Heading into last year’s state championship games at Fitzpatrick Stadium, five of the six teams had unbeaten records. This year all six are 11-0.

That certainly adds an element of excitement to the already anticipated matchups.

Western Maine champions Cheverus and Yarmouth have the opportunity to finish at 12-0 for the second straight season. The Stags play Lawrence of Fairfield in Class A at 11:06 a.m. The Clippers meet Bucksport in Class C at 2:36 p.m.

The Class B final has Wells squaring off with Leavitt of Turner at 6:06 p.m.

Leavitt is making its third straight trip to the final. The Hornets beat Cape Elizabeth 35-21 in 2009 and lost to Mountain Valley 20-0 last year.

Wells is making its first appearance in 14 years. The Warriors beat Belfast 32-30 for the Class B title in 1997.

Bucksport last appeared in a state football final in 2004, beating Jay, 42-20.

Lawrence has a long history of state final appearances, in Class B and now Class A. This will be the Bulldogs’ seventh appearance in a Class A final. They are 1-5 in previous games. Lawrence’s lone win was in 2006 when it beat Gorham, 14-13. When they were in Class B, the Bulldogs won state titles in 1973, 1983 and 1984.

Cheverus is 2-0 in state finals. The Stags won their first under the playoff system in 1985, beating Lewiston.

Since 1967, when the playoff system began (North vs. South) in Class A, southern schools have won 29 state titles while northern schools have won 15, counting Lewiston and Edward Little as northern teams.

WHILE THE SIX state finalists have been busy preparing, two other schools are readying for a final game in 2011. For the 100th time, Deering and Portland will play on Thanksgiving Day. As usual, the game will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The holiday series began in 1911. It’s the centennial game because the 1920 game was canceled because of poor weather.

Portland (2-6) hasn’t played since losing to South Portland 20-7 on Oct. 21. The Bulldogs have continued to practice, mixing in fun things to do while gradually building up their practice time and focus.

Deering (6-4) lost to Cheverus 45-0 in the Western Class A semifinals two weeks ago. The score was surprising because the Rams beat Bonny Eagle a week earlier and only lost to the Stags 14-0 a week before that.

Coach Jon Gallant gave his players a week off after the playoff loss. Deering did some running and lifting. On Tuesday, the Rams returned to the practice field.

“We took last week off to get our heads back together,” said Gallant, in his first season as head coach.”Having the time off was nice.”

Gallant certainly isn’t a stranger to the traditional game. He totaled 10 seasons over two stints as an assistant to Greg Stilphen before becoming head coach this season.

“Once you become a part of it, you realize how important it is. It’s the 100th game so it’s a really big deal,” he said.

No player or coach in the history of the rivalry has had more direct involvement than Mike Bailey, who has been a coach at Portland for 31 seasons (26 as head coach) and who played in the game from 1970-72 as a two-way tackle for Deering.

“I’ve always called it a true city homecoming,” said Bailey, who has the most wins of any coach in the game’s history (16).

“You have people of all ages who attend the game. My 92-year-old uncle is going.”

Deering beat Portland 28-7 in Week 4. After a scoreless first quarter, the Rams used a blocked punt by Josh Carland early in the second quarter to get untracked. Trey Thomes scooped up the punt and ran 51 yards for the touchdown. Deering led 21-0 in the third quarter before the Bulldogs cut it to 21-7 on a 14-yard run by Jayvon Pitts-Young. The Rams added a fourth-quarter touchdown.

WHILE THE END to the season was disappointing (a 21-10 loss to Cheverus in the regional final), Thornton Academy (9-2) can look back with a lot of satisfaction.

“Overall it was a great season,” said Coach Kevin Kezal. “We lost to a team that was better than us. We entered the season with a tougher schedule than in the past and were kind of concerned about getting enough wins for the playoffs.”

The Golden Trojans were young when the season began. The underclassmen performed admirably, but the seniors provided the leadership, said Kezal.

“The seniors we’re losing are great leaders. When we trailed Deering 14-0 early in the game, the seniors rallied us. If not, it could have been a lopsided Deering win. You don’t know if you’re going to have that kind of leadership next season. You hope so, but those are the intangibles that make the difference between a real good season and an average season.”

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

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Twitter: TomChardPPH