There have been several feel-good stories among high school football teams in southern Maine this season.

Noble (5-3), the sixth seed in Class B South, is assured of its first winning season since 2006 – the last time the Knights made a playoff appearance. On Friday, the Knights will be at Falmouth in a quarterfinal.

Gorham beat Noble 35-7 last Friday to improve to 4-4, its best record since 2011 – and far better than a stretch from 2012-16, when it won just one game.

Gorham’s first playoff appearance since 2008 will be Friday at No. 2 Marshwood in a Class B South quarterfinal.

Cheverus cinched its first winning season in Mike Vance’s three years as head coach. The Stags (6-2) are seeded third in Class A North and host Bangor (1-7) at Deering’s Memorial Field at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Last week, Cheverus won at Bangor, 49-7. It was the third straight week Cheverus scored at least 43 points.

Then there’s Fryeburg Academy, seeded second in Class C South.

Since a season-opening 36-14 loss to Class D contender Lisbon, Fryeburg has outscored opponents, 220-33. Its defense hasn’t allowed more than one score in a game. The Raiders’ streak includes consecutive road wins at then-unbeaten Leavitt (13-0) and defending South champ Cape Elizabeth (27-7).

“In big games, we’ve turned teams over,” said Fryeburg Coach David Turner. “That helps, and we’ve also possessed the ball quite a bit. One does complement the other.”

Turner said line play is the strength of a team directed by three-year quarterback Oscar Saunders.

Tucker Buzzell, Reece Kneisler, and Josh Frye have been two-way standouts in the trenches, with Kempton Maillett and Arnold Jabar joining them on the offensive line. Jack Campbell and Calvin Southwick are other key defensive players.

Fryeburg hosts No. 7 Yarmouth at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Fryeburg beat Yarmouth 35-0 in Week 4, but Turner said Yarmouth is much improved, pointing to the Clippers’ 29-28 loss last week to Cape Elizabeth. Cape scored a touchdown on the final play, then won on a 2-point conversion.

“Since that first game we’ve kind of come to the understanding that we have to play well,” Turner said. “Yarmouth’s quarterback (Noah Eckersley-Ray) is good. They’re playing well. If we don’t play well, we can lose to anybody.”

NOTES: The 107th annual Thanksgiving game between Portland and Deering will be played at Deering’s Memorial Field instead of Fitzpatrick Stadium. Kickoff is 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 22. Portland Athletic Director Rob O’Leary said the plan going forward is to alternate sites. … Gotta love those wacky Heal points. In Class C North, MDI walloped Belfast 56-14 last Friday. That gave MDI three wins compared to Belfast’s two. Belfast qualified for the eighth and final playoff spot on the strength of its win against Boothbay, a 4-4 Class E squad. MDI finished ninth. … Bonny Eagle (5-3) might benefit from its unanticipated bye because of South Portland’s decision not to enter the playoffs. The Scots have lost three straight for the first time since 2012, allowing 119 total points against top-tier teams Oxford Hills (6-2), Thornton (8-0) and Scarborough (6-1).

STATE OF THE STATE: Even with three one-point games, the average margin of victory in the final week of the regular season was above the season average at 25.23 points per game. This season, the 311 regular-season games were decided by an average of 24.96 points. That’s an increase from 2017, when the state had its lowest victory margin (23.8) since 2012. This season, there were fewer games decided by seven points or less (17.7 percent) than last year (20.1 percent), but also fewer blowouts of 35 points or more (28.6 percent compared to 29.6).

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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