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Big Time Skills -- Even Bigger Heart

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: October 13th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

The first few weeks of college are usually set up for kids to get comfortable. Move into your dorms, meet your professors, meet your classmates, get settled in your classes. But for Jake Longstaff, he didn’t have much time to do all of that.
Not early mornings, ’No mornings because of class,’ Says Longstaff who majors in Marketing, ‘But some long days and nights. I was out at the basketball gym until 10 P.M., after that, they kicked me out.’ Longstaff said. ‘I was playing everyday either in the gym or on the outdoor courts.’ In late July he found out that the coach that had been recruiting him during his high school years, Coach Max Good, who built Bryant into a Division II power, would no longer be coaching at Bryant. ‘I was a little disappointed,’ Explains Longstaff. ‘But I was looking forward to the challenge of impressing Coach O’Shea.’ Tim O’Shea was hired at Bryant in August. O’Shea, before Bryant, was hired at the University of Ohio in 2002 and quickly led the Bobcats to an NCAA Tournament birth in 2005. Bryant can’t make the Tournament for four years because NCAA Division changing rules. ‘We believe in Coach (O’Shea) and he believes in us.’ Longstaff says. ‘So that’d be great if we could get into the Tournament in a couple years.’ Since school started Longstaff has been in that gym non-stop, trying to prove himself. ‘I would start to shoot around and then some of the guys would come in to play pick up,’ Longstaff says. ‘One of the guys recognized me from last year and invited me to play. So I just busted my ass, hit a couple three’s and made some nice passes then they started to take me serious. The kids on the team embraced me and helped me out a lot.’ He explains. Sounds like Longstaff hasn’t changed a bit. Longstaff played at Portland High School and was their starting point guard for three years leading the Bulldogs to a 63-11 overall record in four years as a varsity player. On Thursday October 9th, after a practice O’Shea offered Longstaff a walk-on spot on the team. Longstaff felt pretty comfortable around O’Shea. ‘Coach (O’Shea) and Coach Russo are very alike. They run the same offense and are very personable with the players.’ Now Longstaff has some new objectives. ‘I see myself as a work horse on this team. We have a really tough schedule.’ Which includes Boston College, University of Connecticut, Maryland and Iowa. ‘My goal is to make everyone on the team better through practice.’ Longstaff does still have some strong feelings for his high school team, however. ‘They have the best talent and coaches in the league. Now, they have the experience. Nobody in the SMAA has a real center except Portland. Ed Bogdanovich is a special player.’ Sounds like Longstaff still has that big Bulldog heart, even now, as a Bryant Bulldog.

Deering earns an epic win

Sport: Football  Posted: October 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

'Sponsored by Rivalries'
10 Cotton Street in Portland's Old Port
"Where every day is a victory celebration"

STANDISH—On a night which saw the Jack Heary Express run on just a limited basis, the Deering football team unveiled some new weapons and wound up earning one of the most memorable victories in program history.

Playing at defending Class A state champion Bonny Eagle in the long-anticipated “Game of the Year,” the Rams found themselves down 28-14 with just over three minutes to play. Undaunted, Deering showed its championship grit and heart, getting a TD run from Heary, an enormous forced fumble and recovery and then a stunning TD pass from sophomore Jamie Ross to sophomore Sam Balzano followed by a Ross point-after kick to take a 29-28 lead.

The Scots would drive to the Rams' 36 and have time for a Hail Mary pass, but Heary brought the curtain down on the win with an interception.

“This is the best game I've played in,” said a jubilant Heary, moments after the game. “We never lost confidence. This is a family. I've said that before. We never give up and we always try our hardest. I'm so proud of my teammates right now.”

Bonny Eagle and Deering have combined to win four of the past five state championships, with the Scots taking three of the past four. Since the start of the 2004 campaign, Bonny Eagle had gone 6-1 against the Rams, including a 2-1 mark in the playoffs.

This season, the Scots and Rams clearly separated themselves from the pack from Day 1. Deering crushed its first five foes by a composite 208-60 margin, while Bonny Eagle's only stumble came virtue of a forfeit against Westbrook after the Scots self-reported for using an ineligible player.

A huge crowd was on-hand Friday night and they witnessed a game that for a rare change, lived up to and even exceeded the hype.

After Bonny Eagle won the opening coin toss and deferred possession to the second half, the Rams began at their 20 and quickly showed that they were going to take a much different approach than expected.

