Yarmouth High, in the fifth year of its varsity football program, was once 1-19 early in its third season.

Since then, the Clippers have won 31 of 32 games, appeared in three Western Class C championship games, won the Class C state championship last year, and take a 23-game winning streak into the state championship game Saturday against Bucksport.

The latest victory came Saturday, 14-0 over Traip Academy in the Western Class C championship game.

Coach Jim Hartman credits his players, saying they have matured to the point where they can make adjustments on the field without input from the coaches.

“This is three years of this now,” said Hartman. “They’re very smart playoff guys. They know how to make adjustments on the field. That’s what it’s about.

“Plus they know how to reach down for a little extra. I’m amazed and honored to coach them, overwhelmed at times.”

He also said the athletic mentality at the school helps.

“In every other sport at this high school, the kids are competitive and play for championships,” said Hartman. “I think it just rubs off from one program to the other. They expect to win and we coach it that way.

“There was no doubt. You can’t have any doubt if you expect to win a championship.”

TRAIP ACADEMY, meanwhile, has also made huge strides in the last four years.

When Traip’s current seniors were in seventh grade, the Rangers were stuck in a losing streak that would eventually reach 51.

This year the Rangers finished 8-3, with two of the losses coming to Yarmouth.

“I never questioned what we were doing, I always thought this team could be something,” said Coach Ron Ross. “And you do it for the kids. Once they got in the weight room and saw the lifting and started winning, you could see the change coming.

“And it all started with these seniors. Look at them now. Great game, all of them.”

THE FIRST PLAY from scrimmage of the Western Class A final Saturday was a quarterback sweep by Cam Olson of Cheverus. It went for three yards. A year ago, the Stags ran that play a lot with Peter Gwilym.

Cheverus has some new personnel, but the focus is still the same. And like last year, Cheverus, with the same record (11-0) as a year ago, is headed to the Class A state final after its 21-10 win over Thornton Academy for the regional title.

Cheverus meets Lawrence on Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Olson is a good runner, but a better passer. With running backs Donald Goodrich and Brent Green, both juniors, the rushing attack is in good hands, even with the absence of standout Spencer Cooke because of a leg injury.

The line, sparked by guard Mike Dedian and tackle Christian Deschenes, does a great job giving the backs running room.

Olson threw the ball 11 times Saturday and completed six passes for 123 yards. Two of his prettiest throws were to wide receiver Louie DiStasio, who at 6-foot-4 is a great target with hands to match.

Late in the second quarter, Olson and DiStasio teamed up on a 33-yard completion down the sideline. DiStasio deftly got one foot inbounds.

With the Stags looking to put the game beyond reach, Olson passed to DiStasio in the corner of the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter. DiStasio went up for the ball like the basketball player he is and hauled it in for a 25-yard touchdown to make it 21-3 after his point after.

THORNTON OUTPLAYED Cheverus in the first half and led 3-0.

One had the feeling, though, it was just a matter of time before the Stags found their stride, which they did in the third quarter.

The large crowd sitting on the hill was treated to a stern challenge by Thornton and a championship response by the Stags.

Thornton’s effort could serve it well next season. The Golden Trojans return the majority of their roster next season and will be a favorite in Western Class A.

ON A TEAM dominated by seniors, Wells junior cornerback Joey Spinelli keeps popping up in the right place at the right time. For the second time in the playoffs, Spinelli picked off two passes Saturday as the Warriors remained unbeaten with a 10-0 victory over visiting Mountain Valley in the Western Class B championship game.

“He’s like a little bug out there,” quarterback Paul McDonough said. “He just runs everywhere and makes all good plays.”

A third Spinelli interception was negated by a penalty. Listed as 5-foot-8, Spinelli also had two interceptions in a quarterfinal victory over York and returned a fumble 93 yards for a touchdown in a semifinal victory over Westbrook.

Against Mountain Valley, he kicked a 24-yard field goal and a successful point after the only touchdown.

“Joey’s about 3-foot-4 and weighs about 72 pounds, but every time you look up on the field, he’s making plays,” said Wells Coach Tim Roche. “I joke around about him being 3-foot-4, but he’s a short little guy and when you look out on the field and you see he’s starting, I’d be like, ‘OK, that’s who we’re going to pick on.’ But you don’t want to go his way. He picks everything.”

EVEN WITHOUT the two fastest runners from the state championship meets — Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk and Erzsebet Nagy of Lawrence — Maine schoolgirls showed their superiority Saturday at the New England Cross Country Championships in North Scituate, R.I.

If scored as a meet between the five states involved (Massachusetts opts out because it precedes the state championships), Maine placed five runners among the top 20 to easily outdistance runner-up Vermont, 40-76. Connecticut would have been third with 79 points, followed by New Hampshire (82) and Rhode Island (83).

On the boys’ side, Maine would have been a close second to Connecticut, 42-46, followed by New Hampshire (79), Rhode Island (86) and Vermont (132).

Cheverus senior Emily Durgin and Madison senior Matt McClintock each placed third. For Durgin, the 2009 New England champion, it wrapped up a remarkable four-year run at the regional championships.

“Emily had a great race,” Cheverus Coach Valerie Guillet said. “For the fourth consecutive year, she’s in the top three, which is remarkable.”

Three years ago as freshmen, Leonardi, Durgin, Fiona Hendry of Cheverus and Abby Mace of Maranacook all finished among the top 10. On Saturday, Waterville junior Bethanie Brown was fifth, Mace seventh and Hendry eighth to again put four Mainers among the top 10.

“I didn’t think we’d ever see that again,” said Falmouth Coach Jorma Kurry. “And if you put Leonardi and Nagy in there, it would really be something.”

— Staff Writers Mike Lowe, Tom Chard and Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.