Oxford Hills is back in the Class A football championship, just as the Vikings planned.

“They fully expected to play again in the state championship game,” Oxford Hills Coach Mark Soehren said of his players.

Portland’s in the Class B title game, just a year later than expected. In 2021 the unbeaten Bulldogs took a shocking 35-0 regional final loss to Marshwood.

“The positive, if there was one, of that (2021 loss) was we don’t ever want to have that feeling again,” said Portland Coach Jason McLeod. “We’ve gotten over the hump. We’ve done what we were supposed to do. But we still don’t want to have the same feeling we had last year.”

Portland High’s Reegan Buck tries to fend off South Portland’s Ben Smith during the Class B South championship on Friday at Fitzpatrick Stadium. Portland is seeking its first state title in 20 years. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Three months after the start of preseason practices, the final four games of Maine’s high school football season are set for Saturday.

Oxford Hills (10-0) will play defending champion Thornton Academy (8-2) in the 11 a.m. game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.


Portland (8-3) meets North champion Skowhegan (9-2) in the 2:30 game at Fitzy, which is Portland’s home field. Portland (and Thornton) officially will be the visiting teams, clad in road white uniforms and its crowd will be in the bleachers on the I-295 side of the stadium.

The Class C and D championships will be at Cameron Stadium in Bangor. In Class D, Lisbon/St. Dominic (7-3) faces defending champion Foxcroft Academy (9-1) at 11 a.m., followed by the Class C final between Leavitt (10-0) and Medomak Valley (9-2) at 2:30 p.m.

THE CLASS A CONTEST is a rematch of last year’s final, a 42-27 Thornton win that saw the Golden Trojans race to a 21-point halftime lead. This season, Oxford Hills went to Saco in Week 2 and came away with a 25-20 win.

In that game, Thornton was on the verge of extending a 20-19 lead when standout running back Hayden Whitney fumbled at the end of a 16-yard gain at the Oxford Hills’ 6-yard line with just over four minutes to play. One play later, Vikings backup quarterback Brady Truman hit Tanner Bickford for a 94-yard touchdown pass that held up as the winning play. Truman was playing because senior quarterback Elias Soehren, the 2021 Maine Gatorade Player of the Year, injured an already sore ankle in the first quarter.

Oxford Hills quarterback Elias Soehren rushes during a Sept. 10 game at Thornton Academy. Soehren left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return. The Vikings won, 25-20. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Despite Soehren missing the next two games, Oxford Hills has not been challenged since. The Vikings have outscored the opposition, 396-104. Since Soehren returned in a 45-8 win against Lewiston, Oxford Hills is averaging 44.5 points per game. Soehren has thrown 24 touchdowns against three interceptions, completing 67 percent of his passes.

Oxford Hills was hit with several injuries in its game at Thornton. Standout safety/tight end Lincoln Merrill, starting center Alex Bartlett and cornerback/receiver Grayson Foster also were injured.


“We’re healthy for this game,” Mark Soehren said.

He also believes his team is more mentally prepared to win Oxford Hills’ first state football championship than it was a year ago. In that game, Soehren said, his players tried to “do too much instead of just letting the game come to them. I think a lot of that was us being there for the first time. This group of seniors is just a little different, a little less emotional, a little more workmanlike.”

Thornton is making its sixth Class A championship appearance in 10 seasons, winning in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2021.

Both teams rolled in their semifinal games on Friday. Thornton beat Sanford 38-8, and Oxford Hills shut out Bonny Eagle, 36-0.

Skowhegan Coach Ryan Libby takes a photo of his River Hawks after winning the Class B North football championship on Friday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

THE CLASS B FINALISTS had to work harder in their regional championships. Both faced deficits in the first half. Portland trailed rival South Portland 14-6 before Andrew Brewer picked up a fumble by teammate Kennedy Charles and raced 27 yards for a touchdown that, with a 2-point conversion, tied the game at the half.

Skowhegan was down 12-0 to Falmouth. Similarly, Skowhegan scored late in the second quarter on the first of four rushing touchdowns by quarterback Adam Savage (34 carries, 129 yards). The River Hawks scored on their first three possessions of the second half.


Both teams are 0-3 in title games since their last state championship. Skowhegan’s most recent title was 1978 in Class A. Portland’s was in 2002, also in Class A.

“We’re on a 20-year cycle,” said McLeod. “Portland won in 1982, 2002, and here we are now at 2022.”

Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway celebrates with his team after the Hornets beat Cape Elizabeth 43-0 on Saturday evening for the Class C South title. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

ON PAPER, CLASS C appears to be a mismatch – especially after the way Leavitt throttled a very good Cape Elizabeth team, 43-0. Cape is the only team to beat Leavitt in the last three seasons and had played the Hornets tough in a 21-20 loss this year.

Leavitt, the 2019 Class C champion, has beaten Portland, B North semifinalist Lawrence and Class A Lewiston this season. Medomak Valley is playing in its first state title game. The Panthers’ first season of varsity football was 2015. They have won six straight games since losing back-to-back contests to Class D opponents Freeport and Lisbon/St. Dominic.

THE CLASS D FINAL figures to be closer. Lisbon beat Foxcroft 14-13 in Lisbon. Either Lisbon or Foxcroft has been in the last six Class D championships. They last met in a final in 2006 in Class C. Lisbon won, 30-14.

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