WATERVILLE — This year’s “battle of the bridge” ended with Winslow High School’s resounding 29-12 victory over rival Waterville High School in the Eastern Maine Class C Championship.

But for the hundreds of fans who braved the cold Saturday to pull for the rival football teams, the cross-river rivalry probably will never end.

“It’s like the Super Bowl of the Waterville-Winslow area. It’s huge,” said Shannon Dixon, a Waterville Purple Panthers fan of more than 30 years who has been dubbed “Mama Dixon” for her involvement in Waterville athletics.

Saturday marked the second consecutive year the Black Raiders and the Purple Panthers have met each other in the Eastern Maine Class C final.

While most fans agree the rivalry will live on, they also admit it has softened some over the years.

“I think it’s gotten a lot better, but I remember my mom saying there was a time when Winslow and Waterville kids would go to a game and they wouldn’t even associate with each other,” said Mackenzie Richard, who graduated last year from Winslow High School.

If Saturday’s game hadn’t been the Waterville-Winslow match-up, Richard said, she probably would not have attended. She’s part of a house divided: Richard’s sister goes to Waterville Senior High School.

They sat on opposite sides of the stadium Saturday, but Richard said she is friends with many Waterville students.

“My mom and dad went to Winslow, and then my grandfather went to Waterville, so I have always heard about it,” she said.

Other Raiders fans agreed the rivalry has gotten friendlier over the years.

“It’s gotten better. I remember coming years ago, when I first started coming to the games, it was a pretty bitter rivalry,” Lynne Choate said. “We had issues with fights and things like that, but I think it’s gotten a lot friendlier over the last few years, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Choate’s son plays for the Raiders junior high team.

The gradual easing of tension between the two schools has by no means lessened the competitive spirit, though.

Asked whether winning every game was as important as beating Winslow, Waterville student Cody Veilleux said beating Winslow was more important.

“Yeah, it’s that important,” she said.

Also from a divided house, Veilleux said her mother works for Waterville and is a Waterville graduate. Her father, though, is a Winslow native and Winslow graduate.

“It gets really intense during football season. Good thing I don’t play football,” she said.

Meanwhile, eighth-graders Cameron Fredette, of Winslow, and Allison Weiner, of Waterville, put their rivalry aside to watch the game together.

Fredette’s girlfriend goes to Waterville and is one of Weiner’s best friends, Weiner explained.

“It’s fun for the community, a lot of fun rivalry, a lot of trash talking, if you know what I’m saying; but it’s all friendly,” Fredette said.

Asked in the third quarter which team would win, though, Fredette and Weiner, who have known each other since the they were 8 years old, did not agree.

“Waterville could still win,” insisted Weiner over Fredette’s objection.

“There’s a lot of time left to play,” Fredette conceded.

Evan Belanger — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @ebelanger


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