Ross threw to Balzano for 8-yards on first down, setting the tone. Deering would gain one first down on its six plays, but what was most notable was that Heary only handled the ball twice (for 13 yards).

The Rams were forced to punt, but soon got a break when the Scots' special teams (which were shaky all night) fumbled deep in their territory and Deering senior Andrew Linscott pounced on the loose pigskin, setting the Rams up at the Bonny Eagle 11.

The Scots defense would then rise to the occasion. After an incomplete pass on first down, Heary gained 6 yards on a second down run, then gave all 6 back on a third down carry. On fourth-and-10, Ross threw a flare pass to Heary, who was dragged down for a 4-yard loss, giving Bonny Eagle the ball on downs.

The Scots offense then showed what it was made of, driving 85 yards on nine plays while chewing up over four minutes of clock.

Senior Josh Ruby got things started with runs of 6, 3, and 7 yards for a first down at the 31. Senior standout Nate Doehler then went to the air for the first time and hooked up with junior Joe Davis for 31-yards to the Deering 38. Doehler ran for 6, then threw incomplete, but on third down, the quarterback threw a screen pass to Ruby who rumbled to the Rams' 21. After a Ruby burst (which saw him break several tackles) put the ball at the 1, Doehler capped the drive by keeping it himself and diving in for the score. Doehler then added the extra point for a 7-0 lead wit 2:35 to play in the opening period.

It took the Rams all of 14 seconds to pull even.

Balzano fielded the ensuing kickoff at his 9, broke a tackle, bounced out of a crowd, then raced untouched down the left sideline to cap a 91-yard kickoff return. Bonny Eagle senior Brent Tibbetts roared through the line to block Ross' extra point attempt, however, keeping the Scots on top, 7-6.

Deering's defense forced a three-and-out on Bonny Eagle's next series. The Rams got a first down late in the quarter on a 20-yard Heary run, but at the start of the second period, senior Matt Alves was stuffed on third-and-1 and Ross was stopped in his tracks on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Scots at their 29.

Bonny Eagle would take just three plays to march 71 yards for another TD. After Doehler ran for 28 yards on the first play and 7 on the second, he found Davis with a pretty 36-yard rainbow pass for the touchdown. Doehler's extra point made it 14-6 with 10:22 to go in the half.

Both teams would see the ball twice more before the half, but couldn't score. Deering did keep a drive alive with a Ross fake punt which gained 22-yards, but the Scots' defense rose up from there before giving the ball back to the offense with 1:46 to play before halftime. Four plays gained just 10 yards and the hosts took a 14-6 lead to the break.

The Rams ran 28 plays in the first half and Heary touched the ball just nine times.

Both offenses would have their moments in a thrilling second half.

Bonny Eagle got the ball to start and embarked on its best drive of the night, a 74 yard, 11 play march which ate up more than half of the third period. Doehler and Ruby handled the ball exclusively, with Doehler rushing five times for 32 yards and Ruby carrying six times for 49 yards, including a 5-yard TD burst up the gut that made it 20-6 with 5:37 to go in the stanza. A bad snap short-circuited the extra point (a point that would prove to be enormous) and the Scots had a seemingly solid 20-6 advantage.

To its credit, Deering promptly answered.

A 33-yard Heary scamper moved the ball from the Rams' 38 to the Bonny Eagle 29. Ross then found sophomore John Hardy for a 14-yard pass and runs of 5 and 4 yards by Heary put the ball at the 4. Alves then did the honors, barreling in for a 4-yard TD. Ross kicked the extra point and with 3:31 to play in the third, it was a 20-14 game.

Bonny Eagle then drove again for some breathing room. This time, the Scots moved 62 yards on nine plays and chewed up 5 minutes, 29 seconds as the third period gave way to the fourth.

The big play was a 28-yard Doehler scamper on a quarterback draw. With 9:56 to go in the game, Doehler rolled to his left, then launched a gorgeous pass right into the arms of junior Max Alfiero in the end zone for a 20-yard TD. Ruby ran in the two-point conversion and Bonny Eagle was up 28-14.

Deering got the ball at its 44 with 9:49 to play and promptly got a 25-yard Ross-to-Balzano pass into Bonny Eagle territory. Consecutive 11-yard runs by senior Mike Cowie and Heary set up first-and-goal at the 9, but two Heary runs combined to lose two yards and Ross threw incomplete on third down. After the Doehler broke up Ross' fourth down pass to force a loss of downs with 7:11 to play, it looked like the Rams were on the ropes.

