September is nearly in the rearview mirror and the arrival of the month of October means that the fall sports season is just kicking into gear.
It won’t be long until the first champions are crowned, as golf’s state match is just over a week away, and for everyone else, making the playoffs will be the focus.
Here’s a glimpse at where things stand as September slips away:
On the gridiron, defending Class C state champion Cape Elizabeth, behind a sensational individual effort from senior standout Nick Laughlin, rolled to a surprisingly decisive 41-13 win at Class B South contender South Portland last Friday in the teams’ first-ever countable meeting. Laughlin returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and Ceroi Mello added a 33-yard scoring burst to make it 13-0 Capers after one quarter. Following a Laughlin interception, he scored on a 10-yard rush, then scored again from 4-yards out to make it 27-0 at halftime. After the Red Riots got on the board, Laughlin ended all doubt with an 87-yard TD run and for good measure, in the fourth period, Laughlin scored on a 90-yard dash to help Cape Elizabeth go on to victory.
Laughlin scored five touchdowns, got the job done in all three phases, produced over 300 all-purpose yards and helped Cape Elizabeth improve to 3-1.
“It was great,” said Laughlin. “I thought this week, our scout team really brought it and forced us to get better every single day and it showed on the field.”
“I’ve coached some absolute dudes, including some Division I guys, but Nick Laughlin is the best football player I’ve ever coached,” Capers coach Sean Green said. “He simply does it all. He kicks for us, he’s long-snapped for us in the past. He’s our free safety, he plays running back, quarterback, wide receiver, slot. He’s just one of those special football players and an even better human being. An incredible leader for our team. He does everything you can do on a football field. Nick plays the game the right way, with purpose and intent, and I’m proud to call myself his coach.”
The Capers welcome 1-3 Westbrook Saturday.
“The key now is to grow our maturity and keep moving it forward and keep showing up every day with the same purpose and intent and do our job,” Green said.
South Portland got a 28-yard touchdown run from quarterback Jaelen Jackson and a late 26-yard scoring run from Easton Healy, but fell to 2-2 with the loss to Cape Elizabeth.
“The conversation at halftime was that we’re either going to get better or get worse,” Red Riots coach Aaron Filieo said. “We challenged the guys to have a better second half. We came out and we gave more of an effort and played better. At the end of the day, it wasn’t enough. I expected this to be more competitive.”
Filieo coached Cape Elizabeth to 106 victories in 15 seasons prior to returning to coach his alma mater. Filieo said he was oddly unemotional about seeing Cape Elizabeth on the other side of the field Friday.
“It’s not a reunion,” Filieo said. “I didn’t have any weird, strange emotions going into the game at all and I know that’s hard for people to believe. We’ve had our hands full getting our guys squared away and that’s where my energy emotionally and mentally has been the past few weeks. I hadn’t really had time to consider any sentimental feelings.
“I think it’s good for the state to have competitive teams from other classes play up or down. We should have done it years ago. As long as we get the matchups right, it’ll be good for Maine high school football.”
South Portland looks to snap a two-game skid Friday at 0-4 Noble.
“We’re at a crossroads right now,” Filieo said. “We have a lot of soul searching to do. We have to figure out where we want to take this season. What the seniors decide to do will be their legacy. We’ll lick our wounds and get back at it and get ready for Noble.”
Scarborough also fell to 2-2 with a 39-7 loss at Lewiston last Friday. The Red Storm scored first, on a 46-yard pass from De’Angelo Auston to Tom Hassett, but that would be their highwater mark. Scarborough is at red-hot 3-1 Massabesic Friday.
Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team stayed perfect with recent shutout wins at Biddeford (8-0) and at home over Falmouth (2-0) to improve to 7-0 on the season. Against the Navigators, the Red Storm snapped a scoreless tie on second half goals from Kilson Joao and Will Fallona and only let up one shot on frame all evening.
“We all love Scarborough and at the end of the day, you want to win for your hometown, your friends, everybody and that’s what we all want to do,” said Fallona.
“It’s a big win for us,” said Diaz. “Falmouth’s a good team and I’m very happy with the effort tonight. I’m just happy to get out of here with a win. Defensively, we played very well and did what we talked about. The key for us is how we defend.”
Scarborough looks to stay perfect Friday at Thornton Academy. Monday brings another key test for the Red Storm, when reigning Class A champion Marshwood pays a visit. Next Wednesday, the Red Storm host Massabesic.
