouble running the ball for much of the day. They finished with only 48 yards on 33 carries.

One of those yards was a big one for Portland. Bachelder ran in from less than a yard out on fourth down to cut the Bulldog deficit to 19-14 early in the fourth quarter. But that was the last designed run for Portland in the game.

After Thorne rumbled in from 27 yards out — again through a hole on the left side — to make it 27-14, the Bonny Eagle pass defense smelled blood. Bachelder was sacked, then threw incomplete, then was intercepted by Cam Theberge, who returned the pick 25 yards to set up an eventual 2-yard touchdown run by Thorne.

Advertisement

A diving interception by Christian Napolitano on the next play all but ended the game, with only three kneel downs by Day needed to run out the clock.

The Scots defense forced four turnovers in all, getting a first-half interception by Mendard to set up the late first-half score, then a strip-sack sandwiched between the first two touchdowns of the second half. That quartet gave Bonny Eagle 33 takeaways for the season.

“Four turnovers, you’re not winning anything, especially against Cooper,” Hartman said.

The state title is the sixth of Cooper’s career, with all of them coming in the last 13 years.

“It does not get old,” Cooper said. “We’ll start working for No. 7 pretty soon here, too.”

The Bonny Eagle seniors bookended their careers with state championships, after winning one as freshmen in 2013.

“It’s awesome,” Day said. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.