Cheverus’ Boulos Stadium sits at the base of a large hill that looks out on Back Bay and the Portland skyline.

On Saturday, the crowd stretched from one end of the hill to the other and covered it from top to bottom. Fans were standing several rows deep toward one end of the hill, along the road that leads down to the field, as well as out past the scoreboard on the other end.

All eyes were on the Western Class A football final between Cheverus and Deering.

And what transpired before the large crowd ranks as one of the most exciting high school football games in recent years. Cheverus appeared as if it would blow out Deering for the second time this season, leading 29-6 with more than 10 minutes left in the first half. But Deering battled back, scoring 28 straight points to take a 34-29 lead with 7:38 to go.

The Stags, showing their true grit, drove 70 yards for the winning score. But they but had to hold off a gallant bid by the Rams to win it. Jamie Ross’ field goal from 36 yards just missed, and the Stags were soon celebrating after quarterback Peter Gwilym took a knee with less than a second remaining.

“This was our biggest gate,” said Cheverus Athletic Director Gary Hoyt, who estimated the crowd at between 4,100 and 4,500.

It was the fifth straight home game for Cheverus. The previous largest crowd was against Bonny Eagle in a battle of unbeatens on Oct. 16.

While it’s hard to estimate the size of a crowd without stands, this one was certainly large. And for a $5 adult admission price, Hoyt wouldn’t have any disputes when he said: “I think they got their money’s worth.”

DEERING LINEBACKER John Miranda has had a strong season, but he was particularly effective stopping the run on Saturday. In the third quarter, Miranda, a senior, came up with back-to-back fumble recoveries. On the first, he took the ball away from Spencer Cooke. On the second, he pounced on a loose ball after forcing a fumble by Evan Jendrasko.

Deering couldn’t capitalize on the first recovery, as Cheverus linebacker Zach Dulac gave the ball back to his team with an interception of a Jamie Ross pass. The play ended with the game’s hardest hit, when Ross flew across the field and launched his 210-pound body into Dulac and knocked him to the ground.

Miranda’s second recovery led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Ross that cut the Cheverus lead to 29-27.

LOUIE DISTASIO has become a key part of Cheverus’ passing attack in the playoffs as a favorite target of Peter Gwilym. DiStasio caught a 38-yard touchdown pass with 10:41 left in the first half to give the Stags a 29-6 lead after his extra point.

DiStasio is the team’s strong-legged kicker, and it wasn’t until recently that he’s been used as a receiver. DiStasio, a junior, has good speed and excellent hands, as you might expect from someone who is one of the Stags’ top basketball players.

WELLS HIGH’S football season may have ended in disappointment and tears as the Warriors lost 18-0 to Mountain Valley in the Western Class B final on Saturday, but Coach Tim Roche said standards have been set.

“We’ll be back, we expect this now,” said Roche. “It’s now become, ‘This what we should be doing.’ We’ll be back. It’s not the end of the world. You just feel bad for the seniors. They wanted it so bad and worked so hard for it.”

The Warriors had only six seniors and likely will contend next fall.

Penalties hurt the Warriors, as was the case all year.

A false start on fourth-and-1 forced Wells to punt. Two holding penalties within three plays wiped out two touchdowns.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” said Roche. “In a championship game, you can’t do that. Maybe at times our youth showed. I don’t know. I can’t tell you the reasons. All I know is it happened.”

But Roche made it clear that Mountain Valley’s defense was the reason it won this game.

“There’s a reason they’re undefeated,” he said.

MOUNTAIN VALLEY showed a great touch of class. Before the game, Coach Jim Aylward sent assistant Jeff Garneau out with the captains for the team meeting. Then, after the game, he had Garneau go out to receive the regional championship trophy with the captains.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Aylward said as Garneau raised the plaque high.

Garneau’s son, Dan, died in April after a fight with leukemia. The former football player would have turned 18 on Saturday, and several Falcons said, “Happy Birthday, Danny” after the game. The elder Garneau joined the team as an assistant this fall.

“Over the course of the summer we decided Jeff needed to be around these kids, and Jeff wanted to be around the kids,” said Aylward. “He kind of stepped in for both me and his son.

“I’ve been down this road before and this was very important to Jeff. He has never wavered in his belief that we were going to play in Fitzpatrick Stadium.”

– Staff Writers Tom Chard and Mike Lowe contributed to this report.