“We just have to stay together,” said Fallona. “The offense and defense have to work together to come out on top.”
“The teams coming up will be good tests for us and this is the time of year where you want that,” Diaz said. “We’re just trying to get better. We just need to be consistent. This team is going to take it one game at a time.”
South Portland was also unbeaten at press time, improving to 7-0 after a dramatic 1-0 overtime win at Portland last Saturday. The Red Riots generated few chances in regulation, but in the first OT, Divin Mpinga scored, from Joey Hanlon, to end it.
“I was hoping I’d get another opportunity,” said Mpinga, who was robbed on a breakaway in regulation. “Joey was open, then when I gave it to him, I wanted it back and I got it and I just put it in. It always feels good to beat Portland. They’re our rival. My teammates and a lot of other people were here supporting us and we kept fighting.”
“It’s a good win,” said longtime South Portland coach Bryan Hoy. “We didn’t play particularly well and they probably out-possessed us by a lot, so I’m glad we could pull it out in the end.”
The Red Riots host Marshwood Friday, go to Windham Monday and welcome Bonny Eagle Wednesday of next week.
“We hope to keep winning games,” Mpinga said. “I think we can go pretty far.”
“I think we need to get better,” Hoy said. “I know it sounds silly to say, but we have a long way to go. I think we have a lot of potential left and I want to see us get to that level.”
Cape Elizabeth has a tie on its record, but was otherwise unbeaten as well, after improving to 7-0-1 with recent road wins at Lake Region (5-0) and Poland (12-1). Against the Lakers, Eddie Caldera had two goals and Sam Cochran, Grant Kelley and Alex van Huystee added one apiece. In the victory over the Knights, 11 different players scored, as Connor Goss had two goals and Caldera, Cochran, Jack Carignan, Harry Converse, Andre Erickson, Max Johnson, Keegan Lathrop, Dylan Mikulka, Henry Moore and Abe Smith all added one. The Capers welcome Fryeburg Academy Friday, then have a pivotal home test versus two-time reigning Class B champion Yarmouth Tuesday of next week (see pressherald.com/forecaster/forecaster-sports/ for game story).
Greater Portland Christian School was 3-2 after a 6-0 loss to Pine Tree Academy last week. The Lions host Chop Point next Tuesday.
On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth, the three-time reigning Class B champion, continues to dominate, improving to 8-0 after blanking visiting Lake Region (4-0) and Poland (11-0). Against the Lakers, Evelyn Agrodnia scored three times and freshman Noelle Mallory accounted for the fourth goal. In the win over the Knights, Mallory had a career-high five goals, Agrodnia and CC Duryee each scored twice and Heather Campbell and Piper Duryee both added one goal. The Capers are at Fryeburg Academy Friday and have a key test at rival Yarmouth Monday.
Scarborough made it seven straight victories to start the season after downing visiting Biddeford (10-0) and host Falmouth (2-0) last week. Lana Djuranovic, Paige Garlock, Sarah LeFevre and Ali Mokriski all had two goals against the Tigers, while Grace Carlista and Delia Fravert scored the others. In the win over the Navigators, Djuranovic and Mokriski had the goals. The Red Storm hosted Thornton Academy Thursday, hoping to earn a measure of revenge from last year’s upset playoff loss, then go to Marshwood Saturday and visit Massabesic Tuesday of next week.
South Portland took a 1-5 record into Wednesday’s makeup game against visiting Portland. The Red Riots were at Marshwood Thursday, host reigning Class A champion Windham Saturday and go to Bonny Eagle Monday.
Cape Elizabeth’s field hockey team extended its win streak to seven games and improved to 7-1 after recent shutout wins at Greely (2-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (4-0). Grace Gray and Lulu Stocklein had the goals in the win over the Rangers. Against the Patriots, Kaitlyn McIntyre had a hat trick and Abbie Homicz also scored. The Capers went to Fryeburg Academy Wednesday and visit Freeport Monday.
In Class A South, Scarborough fell from the unbeaten ranks after losses at Biddeford (1-0) and at home to reigning Class A champion Cheverus (6-0). Against the Tigers, a late penalty stroke was the difference.
