This year’s Fitzpatrick Trophy finalists – Chris Carney of Wells, Joe Fitzpatrick of Cheverus and Brett Gerry of Marshwood – are accustomed to getting the handoff. On Sunday, one of these high school running backs will have the prized trophy handed to him.

The Fitzpatrick banquet begins at noon at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland. The bronze statue, which goes to the top senior football player in the state, has been awarded since 1971. It’s named for the legendary James J. Fitzpatrick, a coach and athletic director at Portland High for more than four decades.

The winner is selected from statewide votes by coaches and media. The outcome is always tough to predict, perhaps even more so this year because all three finalists are from southern Maine.

Is this the year a Fitzpatrick wins the Fitzpatrick? Cheverus candidates have been on a roll with Peter Gwilym winning in 2010 and Donald Goodrich in 2012.

Gerry may have that trumped. After all, he wore No. 44 and this is the 44th Fitzy. And the banquet’s guest speaker will be Steve Knight, who won the 1989 trophy as an outstanding running back from Marshwood.

And if Carney is selected, he would be Wells’ first Fitzpatrick winner.

All three put up impressive numbers to cap their high school careers.

Carney gained 2,077 yards and scored 30 touchdowns for Wells (8-3), which reached the Western Class C final. On defense, he made 115 tackles in the eight-game regular season.

“Chris did everything for us,” said Coach Tim Roche. “He played on all special teams, was our leading defender and never left the field. For Chris to be a finalist, it’s a great honor for him, our school, the program and the town.”

Much like he admired Louie DiTomasso, a Fitzy finalist from Wells in 2011, Carney said his candidacy gives future players something to strive for at Wells.

“I wanted to be just like Louie,” said Carney. “I was a freshman when he was a senior. I wanted to be a Fitzy finalist just like him. I never told anyone. It was a hidden dream. Now the dream has come true.”

Fitzpatrick finished as the leading rusher in Class A with 2,071 yards. He scored 27 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick had four games in which he rushed over 200 yards, one game with more than 300, and was the Eastern Class A Player of the Year. In nearly every game, Fitzpatrick sat out the fourth quarter because the Stags had a big lead.

Coach John Wolfgram called Fitzpatrick “a complete running back and our go-to-guy on offense.”

Fitzpatrick led Cheverus to an 8-2 record. The Stags lost 21-20 in overtime to Windham in the Eastern Maine final.

“It’s a very prestigious award and I’m extremely honored to be a finalist,” said Fitzpatrick. “Chris and Brett had really great seasons. I think it’s pretty much a tossup as to who wins.”

The players will have family, teammates and coaches in attendance. Said Fitzpatrick: “I would never hear the end of it if my offensive line didn’t get a meal.”

Gerry led the state in rushing with 2,263 yards and scored 32 touchdowns to lead the Hawks (12-0) to the Class B state title. He was also outstanding at linebacker. Like Fitzpatrick, he played in just over half the game because Marshwood was blowing out opponents. Of being a finalist, Gerry said: “It’s a huge accomplishment for me, the team and the community.

“To have a Class B player as a finalist says a lot about the football program. I think all three of us are pretty equal in statistics. We all deserve a shot. Whoever wins will be fine by me.”

Coach Alex Rotsko said Gerry could be the best all-around player he’s coached in 35 years.

“Everyone in our program knows how hard he’s worked the past four years,” said Rotsko.

The votes have been counted. All that’s left are for the announcement and the handoff.