Instead, the Deering defense rose to the occasion, forcing a three-and-out. The Rams offense got the ball back at the Scots' 44 with 5:43 to play and 2 minutes, 20 seconds later had cut into the deficit. The drive was highlighted by an amazing 18-yard catch by Alves, who tipped a deflected ball to himself in full stride. Two plays later, Heary burst in for a 20-yard TD and after Ross found Alves for a two-point conversion pass, things had gotten very interesting.

With 3:23 to play, Deering was back within six, 28-22.

All Bonny Eagle had to do was get a couple first downs and run out the clock. After the Scots momentarily avoided disaster on the kickoff when Doehler recovered a fumble at the 23, they earned a first down on a 12-yard Doehler-to-Alfiero pass. After two Ruby runs gained 4 yards, Deering took a timeout.

The game then changed for good.

Doehler dropped back to pass, then looked to handoff to Ruby, but from nowhere Rams' senior standout linebacker Ernie Salamone crashed in and forced a fumble, which he recovered to give the Rams the ball at the Bonny Eagle 32 with 1:33 to go.

“I think you have to give credit to Deering for making a great defensive play,” Bonny Eagle coach Kevin Cooper said. “Ernie Salamone is a great player. A great linebacker. They caught us on the blitz and we didn't pick them up. We were trying to get the ball back to Ruby on the play and they made a great play to force a fumble. I don't think that was the play of the game. They started to take control in the third quarter and took it away from us. You have to give credit to Deering for doing that.”

Lost in the excitement of the play was the fact that the Rams had 12 men on the field. With the 12th defender racing to the sidelines, Deering's coaching staff impassionately urging him on and Bonny Eagle's sideline calling for a flag, the play went on without interruption.

“It was tough to say (if he got off the field in time),” Cooper said. “I'd have to look at the tape.”

Two plays later, Deering improbably was in the lead. After Heary gained 2 yards on first down and the Rams called timeout, Ross dropped back, calmly floated a pass to the right sideline where Balzano ran free (a defender had slipped). Balzano calmly cradled the ball then completed the 30-yard TD reception to tie the game with 1:17 remaining.

“I just saw it air and was afraid I was going to drop it,” Balzano said.

While Ross' arm had impressed all night, the game would come down to his right foot. He drilled the extra point through the uprights to give Deering the lead for the first time, 29-28.

Of course, anytime Nate Doehler's on the field, a game is never over, and sure enough the Scots drove from their 12 to the Rams' 36 as time wound down. Doehler completed 4-of-6 passes for 28 yards and ran twice for 24 yards to set the stage.

The game, fittingly, came down to one final play.

Doehler rolled right, gave his receivers time to get into the end zone, then launched a prayer toward Davis. Trouble was, he was triple-covered and Heary provided the exclamation point for the epic win by leaping high to rein in the interception that made Deering's 29-28 victory official.


“It feels great,” Balzano said. “We had a good attitude before the game. At halftime we made some adjustments and we just came out and played our game. It gives us great confidence. It's a big win. We're looking forward to seeing these guys again.”

Deering (6-0) gained 271 yards (183 in the second half). Heary finished with 134 yards and a TD on just 18 carries. He caught two passes for a negative-6 yards.

Ross had a breakout game, even if the numbers didn't show it. He completed 8-of-17 passes for 99 yards and the game-winning score. He also rushed 7 times for 36 yards.

Balzano finished with 3 catches for 63 yards and the pivotal TD.

“Jamie's the man,” Heary said. “He's impressive. Every week he gets better. He and Sam are sophomores. They stepped up big. They're not afraid of anything. I'm proud of them.”

Hardy caught 2 passes for 24 yards and Alves had the other reception, good for 18.

Heary said he had no problem with his diminished role.

“We went into the game knowing we'd spread the ball around and it worked,” he said. “Jamie did a great job throwing the ball. Sam and John Hardy did a great job catching it. Usually they key on me, but my teammates made plays tonight.”