“Anytime you suffer your first loss against a big team, to not pull it out, it stings for sure,” said longtime Red Storm coach Kerry Mariello. “I knew it would go down to the wire. It’s unfortunate we didn’t execute on a goal when we could have. It was a lot of back-and-forth, few opportunities and they got a break and unfortunately, we didn’t. It’s just regular season, so it’s just an ego bruise, that’s all.
“You find out in games like these who your true gamers are and what areas need work and you just move forward from there. I have girls who can come out and dig deep when it matters most and to see them thrive in those moments is really nice to see. It happened on quite a few occasions.”
Scarborough goalie Jamila Mohamed made eight saves in the loss to Cheverus. The Red Storm then improved to 6-2 after beating host Noble (1-0) and visiting Kennebunk (5-0). Mariello earned her 250th victory with the program against the Knights. In the win over the Rams, Stella Grondin had two goals, while Anjali Bhatnagar, Nadia Grinyuk and Daisy Stone added one apiece. Scarborough was at Marshwood Thursday, hosts Portland/Deering Monday and visits Falmouth Wednesday of next week.
The South Portland/Westbrook co-op team was 2-6-1 after a 4-1 home loss to Windham, a 3-2 victory at Bonny Eagle and a 10-0 setback at Gorham. South Portland/Westbrook hosted Massabesic Thursday, goes to Noble Monday and welcomes Sanford Wednesday of next week.
Scarborough’s volleyball team, the reigning Class A state champion, was 5-2 at the midway point, following a four-set (25-14, 22-25, 25-18, 25-13) win at three-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth and a four-game (14-25, 27-25, 23-25, 19-25) home loss to Biddeford in a state rematch. In the victory, Natalie Moynihan dazzled with 15 service points (including nine aces), 17 kills and four blocks.
“I have more confidence this year,” said Moynihan. “I trust my teammates and they trust me.”
“It’s easy to forget Natalie’s still a sophomore when she’s as good as she is,” Scarborough coach Kim Stoddard said. “She’s open to learning and getting better. I’m excited to have her part of the team.”
The Red Storm went to Marshwood Wednesday and hosted Falmouth Thursday, then visit Massabesic Saturday and Kennebunk Monday before visiting Falmouth Wednesday of next week.
“I think there’s still a lot of pressure on us,” Stoddard said. “We did win last year and some of those faces are back and they’re playing more starring roles.”
South Portland fell to 2-6 after a four-set loss at Thornton Academy. After hosting Windham Wednesday, the Red Riots welcome Biddeford Monday.
Cape Elizabeth was 6-3 following a straight-set victory at Westbrook, a 3-0 home loss to Biddeford (17-25, 8-25, 17-25) and a four-game (25-20, 15-25, 25-18, 25-23) win at Falmouth. Against the Navigators, Amy Rasco had 16 kills and a dozen digs, Bella Guerin-Brown added 23 assists and Cayden Royall finished with seven kills. After going to Gorham Monday, the Capers host Greely Thursday of next week.
On the trails, Scarborough’s boys were first and the girls fourth at a six-team meet last week in Gorham. Adam Bendetson won the boys’ race in 16 minutes, 27.28 seconds. The girls were led by Kyleigh Record (third, 20:41.53).
South Portland joined five other schools in a race in Westbrook. The boys came in second to Portland. Kyle Hartford was sixth individually (18:01.72). The girls’ team was third behind Falmouth and Portland. Anna Brown led the way with a 13th-place finish (22:18.15).
The Festival of Champions in Belfast will be held Saturday.
On the links, the Western Maine Conference state qualifier was held Tuesday. Cape Elizabeth qualified, tying York for second place with a team score of 344 (Yarmouth placed first). The Capers were led by Curtis Sullivan, who had an 18-hole score of 81. Sam Ludington (87), Andrew Libby (88) and Owen Lee (88) also scored. Dylan Ludington (94) and Antonio Dell’Aquila (98) took part but their scores weren’t factored in.
The Southwestern Maine Activities Association state qualifier is Monday.
Scarborough was 9-0 heading into its regular season finale Thursday versus Portland. The Red Storm recently downed South Portland (11-2) and Deering (13-0).
South Portland were 6-3 heading into its final match Thursday against Falmouth. The Red Riots lost to Scarborough (11-2) and downed Cheverus (8-5) in their most recent matches.
The team state match is next Friday for Class and Saturday, Oct. 8 for Class B. The state matches will be held at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.