Nokomis vs. Fryeburg Academy
Time, site: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Fitzpatrick Stadium, Portland
Records: Nokomis 7-4, Fryeburg Academy 10-1
Game notes: Two new regional title holders vie for their first state crown under the current playoff system, though Fryeburg Academy’s program does boast previous state championship experience in Class C in 1963 and shared top honors with John Bapst of Bangor in 1965. Nokomis, the lowest regional seed (fourth) to make any of the state finals, has turned up its defense during postseason play, yielding just two touchdowns in Class C North victories over Medomak Valley of Waldoboro (38-6), top-ranked and two-time defending state champion Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (13-0) and Hermon (13-6). Senior linebacker Quinton Richards has been the defensive catalyst for coach Jake Rogers’ club, while classmate David Wilson and a physical line have been at the heart of a ball-control offense directed by fourth-year starting quarterback Andrew Haining. Fryeburg suffered a 36-14 home-field loss in its first game this season to Class D Lisbon/Saint Dominic but since then has yielded just 59 points in its 10 consecutive victories, including a 20-13 win at top-seeded Leavitt of Turner Center in the Class C South final. Led by quarterback Oscar Saunders and running back Calvin Southwick, Fryeburg has outscored its three playoff foes to date by a combined 84-26.
Foxcroft Academy vs. Wells
Time, site: 7 p.m. Saturday, Morse Field, University of Maine, Orono
Records: Foxcroft Academy 10-0, Wells 11-0
Game notes: This marks the lone rematch of a 2017 state final, with Wells a 48-0 victor in last year’s Class D championship game played in Portland. Foxcroft fared well while playing on the artificial turf at Hampden Academy last Saturday, rushing for 369 of its 430 total yards during a 43-26 victory over Bucksport in the Class D North Little Ten Conference final. Senior quarterback Matt Spooner (13 carries, 139 yards) and classmate Michaleb Niles (13-98) led the way, but five different running backs rushed for touchdowns. Foxcroft will be making its 14th appearance in a state championship game overall and fourth under current 10th-year head coach Danny White. Foxcroft last won the gold ball in 2012 in Class C. Wells not only has football state championships in Class C in 2016 and Class D last fall, but also is the two-time reigning Class B wrestling state champion and won the Class B South boys basketball crown last winter. The Warriors’ football team features an imposing ground game led by 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior Tyler Bridge, who has rushed for 2,132 yards and 37 touchdowns this fall. Junior fullback Payton MacKay ran for 269 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries in last Friday’s 54-6 win over Oak Hill of Wales in the Class D South finale. Coach Tim Roche’s club is undefeated in its past 27 games, though the North holds a 4-1 lead over the South in state finals played at UMaine since the four-class system for high school football was reinstated in 2013.
Brunswick vs. Marshwood
Time, site: 6 p.m. Saturday, Fitzpatrick Stadium, Portland
Records: Brunswick 8-3, Marshwood 10-1
Game notes: These teams are playing in the Class B state final for the fourth time in the past five years but face each other for the first time since back-to-back meetings in 2014 and 2015 — both won by Marshwood of South Berwick. Marshwood, also the defending state champion after defeating Skowhegan in the 2017 final, has won 19 state championships in school history with one in Class A, four in Class B, 13 in Class C and one in Class D. Marshwood is 68-12 with three state championships since Alex Rotsko became the head coach in 2012. The Hawks avenged their only loss of the past two seasons last Saturday, edging Kennebunk 14-13 in the Class B South final. Tommy Springer threw two touchdown passes in that game while the Marshwood defense held previously unbeaten Kennebunk to 70 rushing yards. Brunswick trailed in both its regional semifinal and championship games but held both Cony of Augusta two weeks ago and Lawrence of Fairfield last week scoreless after intermission to post come-from-behind victories in its effort to capture its second state title in three years. Coach Dan Cooper’s club defeated Kennebunk 28-6 in the 2016 state game but lost to the Rams 42-0 in Week 4 this season.
Portland vs. Thornton Academy
Time, site: 11 a.m. Saturday, Fitzpatrick Stadium, Portland
Records: Portland 9-1, Thornton Academy 10-0
Game notes: Thornton is making its first appearance in the Class A state final in three seasons after winning the gold ball three times in the previous four years (2012, 2014 and 2015). The Trojans ended a two-year postseason losing streak against Scarborough with a 53-21 victory over the defending Class A state champions in the South regional final. Senior captain Anthony Bracamonte led the way by rushing for 300 yards and three touchdowns and returning the second-half kickoff 82 yards for another score. TA’s high-scoring ways against Scarborough were no fluke — coach Kevin Kezal’s club has averaged 50.5 points per game this fall. Portland, seeking its first state championship since 2002, is playing in the final for the third time in four years, including a 24-14 loss to Thornton Academy in 2015. The Bulldogs feature senior running back Zach Elowitch, whose 7-yard scoring run in overtime gave Portland a 21-14 victory over Oxford Hills of South Paris in the Class A North final. Elowitch has rushed for 1,713 yards and 19 touchdowns on 213 carries this fall. Nathan Kapongo, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior, is a defensive leader for the Bulldogs with 16 sacks.