FAIRFIELD — It was a rivalry that had nothing to do with geography. The Lawrence/Bangor rivalry that dominated the Pine Tree Conference over the last decade was built on mutual respect.

Even now, with the Bulldogs and Rams meeting in a preseason exhibition game, it still is.

“It’s always been a very competitive atmosphere with Bangor. I think the coaching staff have always respected each other, respected each other’s programs throughout the years,” Lawrence head coach John Hersom said.

While Bangor dominated Friday night’s exhibition game at Keyes Field, winning 45-0, that mutual respect was not diminished.

“We feel a little badly we couldn’t give them a little tougher game tonight, but I know they’ve worked hard, and we’ve been working hard to try to get ready for the start of our season,” John Hersom said. “Now it’s here, and we’ve got to get ready to move on.”

Last season, the rivals moved to different leagues, when the MPA split high school football into four classes. Bangor remained in Class A with the largest schools, while Lawrence joined Class B. The teams wanted to continue playing each other, so they made their annual meeting a preseason exhibition game.

Between 2006 and 2011, Bangor and Lawrence met three times in the Pine Tree Conference Class A championship game. Lawrence won all three. In the seven season from 2006 through 2012, either Lawrence or Bangor won six conference titles.

A recent wrinkle to the rivalry is the Hersom factor. John has his son Tom on his coaching staff at Lawrence. Sons Mike and Jack are on Mark Hackett’s coaching staff at Bangor.

“It’s a little different coming down here on the other side, but we’re all invested with these guys. We played great tonight,” Jack Hersom, who won the 2007 Fitzpatrick Trophy as the state’s top high school football player as Lawrence’s quarterback, said.

In 2005, John Hersom coached against his twin brother Jim, when Jim was head coach at Edward Little of Auburn. This was different, he said.

“You don’t see it too often in the coaching profession. It’s exciting. (Mike and Jack are) doing a good job up there,” John Hersom said. “They really enjoy working with the coaching staff up there. We’re happy for them, that they’re in the game and they’re doing things to help out that progam.”

Added Jack Hersom: “There’s been a stretch of some really good games between these two teams. There’s a lot of respect between the two programs. Good guys on both sides of the ball.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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