Football coaches tend to pick each other’s brain whenever they get the chance. So it’s not unusual for Tim Roche, the head coach at Wells High, to talk to Jim Aylward, the head coach at Mountain Valley in Rumford, whenever he gets a chance.

“We have a good relationship as coaches go,” said Roche.

And one the questions Roche always asks Aylward is how he continues to do it. Every year, it seems, the Falcons are not only one of the best teams in Western Class B, but in the state. Since 2000, Mountain Valley has played in nine of the 11 Western Class B championship games, including Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. encounter against Roche’s Warriors at Hosmer Field.

The Falcons have gone 99-21 in that stretch, winning state championships in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

“He tells me it’s all about distractions,” said Roche. “He says up at Mountain Valley, they don’t have the distractions we might have down here: cars, the beach, jobs. I think a lot of that came out in that movie they did (“The Rivalry,” featuring the Falcons and Cape Elizabeth).

“Not that we’re a rich district here, but our kids work and they do other stuff. Jim says they have less distractions up there. The kids have to play sports.”

More than that, said Aylward in an email, success is cultivated at a very young age.

“I think it’s definitely a culture that has developed in the community,” said Aylward, in his 21st season at Mountain Valley. “The youngsters play football with the expectation of someday playing for the MV Falcons. The community supports our efforts and the result has been consistent success.

“Kids love football and there are few other distractions around here.”

This week, both teams will have to fully concentrate on the task ahead.

Mountain Valley is 10-0. Wells is 9-1, its only blemish a 14-6 loss at Rumford on Sept. 17.

Wells, appearing in its first regional final since 2003, when it lost 22-14 to Gorham, outplayed the Falcons for much of the game. But Mountain Valley punter Rashad Lavoie ran 75 yards for a third-quarter touchdown for the winning score after dropping the long snap.

“We certainly are aware that they can play with us,” said Aylward. “We have great respect for them and we now can say from firsthand experience that their team quickness is real. Film doesn’t show quickness but live football does. They are athletic.”

Beyond that, the Warriors are playing a lot like the Falcons: They like to hit, both with a power running game and a smothering defense.

“We have kids who are sold on football,” said Roche. “They know how to win and how much work you have to put in to win. It’s a lot of fun.

“The kids have sacrificed some things to get there. And when they’re willing to do that, it makes it a lot easier to coach.”

While Wells lost the regular- season game to the Falcons, they now have the feeling they can win in Rumford, something they didn’t always think they could do.

“The kids are excited,” said Roche. “They understand that if we’re going to win a championship, we should have to go to Mountain Valley to beat Mountain Valley.

“If we want to claim to be one of the best teams in the league, that road runs through Rumford.”

So what does this game come down to?

For Mountain Valley, said Aylward, the Falcons simply have to play better than they did in the first game.

For Wells, said Roche, the keys are the same as always.

“Don’t turn the ball over, keep our penalties to an absolute minimum and control the ball,” said Roche.

“Of course, that’s much easier said than done against a team like this.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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