June 23, 2018
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Memories of rivalries are special


There is something special about rivalry games.

They provide you with an entire second season all within the confines of one game.

There is more excitement and anticipation in the week leading up to the game.

Rivalries usually entail neighboring communities.

Several of the parents work in the rival community and are co-workers and friends with the parents of opponents.

Friday night at Doyle Field in Brewer, Bangor and Brewer high schools will meet for the 102nd time on the football field.

Class A Bangor has won the last nine meetings, including six exhibitions when Brewer was in Class B, by a combined margin of 348-41.

Bangor is 7-0 and will he heavily favored over the 1-6 Witches.

When I played football for Bangor High, the Witches were in their heyday and handled us convincingly all three years, including the year they won the Class A state championship and were ranked nationally.

Ken Perrone was one of the most charismatic and enthusiastic coaches to ever coach in the Pine Tree State and he was a masterful recruiter, promoter and salesman. He and he assistants convinced virtually every able-bodied athlete in Brewer and surrounding communities that being part of his football program was something special, something they would always remember and cherish.

Regardless of the outcomes, the memories are clear and it is always fun reminiscing with former teammates or rivals.

There used to be pep rallies before the games.

The three games were played on cold, overcast days. The fields were slippery because of recent rain or the fact the field was frozen and had thawed out.

All of our games were played at Garland Street Field, now known as Cameron Stadium.

They alternate them now between Cameron Stadium and Doyle Field in Brewer.

You recall how rampant the butterflies were in your stomach as you rode the bus silently from Bangor High School to Cameron Stadium.

You remember looking into the jam-packed stands and then seeing people standing two and three deep around the field.

You were keenly aware that some of the most talented players to ever play for the two schools would be in attendance as would most of your friends, family members and teachers.

It was an event similar to a homecoming game.

One of my lasting memories was getting flattened on the Brewer sidelines while carrying the ball my senior year and having coach Perrone help me up and pay me a compliment. It showed how classy he has always been.

It meant a lot to me.

The beauty of a rivalry game is it can singlehandedly make your season. Or, if you will, salvage it.

If you won only one game all season and that was the game you won, it easily erased the memories of all the other losses.

You had made your community and alumni proud and supplied them with bragging rights for an entire year.

Unfortunately, a lot of rivalries have fallen by the wayside or been significantly downgraded over the years.

Bangor has evolved into one of the largest schools in the state, enrollment-wise, while Brewer has constantly been on the bubble between Classes A and B.

The Rams have built a 73-20-8 lead in the series thanks to 17 victories in the last 18 meetings.

Here’s hoping that no matter how the game turns out, it provides lasting memories for all involved.

It has for me.



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