Thornton Academy’s Anthony Bracamonte breaks off a long run during the Class A state final last Saturday. Jason Gendron Photography

Big-time players step up in big games.
That famous quote from former University of Miami and NFL wide receiver Santana Moss was the first thing that came to mind when I sat down to write this column.
That’s because it’s absolutely true — and I had the chance to witness two big-time players do just that last weekend.
Thornton Academy’s Anthony Bracamonte and Wells’ Tyler Bridge both finished off their stellar high school careers with one last monster performance during Championship Saturday.
Bracamonte ran for 100 yards, caught five passes for 144 yards and scored four times — including one on a punt return — as he led the Golden Trojans to a 49-14 win over Portland in the Class A title game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Later that night, Bridge would run wild at the University of Maine as the senior running back ran for over 200 yards and five touchdowns, while also tossing a TD pass in the Warriors’ 55-20 win over Foxcroft Academy in the Class D final.
Heading into Saturday’s action, Bracamonte and Bridge were both favorites to take home the annual James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy. And unfortunately for Fitzy voters, neither one did us any favors in helping us decide who to rank on top of our ballots.
The list of Fitzpatrick nominees hasn’t been released yet, but I’m pretty sure Bridge will have better overall numbers than anyone in the state.

Wells senior Tyler Bridge looks to get past a Foxcroft Academy defender during the Class D state final last Saturday. Jason Gendron Photography

The Wells senior ran for 2,390 yards and 42 touchdowns. He also had one receiving score, two passing touchdowns and took two kick returns to the house. Bridge averaged over 11 yards per carry and was truly the driving force behind a potent Warriors offense.
We also can’t forget his 45.5 average as the team’s punter, and his 48 tackles and four interceptions on defense for the Warriors.
On the other hand, Bracamonte is simply, in my opinion, the most electrifying player in the state — both on offense and special teams.
The TA senior finished with 1,013 rushing yards (on just 93 carries), 578 receiving yards and 524 yards on punt and kick returns. Bracamonte had 27 total touchdowns — with 11 receiving, 9 rushing, 5 punt return and 2 kick return scores.
Probably the most impressive part of Bracamonte’s stats are his 10.9 yards per carry and 21.4 yards per catch. He also averaged 30 yards per punt return and 37.3 yards per kick return. Those averages really show how dynamic the TA senior was this season.
What makes the decision even tougher is the fact that both players are just overall great kids and both deserve the award.
There’s no doubt in my mind that one of these two will take home the prestigious award and I also know I will have them at the top of my ballot.
The only question is who will I rank first? Luckily I will have a little time to make my decision, but it certainly won’t be an easy choice.
Blowout problem?
It was a great weekend for teams in the Journal Tribune coverage area as both Thornton and Wells cruised to state championships, but others look at those final scores as a problem for the state.
When you add in Marshwood’s lopsided 49-0 victory over Brunswick in the Class B game, three of the four state finals were decided by an average of nearly 40 points. The only close game was the Class C title game where Nokomis beat Fryeburg Academy 13-12.
The Maine Principals’ Association football committee will meet on Nov. 29 to further discuss the possibility of changing the classes for next season. It also looks like a new 8-man football class will be created for the 2019 season.
I wrote a column last year about changing how the MPA decides which class a program is placed in. Currently it is all based on enrollment numbers. I believe it should be a mix of school size and the strength of the program — from the youth level to the varsity level.
The MPA would need to involve more people in the process and it would take more work each year — but I believe it’s the right thing to do.
Another option I believe should be looked at is getting rid of the current regions. The MPA’s goal should be to get the two best teams to square off in the state final.
Unfortunately, as the regions are currently constructed, it seems like most years the stronger teams are coming from the southern part of the state — and the two tops teams in the state are often meeting in the South regional final.
Look at Class B this year where Kennebunk and Marshwood played two classic games with both teams winning one. The last game was in the regional final, but how great would it have been to see those two teams playing at Fitzy on Championship Saturday?
There is no easy fix to this problem and blowouts are certainly not new to this sport. But just because there’s never going to be a perfect solution doesn’t mean we should just stand pat.
Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 780-9017.

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