Hamdpen Academy senior Robert Palmer, right, of Winterport shares a quiet moment with his girlfriend amidst the din of Friday evening's football game with Old Town High School at Hampden Sept. 16, 2011.
As they wait in the concession line, three-year-old Rylan Gagner of Hampden mischievously covers his dad, Rob Gagner's face with his dad's cap during halftime intermnission for Friday evening's football game with Old Town High School at Hampden.
Emily Guillow, left, puts some last minute touches on fellow cheerleader Skyler Porter's hair before the start Hampden Academy's football game with Old Town High School in Hampden Friday evening, Sept. 16, 2011.
Donning a purple hat, P.J. McCluskey, wife of Hampden Academy football coach Harry McCluskey stands with other fans during the playing of the National Anthem before the start of Friday evening's home football game with Old Town High School.
A referee signals a Hampden Academy extra point during Friday evening's football game with Old Town High School at Hampden.
On a recent late summer night, campus cliques and other supporting cast surround a central Maine gridiron as electric cauldrons of molten cheese and hot chocolate reach critical mass.
The whistle blows, a pigskin is launched and the devotees, most swathed in their flannel, blankets, hoodies or pajamas, anxiously watch their padded, bandaged warriors perform on the plastic grass arena. The roar of a purple-clad marching band punctuates their shouts and grunts and the resultant cacophony rises well above pom-poms, silly hats and moth-lamp haze.
There are 48 minutes — give or take — for all of this: for the punts, the passes, the stolen glances, the high notes and the low — all executed with the hope of victory song.