The Scarborough High School football team arrived at Cameron Stadium on Friday night motivated and healthy.
It was an impressive combination for a team that had suffered a devastating last-second loss to Bangor in their earlier meeting this season and hadn’t experienced any success during the last three weeks due to two COVID-19 cancellations and a 51-0 drubbing at the hands of undefeated Thornton Academy of Saco.
Friday night’s Class A playoff opener against Bangor represented a new start of sorts for the Red Storm, and they took full advantage of the opportunity with a convincing 40-14 victory.
“We were just excited,” said Scarborough senior quarterback Sam Rumelhart, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 99 yards on nine carries. “It’s the playoffs and we’re finally almost healthy. We’ve had a lot of injuries this year and it’s good to have almost everyone back.”
No. 5 Scarborough (5-3) advances to play at Thornton Academy next weekend, while No. 4 Bangor ends its season at 7-3.
Scarborough never trailed while scoring some postseason payback for a 37-36 regular-season loss to Bangor on Sept. 17 that was secured on a last-second fumble recovery in the end zone by the visiting Rams.
“That was everything tonight, revenge,” Rumelhart said. “Losing like that was tough, and they absolutely killed us in the passing game that night so we wanted to make sure they couldn’t do that again.”
Bangor riddled the Red Storm defense for more than 400 passing yards and five touchdowns through the air in that earlier meeting, but Scarborough limited the Rams to 119 aerial yards in the rematch and grabbed three pass interceptions while winning the turnover battle 4-1.
“The last time we played them they were catching everything, so my job was to guard [Landon] Clark the whole game and stop him and it worked out,” said Scarborough defensive back Ryan Kelly, who intercepted one pass in the end zone early in the second quarter and went on to limit Clark, a 6-foot-6 sophomore wide receiver, to two catches for 19 yards.
Kelly also caught two touchdown passes from Rumelhart, a 37-yarder to give Scarborough a 7-0 lead with 3:17 left in the first quarter and a 50-yard strike early in the fourth quarter to make it 34-7.
Junior tight end Brady Clough also had two scoring receptions, the first from 21 yards out with 7:06 left in the first half to extend the Scarborough lead to 14-0.
Senior halfback Jayden Flaker capped off a 68-yard drive on the Red Storm’s next possession with a high-stepping 9-yard run to the end zone with 15.5 seconds left before intermission to make it 21-0, then answered Bangor’s first touchdown with a game-breaking 5-yard scoring pass to Clough early in the fourth quarter.
That score came after Bangor generated some hope for a comeback when senior linebacker Kevin Grover recovered a Scarborough fumble at the Red Storm 29 and one play later senior quarterback Max Clark hit tight end Colton Emerson with a 28-yard touchdown pass to cut the Rams’ deficit to 21-7 with 7:48 left in the third quarter.
Aided by two encroachment penalties against Bangor, Scarborough then drove 54 yards in 12 plays after a 27-yard kickoff return by Charlie Murray, with all of the yardage on the ground until Flaker took a direct snap on second-and-goal from the 5 and jumped to pass the ball over the line of scrimmage to a wide-open Clough in the middle of the end zone to make it 28-7 with 48.8 seconds left in the period.
Scarborough outgained Bangor 515-175 in total yardage, with the Red Storm rushing for 341 yards on 37 carries.
“We definitely broke a couple of long plays in the passing game but being able to run and pass makes it hard for teams to defend,” Rumelhart said.
Murray added a pass interception as well as 97 yards on four rushes, including a 50-yard dash to the end zone behind Flaker, who blocked three different Bangor defenders while leading his teammate down the left sideline for Scarborough’s final score with 6:15 left in the game.
Bangor senior Hunter Gorman added a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:07 remaining.