Thornton Academy, Bonny Eagle and Scarborough have dominated Class A football the past eight seasons. So when two of the Big Three meet, it’s a game that matters – even when it won’t make a difference in the standings.

Third-place Scarborough (7-1) hosts first-place Thornton Academy (8-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in the Class A regular-season finale. Because Thornton (and second-place Bonny Eagle) have the edge in opponents’ wins, Scarborough can’t advance ahead of Thornton in the standings and will stay in third, assuming Bonny Eagle (7-1) beats Sanford.

Thornton Academy quarterback Kobe Gaudette has been under center during the Trojans’ 19-game win streak spanning two seasons. He is averaging 22.8 yards per completion with 12 touchdowns and one interception. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

That really doesn’t matter to the players.

“All the work that we’ve put in during the summer and offseason, it’s for these type of games; games that will decide how we can hold ourselves up as a team,” said Scarborough quarterback Chase Cleary.

Thornton quarterback Kobe Gaudette agrees. “It’s Scarborough week. Scarborough and Bonny Eagle. Those are two weeks we have marked on our calendar every year. It’s a different mentality at practice those weeks.”

Thornton is riding a 19-game winning streak. Scarborough was the last team to beat the Golden Trojans, 49-7 in a wind-chilled 2017 regional final.

“That was two years ago so I think it’s in the past for us and it’s probably in the past for them as well,” Cleary said.

Between 2013-18, when Class A was divided into two regions, the Big Three resided in the South. Each of those seasons, two of the three met in the regional final, and the South champion went on to win the state title.

The statewide dominance has been even more pronounced over the past four seasons as Scarborough raised its level of play. The Red Storm have played in three straight regional finals and won the 2017 state championship.

Since the start of the 2016 season, the Big Three are 82-1 against all other teams. Against each other, Thornton is 7-4, Bonny Eagle is 5-6 and Scarborough is 5-7 with one state title each.

For the Red Storm to snap Thornton’s win streak, they’ll need big plays from dangerous runner/receiver Jarett Flaker, who is averaging 11.3 yards per carry (70 rushes 791 yards, 10 touchdowns) and 20.4 yards per catch (13 receptions, 265 yards, 6 TDs). Cleary (64 carries, 398 yards) and Thomas Galeckas (60-492) are tough runners.

Jarett Flaker of Scarborough High is tackled by Cole Paulin of Thornton Academy during last year’s Class A South championship game, won by the Trojans, 53-21. Flaker has 16 touchdowns in eight games this season. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

For Thornton, junior wideout Peyton Jones is averaging 33 yards per catch with seven touchdowns and has also returned two punts and two kickoffs for scores. Thornton’s power running game, featuring Isaac Ofielu (118 carries, 761 yards) and Julian Bailey-Cottle (50-399), sets up Gaudette (40 completions in 68 pass attempts) to go deep off play-action. Gaudette, who has started 21 straight games, averages 22.8 yards per completion with 12 touchdowns and one interception.

Both defenses are strong and have improved during the season.

Scarborough’s starters have allowed four touchdowns all season, just one since an 18-7 loss to Bonny Eagle in Week 2. The offense has scored 278 points in its last six games. Thornton has scored 273 points in its last six games and its starting defense has allowed three touchdowns during that stretch, two in a 21-14 win against Bonny Eagle.

Early this season it appeared there might be cracks in the trio’s armor: Sanford led Thornton at halftime of the opener; Bonny Eagle had to rally to beat Oxford Hills and trailed Lewiston after a quarter; and Scarborough was penalty-plagued and offensively challenged in its loss at Bonny Eagle.

Last weekend order was restored. Scarborough needed only 29 offensive plays to rout Oxford Hills 49-7; Thornton beat up winless Edward Little (69-0) and Bonny Eagle did the same to Bangor (62-0). Added together, that’s 180-7 domination.

In other words, there are legitimately two teams capable of halting Thornton’s win streak. Scarborough gets its chance Friday.

“The streak doesn’t really deter us,” said Scarborough’s standout senior lineman Nate Mars. “We know who we are. We know we’re a great team. We just really want the game to be payoff for the hard work we’ve put into practice all season.”

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