Bonny Eagle finished with 385 yards, but three turnovers helped seal its doom. Doehler ran for 147 yards and a TD on 18 carries and completed 10-of-20 passes for 141 yards, with two TDs and an interception. Ruby had 99 yards and a score on 19 carries. Davis caught two passes for 67 yards and a TD. Alfiero had three receptions for 35 yards. Junior Donald Hildreth caught three balls for 14 yards. Ruby had one catch for 11 yards. Senior Travis Dunn had one reception for 14.

The Scots were penalized three times for 17 yards, while the Rams had four flags for 20 yards.

Bonny Eagle (4-2) returns to action Friday at 2-4 Portland.

Deering hosts 2-4 South Portland Friday. The Rams now have the inside track on the top seed and will relish this victory, but they know that if all goes as expected (and as local football fans fervently hope), they will see the defending champs once more.

“It's a great win, but it doesn't mean anything because we know we'll see these guys again,” Heary said. “This is great for morale, but that's the game that counts.”

D- 6 0 8 15- 29
BE- 7 7 6 8- 28
First quarter
BE—Doehler 1 run (Doehler kick)
D—Balzano 91 kickoff return (kick blocked)
Second quarter
BE—Davis 36 pass from Doehler (Doehler kick)
Third quarter
BE—Ruby 5 run (kick failed)
D—Alves 4 run (Salamone pass from Ross)
Fourth quarter
BE—Alfiero 20 pass from Doehler (Ruby run)
D—Heary 20 run (Alves pass from Ross)
D—Balzano 30 pass from Ross (Ross kick)

Deering- Heary 18-134-1, Ross 7-36, Cowie 2-12, Alves 3-5-1
Bonny Eagle- Doehler 18-147-1, Ruby 19-99-1, Alfiero 1-1
Deering- Ross 8-17-99-1
Bonny Eagle- Doehler 10-20-141-2-1
Deering- Balzano 3-63-1, Hardy 2-24, Heary 2- (-6), Alves 1-18
Bonny Eagle- Alfiero 3-35-1, Hildreth 3-14, Davis 2-67-1, Dunn 1-14, Ruby 1-11
Deering 271
Bonny Eagle 385
Bonny Eagle- 3
Deering- 0
Deering 4-20
Bonny Eagle 3-17

Thornton proves its power

Sport: Football  Posted: October 11th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Junior quarterback Steve Trask rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns and Peter Remmes made two huge fumble recoveries to spark Thornton. Read Full Story: Click Here

Lisbon's Blackwell is smart QB who takes chances

Sport: Football  Posted: October 11th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

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Brewer defense clamps down on Cony

Sport: Football  Posted: October 11th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

The Rams found themselves in a black hole of uniforms, as the Witches allowed only 156 yards of total offense while compiling two long touchdown drives themselves in earning a hard-fought, 14-0 homecoming victory at Doyle Field Friday evening.

Read Full Story: Click Here


Elite 75 Showcase: Frosh/Soph Edition Massachusetts Standouts

Sport:   Posted: October 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

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Lubick Picks Georgetown

Sport:   Posted: October 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

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Elite 75 Showcase: Frosh/Soph Edition Maine Standouts

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: October 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

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Everett looks to rebound from rare loss

Sport:   Posted: October 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

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Hes in the middle of it all (T.A.'s John Gilboy)

Sport: Football  Posted: October 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

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EL coaches don't need input from loudmouths

Sport: Football  Posted: October 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

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Cape's aerial display downs Gray-NG

Sport: Football  Posted: October 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Story written by:

200 x currentMEcurrent

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Columbus Day Challenge set in Springfield , MA.

Sport:   Posted: October 8th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Click here for all the tournament information




MBR to compete at Columbus Day Challenge

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: October 8th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Coach Carl Parker will be traveling with the MBR team to compete in a high level event in Springfield Ma. this weekend. 21 teams make up the field.

Click Here for schedules

MBR plays:
Bay State Magic at 3:00 on Saturday, Oct. 11
Grassroots Canada at 5:20 on Saturday, Oct. 11
Both games are at Springfield College.. Top teams from each pool advance to championship play on Sunday with the championship game being played at the Basketball Hall of Fame

MBR will be all players from the class of 2010 except for Tom Knight (2009)

MBR Roster:

Tom Knight - Dirigo HS
Keegan Hyland - South Portland
Indiana Faithful - Cheverus
Dominic Borelli - Westbrook
Nich Jobin - Westbrook
Koang Thoak - Portland
Jacob Moore - Hampden Academy
Trevor Tierney - Greely
Stephano Mancini - Falmouth

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