Skowhegan celebrates after defeating Falmouth to win the Class B North football championship Friday at Lewiston High School. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

PORTLAND — There’ll be plenty of scoreboard-watching for high school football fans across the state this weekend — even for those making the trips to two of Maine’s biggest cities to attend the state title games in person.

Times and dates have been set for this weekend’s state championship games at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland and Cameron Stadium in Bangor. Games will be held simultaneously at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. with Fitzpatrick hosting the Class A and Class B finals and Cameron hosting the C and D title games.

Locally, Class B North No. 2 Skowhegan (9-2) will take on Class B South No. 1 Portland (8-3) at 2:30 p.m., Saturday. The matchup will see one of two teams end a championship drought; Skowhegan has not won a state title since 1978, and Portland’s last Gold Ball came in 2002.

That afternoon showdown will follow the Class A championship game between No. 1 Oxford Hills (10-0) and No. 2 Thornton Academy (8-2) at 11 a.m. It’s a rematch of both last year’s Class A final, won 42-27 by the Trojans, and this season’s Week 2 battle, won 25-20 by the Vikings.

Up in Bangor, the morning game will pit top-ranked Foxcroft Academy (9-1) against No. 3 Lisbon/St. Dominic (7-3) in the Class D title game. The matchup features the last two state championship winners in the class, which was won by the Greyhounds in 2019 and the Ponies last year.

The Class D game will also be the second matchup this season between Foxcroft and Lisbon. In Week 3, the Greyhounds defeated the Ponies 14-13 to give Foxcroft, which is 20-1 since Class D moved to a statewide format a year ago, its only loss of the decade thus far.


The 2:30 p.m., game at Cameron Stadium will pit the No. 1 seeds from Class C against one another as North winner Medomak Valley (9-2) takes on South champ Leavitt (10-0). The Hornets are in search of their seventh Gold Ball, while the Panthers are making their state title game appearance.


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Skowhegan’s Quintcey McCray (3) reaches out for a touchdown catch as he is defended by Lawrence’s Lucas Proctor (88) during a Class B North football game Nov. 4 in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

After giving up an uncharacteristic 48 points in the Class B North semifinal win over Lawrence, Skowhegan was determined to get its defense back to early-season form in Friday’s regional title game against Falmouth.

The River Hawks did just that in the 28-20 win over the Navigators, completely shutting down a Falmouth rushing attack that had the tools to gash Skowhegan for the same massive yardage the Bulldogs did one week earlier. Of the Navigators’ three touchdowns, one came on defense, and another came with the game pretty much in hand late in the fourth quarter.

Falmouth ran for just 71 yards on 19 carries against Skowhegan, which had given more than 300 on the ground (more than three-quarters of that by Parker Higgins) against Lawrence. It was an effort, head coach Ryan Libby said, that came as a result of the River Hawks maintaining the kind of gap integrity they failed to display a week earlier.


“We were able to get a body in a gap and really close down lanes,” Libby said. “Last week, whether it be just a mismatch or a great job by Lawrence, we found ourselves opening up big lanes at the line of scrimmage, and if you give Higgins a lane, he’s going to take it.”

The backfield duo of Finn Caxton-Smith and Indi Backman had been a dominant force for Falmouth all season. In Caxton-Smith, the Navigators boasted one of the fastest athletes in program history with the senior holding the school’s 100-meter dash record; in Backman, they had a back that, while young, was one of Class B North’s toughest runners.

Neither of them could get anything going against Skowhegan on Friday night. The River Hawks shut out the running lanes quickly to prevent Caxton-Smith from accelerating, and their beefy defensive linemen stopped Backman from grinding for significant yardage.

“Caxton can really hit those lanes if you give him a chance, but we were able to get bodies in the lanes and really make sure that it wasn’t a quick hitter for him,” Libby said. “He had to pick and choose, bounce outside and cut back, and we were able to swarm to the ball.”


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Waterville wide receiver Spencer Minihan, center, makes a catch between Yarmouth cornerback Sam Bradford, left, and cornerback Liam Henning in the eight man Large school football championship Saturday at Fuller Field in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Waterville football fell short of a Gold Ball in Saturday’s eight-man Large School championship game — but the effort might just have been the Purple Panthers’ finest.

It took an 86-yard drive that culminated with a touchdown in the final minute for Yarmouth to squeak out a 30-26 win in the state title game at Cony High School. The result marked a heartbreaking end to a special postseason for the Panthers, who had grinded out wins over Morse and Mt. Desert Island to reach the state final.

“Our guys played about as well as I could have asked them to play,” said Waterville head coach Isaac LeBlanc. “They did everything we asked them to do in the game plan; they repped it, they studied, and they executed. We took them right down to the wire, and it just didn’t go our way.”

Just as it did in the regional title game win over MDI, Waterville came back from a halftime deficit to take the lead midway through the second half. It held that lead until 30 seconds remained when Michael McGonagle, one of the state’s top backs, plowed into the end zone for the game-winner.

Although the drive that led to Yarmouth’s winning touchdown was backbreaking, it wasn’t, LeBlanc said, a result of poor play from the Waterville defense. The Panthers made a number of key plays and forced the Clippers into numerous fourth-down situations, but an elite Yarmouth team just kept finding ways to answer.

“Our defense wasn’t bad on that drive; they had three or four fourth downs, and they converted every one of them,” LeBlanc said. “It came down to just a couple of plays. From a fan’s perspective, I’m sure it was a great game for fans to watch, but it’s tough being on the other end of that.”

The future, though, is still plenty bright for a Waterville team that will lose just six seniors to graduation. Yet for seniors Gage Hubbard, Spencer Minihan, Tyson Smith, Cobe LeClair, Noel Balog and Ethan Gilman, ending things so close to (yet so far from) a Gold Ball is a difficult feeling.

“I think that’s what makes it tough because we played so well, and it’s those seniors’ last game,” LeBlanc said. “They’re a great group of kids, and they’re going to be missed. I couldn’t be more proud of them and our whole team.”

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