Wells is on a 28-game winning streak. Marshwood is 23-1 the past two seasons. Can they continue their dominance in 2019?

“Oh yeah. I’m confident in our ability and I think we’ll be well off next year,” said Marshwood junior John Valentine, who had an interception, a fumble recovery and a touchdown catch Saturday in a 49-0 win over Brunswick in the Class B state final. “I think it’s great for the underclassmen because they get the experience of big games. They get to see what it’s like playing in big games. Now they’re just prepared for it.”

All predictions for next season come with the large caveat that realignment is coming. Until the MPA sorts that out, there is significant uncertainty about which teams will play in which divisions.

Marshwood will graduate 16 players, including starting quarterback Tommy Springer and mainstay linemen Adam Doyon, Drew Gregor and Ian Dures. But there are 15 juniors, including Valentine and athletic defensive end Connor Caverly, who has backed up Springer for two seasons.

Wells, the Class D champion, graduates only seven seniors. One is Tyler Bridge, a special talent. But Payton MacKay proved in the playoffs he has the tools to transition to lead dog in the Warriors’ rushing attack, as Bridge did this season with the graduation of 2017 Fitzpatrick finalist Nolan Potter. Matt Tufts and Jonah Potter return as superior defenders and good running backs.

FOR THE SECOND year in a row, Marshwood showed in the state final that its offense is much more than a running attack. In 2017, the Hawks upstaged Skowhegan’s touted aerial show with three touchdown passes in the first half to jump ahead quickly in what would be a 63-20 win.

Springer came out slinging again against Brunswick, completing a quick out on the first play of the game to Jake Lindsay.

“After that first pass we were like, ‘OK, we can throw against these guys,’ so we passed the ball more than usual,” Springer said.

He finished the first half 8 of 11 for 159 yards and two scores, then completed his only attempt in the second half.

“When you have a quarterback like Tommy, it allows you to do more things than you have in the past,” Valentine said.

THORNTON ACADEMY’S Anthony Bracamonte capped a season of big plays with four touchdowns – three receiving, one on a punt return – in a 49-14 win against Portland for the Class A title. He gained 274 all-purpose yards. Two would-be scores (punt return and long run) were negated by penalties.

For the season, Bracamonte gained 2,122 all-purpose yards with 27 touchdowns, including 11 in the playoffs.

“You look at what he did the last three weeks, he had 200 yards in the semifinals, almost 400 (total) yards last week, and I don’t know what he did today, but I don’t think there’s any question who the best player in the state of Maine is,” said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal.

PORTLAND’S ZACK ELOWITCH furthered his own case as a premier player. Early in the Class A final, Portland put Elowitch into the Wildcat formation, and it was clear who would be getting the ball. Elowitch responded with 244 yards on 34 pounding carries, with touchdown runs of 66 and 67 yards. That gives him 1,957 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns, with a Thanksgiving Day game coming up against Deering.

“He set the all-time (Portland) season record for yardage today,” said Portland Coach Jim Hartman. “He had to get to 1,904 yards, so he smashed it. Hopefully, (the Deering game) can put him over 2,000 yards, and for him, individually, at least we can take something out of this.”

Justin Zukowski held the Portland single-season record.

ROCHE AND KEZAL won their fourth state titles at their schools. Roche, who has a career record of 148-62, has won in three different class in the last eight seasons – 2011 in Class B, 2016 in Class C, and the last two years in Class D. Thornton’s championships under Kezal are in the last seven seasons – 2012, 2014-15, 2018. His career record is 142-44.

This was Kezal’s first unbeaten season. And it came after a preseason in which the Trojans lost three prominent players. Expected starting quarterback Will Mitchell transferred to a Florida school, standout receiver C.J. LaBreck underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, and linebacker/fullback Jason Montano decide to skip football to focus on track and field.

“The kids have had a great year. They’ve answered the bell every single time,” Kezal said. “I think everyone around was worried about those things, but you talk to our kids in the locker room, we were locked in. We had a great group. We were happy with the kids we had in the locker room and they did a great job this year.”

Senior captain Athan Gikas put it this way: “We believe in each other. This is the group of guys we always envisioned us doing it with. We worked our tails off to get here, and it paid off today. Since we were kids, we looked up to the guys who did this before us, and now we have a chance to say that we did it.”

FRYEBURG ACADEMY Coach David Turner tried to find a way for his team to add insurance to a 12-7 lead over Nokomis in the Class C final. The Raiders missed out on some big plays, then gave up a touchdown on a 68-yard punt return and lost 13-12.

“We knew it was going to be a defensive struggle,” Turner said. “And in those things, the big plays are what make the difference, and they made the biggest one of all.”

Turner spent several minutes after the game consoling his seniors. Of Fryeburg’s 33-man roster, 10 will be graduating, including the entire offensive line and three-year starting quarterback Oscar Saunders.

Among the returning Raiders will be leading rusher and outside linebacker Calvin Southwick and tight end/defensive lineman Eli Mahan.

NOKOMIS COACH Jake Rogers held onto the championship trophy as if he might never let go. But Rogers knows where the school’s first Gold Ball is going to go. Nokomis is moving into a $53 million complex next year.

“This makes a good opening gift,” Rogers said.

It’s just the school’s second state championship, across all sports, in its 50-year history. Nokomis won a track and field championship in 1985.

Nokomis has fielded a football team for only 12 years. The Warriors struggled in Class B including back-to-back 0-8 seasons in 2015-16, but made a big step forward when it moved to Class C last year.