PORTLAND – When Tom LaChance interviewed for the job of defensive coordinator for the Yarmouth High football team this summer, he made sure to mention an unchangeable three-week family trip to Aruba he had booked to leave the Monday after the regional final.

Yarmouth hired him anyway, which led to an emotional address to the team after the Clippers overcame a two-touchdown deficit in that regional final to beat Lisbon last weekend, 14-12.

“He was getting kind of teary at the end,” said senior safety Tommy O’Toole. “He’s so involved with us, it’s hard not to be there. He’s the kind of guy, the first day you meet him, you feel like you’ve known him your whole life.”

“He was torn up,” said senior nose guard Billy Clabby. “We were all very supportive. It’s rough to have him leave, but to see him like that shows how much he really cares about us.”

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Yarmouth High, LaChance returned to the warm embrace of his team, thanks to the generosity of a Yarmouth family that took paid for him to fly back home for one day for the Class C state championship game.

“It was awesome,” LaChance said of the reunion. “High-fives with all the kids. It was like coming out of the tunnel at a college football game.”

LaChance thanked the Proscia family as well as his wife, Tamara. They have five kids and go on an extended vacation every other year.

“She’s the rock,” he said, “the coach’s dream wife. She said to make sure to wish the boys good luck and make sure this game is worth coming home for.”

After Saturday’s championship game, LaChance was due back on a bus to Boston at 3:15 a.m. for his morning return flight to Aruba, where he spent the past week studying the Stearns offense and its tendencies.

LaChance also coaches the Old Orchard Beach baseball team and was the driving force behind the resurrection of The Ballpark in that town. He’s now the postmaster in Yarmouth.

“He’s just a tremendous coach,” said Yarmouth head coach Jim Hartman. “We kind of feed off each other. I’m more in your face, let’s get the problem solved right now. He’s a lot calmer. It’s been a nice mixture.”

DON’T EXPECT the three football state championship games to be played anywhere in the near future but Fitzpatrick Stadium, where they have been played since 2002.

That’s the word from Dick Durost, executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association.

The University of Maine has expressed interest, but that could be down the road.

Durost also said the proposal to go to four football classes, which is being discussed, likely won’t happen next year.

The proposal was met with early enthusiasm but has cooled as leagues look more closely at realignments.

CAM OLSEN, a junior quarterback and defensive back for Cheverus, got the thrill of his injury-plagued season when he returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the 46-8 victory against Bangor for the Class A championship.

This was the only game of the season for Olsen.

MOUNTAIN VALLEY running back Taylor Bradley returned to play his senior season for the Falcons after playing for Skowhegan last year.

“I had to be back with the guys I grew up with,” he said.

That feeling of family was strengthened even more when a former teammate, Danny Garneau, died in April from leukemia. Garneau would have been a senior this year.

Bradley had to tough it out. His shoulder popped out twice and was popped back into place each time by the medical staff during the 20-0 victory against Leavitt in the Class B final.

After the game, Mountain Valley lifted the Gold Ball skyward to remember Garneau, whose father, Jeff, is an assistant coach with the Falcons.

MOUNTAIN VALLEY Coach Jim Aylward called his captains to his side after the Class B final. They dropped to one knee on the Fitzpatrick Stadium turf, away from the celebrating team. Could Christian Durland share what was said?

“I can,” said Durland. But he couldn’t. How does one condense a season of victories and heartaches, of triumph and challenges?

“He told us how proud he was of us.”

Aylward was proud of the entire team, but among dozens of freshmen, sophomores and upperclassmen, there has to be leadership. “This was for Danny Garneau. We lost him this (spring).”

BRADY FERGOLA, wearing his Mountain Valley jacket with a 2006 and 2008 state championship patch, and Tyler Chiasson, wearing his 2009 Dirigo High championship jacket, saw each other near the concession stand. They embraced.

It doesn’t matter that Fergola played for a Class B team and Chiasson graduated from a Class C school. Rumford and Dixfield are neighboring, but not rival towns.

Staff Writers Tom Chard, Glenn Jordan and Steve Solloway contributed to this report.