PORTLAND – For the 100th time in a tradition that began in 1911, Portland and Deering will meet at 10:30 a.m. today in the Thanksgiving Day football game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Special activities are planned for the centennial game. A color guard will be on the field for the national anthem, which will be sung by Peggy Murphy Mooers, a 1975 Portland High graduate. At halftime, former players and cheerleaders from both schools will be invited onto the field. Winter hats and baseball caps with the centennial theme will be sold along with a special game program.

Because the 1920 game was canceled, this year marks the 100th meeting on the holiday. Portland is the home team.

As for the game, Deering (6-4) will seek its second straight victory against Portland (2-6) on Thanksgiving. In their regular-season game Sept. 23, the Rams took control after a scoreless first quarter and won 28-7.

Inexperienced at the start, Portland improved as the season went on. On successive weeks, Portland lost to Thornton Academy 14-12 and Cheverus 21-7 after being tied with the Stags at halftime. Those opponents played for the Western Class A title two weeks ago, and last Saturday Cheverus won its second straight Class A title, beating Lawrence, 49-7.

Portland hasn’t played since Oct. 21 when it lost to South Portland, 20-7. Standout two-way tackle Nate Porter feels the layoff will have little if no effect on the Bulldogs.

“The time off has allowed us to practice and fine-tune every detail,” said Porter, who is considering Maine and Towson to continue his football career. “We’ve been able to work as a unit and push forward as a team.”

He is the fourth Porter to play for Portland.

His father, Luc, was a standout lineman who went on to play in college at Maine. Porter’s uncles, Mike and Quinton, were also standouts, Mike as a lineman and Quinton as a quarterback. Mike Porter played in college at New Hampshire and Quinton at Boston College. Quinton Porter currently plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

“My family’s connection to this game is a huge part of it along with it being the 100th game. Knowing my dad and two uncles played wants me to keep the tradition going,” Nate Porter said.

Deering, not regarded as a contender when the season began, won its first four games before losing to Thornton 28-21 after squandering a 14-0 lead. The Rams then edged Scarborough, got blown out by Bonny Eagle 41-7 and lost to Cheverus, 14-0.

Deering earned the fifth seed in the playoffs and avenged its loss to Bonny Eagle with a 35-28 overtime win, but then was blown out by Cheverus 45-0 in the semifinals.

That loss has weighed on the Rams ever since.

“We’re looking to end on a good note,” said senior running back Trey Thomes. “It’s a pretty big game for all of us. This is the 100th game and to get to play in it as a senior is pretty special. I think it will be a good game because Portland always plays us tough.”

Thomes’ brother, Scott, who is 14 years older, was a star running back for Portland from 1995-97.

Thomes, a policeman in South Carolina, ranks fifth in scoring in Portland history with 206 points. Thomes, who wasn’t old enough to remember when his brother played for the Bulldogs, has been a consistent runner for Deering this season.

“I’ve seen him on films,” said Thomes of his brother. “He gave me a little grief when I decided to go to Deering. The decision was based on the strength of the football team at the time.”

Portland is confident.

“We’ve been in every game with the exception of the first one (a 39-0 loss to Massabesic),” Coach Mike Bailey said.

Deering also is confident.

“From the first game to now, I feel our progress has been substantial,” said Coach Jon Gallant.

While it will be the 100th Thanksgiving Day game between the schools, overall it is the 200th game, counting Thanksgiving, regular-season and playoff games.

“It’s pretty ironic how it’s worked out that way,” said Peter Gribbin, the Fitzpatrick Stadium announcer and Portland High historian.

NOTE: Family and friends of Raina Jensen will meet at the game on the one-year anniversary of her death. She was killed by a drunk driver in Massachusetts last Thanksgiving, but was a longtime Portland resident and a Deering High graduate. She was 27. The contact person is Chris Shorr, 233-2914.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH