Sep. 15—LEWISTON — Big plays were on the menu when Lewiston hosted Portland in a Class A football battle Friday night at Don Roux Field.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, it was the visiting Bulldogs who scored nearly all of the long touchdowns in a 47-6 win.
All but one of the touchdowns came from more than 10 yards out, and five of them went for 35-plus yards.
The teams traded interceptions on their opening drives, with Lewiston's Lonnie Thomas picking off Portland QB Louis Thurston, then Hunter Temple intercepting Thomas three plays later.
"This is a game of momentum, and when adversity strikes, you got to take advantage of those big plays. You know, we didn't," Lewiston coach Jason Versey said. "We didn't take advantage of that interception, and it came back to bite us."
The Bulldogs (3-0) offense then righted itself. Thurston capped off an eight-play drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Reegan Buck. Justin Bouchard made the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
"Louis Thurston is everything you'd ever want in a quarterback," Portland coach Sean Green said. "He's got a talented arm, he can run the football, but most importantly, he's got all the intangibles. He's a great leader, he knows how to turn the page, and there's nobody else I would rather have quarterbacking this team."
After a Blue Devils (1-2) three-and-out, Buck ran in a 35-yard touchdown two plays later.
Aidan McGowen also needed just two plays for a touchdown run after another Lewiston three-and-out. McGowen busted into the open field for a 70-yard scoring run. The extra point failed, but the Bulldogs took a 20-0 lead into the second quarter.
"We definitely have some guys that can makes plays, especially when the O-line blocks the way they do," Green said.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 in the Varsity Maine football poll, gained nearly 200 yards of offense in the first quarter, while holding the Blue Devils to zero.
"(Portland defensive coordinator Mike) Marston did a hell of a job on his defense against us," Versey said. "He had us dialed up. It was a clinic."
The first two plays of the second quarter were big ones. Portland's Brayden Wales picked off a pass on the first play, after which Thomas left the game with an injury. Then Thurston and Cordell Jones connected for a 38-yard touchdown pass on the second play.
Lewiston, coming off a clutch win over South Portland last week, earned a first down for the first time on the ensuing drive, with a Tafari Corson-James run combining with a 5-yard facemask penalty on Portland to push the Blue Devils past the first-down marker. The momentum was short-lived, as Buck intercepted a Jeffrey Randall pass two plays later.
The Blue Devils scored on the next play with a standout defensive effort. JJ Durr sacked Thurston and forced a fumble, and a friendly bounce put the ball back into the hands of Durr, who returned the loose ball 45 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but Lewiston was on the scoreboard, down 27-6 with 9:07 left in the first half.
"There was flashes of things that we did really well today, and we'll build on that," Versey said. "You know, we just want to get 1 percent better every week. That's something we can certainly hang our hat on. You know, we didn't roll over. I mean, I think we were behind a few touchdowns at that point, but we kept fighting."
The Portland offense answered with another short drive, capped off by Temple's 64-yard touchdown run three plays in. Another Bouchard PAT made it 34-6.
Lewiston went three-and-out, then couldn't stop the Bulldogs as they marched from their own 19-yard line. The Blue Devils held strong at the goal line, however, as Joseph Dube tackled Buck short of the goal line on fourth-and-goal with nine seconds left.
"We feel like we left a lot out on the field tonight, especially at the end of that first half," Green said. "We didn't do things quite as well as we should have. We didn't finish down here in the red area. So we still need to clean up."
The Bulldogs added two touchdown runs in the third quarter to increase their lead to 47-6. Thurston snuck in from 1 yard out and McGowen capped off the scoring with a 13-yard run.
Portland finished with over 500 yards of offense, while holding Lewiston to 34.
"This Portland football team is well-coached, and they are a wonderful football team. So it was a good measuring stick for us, to kind of tell us where we are, and we've got a lot of work to do," Versey said. "And we'll put in the work, and we'll be a different club next week."
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