Leavitt’s football team feels like it should have been at Fitzpatrick Stadium last November, but a loss to Cape Elizabeth on the final play of the Class C South final prevented that from happening.
Instead, the Hornets made the most of their appearance on the big stage on Friday night against the Portland Bulldogs.
Leavitt, riding the all-round brilliance of junior quarterback Noah Carpenter, scored on his opening drive, opened a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 42-8 win to improve to 2-0 in the young season.
“We were all excited to come here and play in one of the best stadiums in Maine,” said Carpenter, who completed 9 of 13 passes for 93 yards and rushed nine times for 112 yards and three touchdowns. “Everyone showed up and it was just the best experience.”
The Hornets gained possession to start the game and rushed 66 yards in nine plays to take the lead and hold on to Will Keach’s 10-yard touchdown run.
Portland, which lost starting quarterback Sam Esposito to a broken collarbone in last week’s win over Kennebunk, held its own for the rest of the first quarter, but was broken by Leavitt in the second.
First, Carpenter scored on a 10-yard run and Maddox Demers added the 2-point conversion.
Then, after a successful onside kick followed by a fake punt, Keach scored a second time, this time from 10 yards.
A 3-yard touchdown run by Carpenter and a 2-point run by Braxton Rowe made it 28-0 at the half.
The Bulldogs stood out in the third quarter, when second-year quarterback Louis Thurston (5-for-8, 105 yards, one TD and two interceptions) found Remijo Wani for a 61-yard touchdown shot, but Carpenter countered by escaping. for a 59-yard score to make it 36-8.
The Hornets then added a final touchdown in the fourth quarter, when Demers scored on a 3-yard flurry.
“The opportunity to play Portland, in Portland, that doesn’t come up a lot for teams like us,” Hornets coach Michael Hathaway said. “Kudos to our guys for getting enough respect to get a game like this. It was great to come and play in an environment like this.”
Portland coach Jason McLeod said his team did do some positive things, but with Bonny Eagle and Oxford Hills on the schedule, the Bulldogs have to figure things out quickly.
“We just can’t make the mistakes we made in the first half,” he said. “We made mistakes in all three phases of the first half and they capitalized on them. In the second half, we did some things that we can build on.
“He’s the next man up. We want a tough schedule and playing cross-conference teams, but if we don’t improve, it could be a long season. We just have to adjust things and improve week by week.”
Friday’s high school recap: York remains undefeated, hands Fryeburg his first loss