Bonny Eagle’s Jacob Humphrey catches pass in front of Thornton Academy’s Sam Edborg during their regular-season game in Saco, won by Thornton, 21-14. John Ewing/Staff Photographer


WHERE: Fitzpatrick Stadium, Portland

WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday


LAST MEETING: Thornton def. Bonny Eagle, 21-14, on Oct. 5

OVERVIEW: This will be the first time that Thornton Academy, the defending champion, will face Bonny Eagle for the state title. … Both coaches have perfect title-game records. Bonny Eagle’s Kevin Cooper (22nd season, 152-68 career record) is 6-0 in Class A finals, the most recent win coming in 2016. Thornton’s Kevin Kezal (20th season, 153-44) is 4-0, including a 49-14 win against Portland last year. … A year ago, Thornton never trailed in a game during the entire season, outscoring its opponents 554-90. This season, the Trojans’ wins against Marshwood and Scarborough were by identical 28-27 scores, both times stopping a 2-point conversion to end the game. They came from behind twice to beat Bonny Eagle. In those three games, Thornton was penalized just five times and did not turn the ball over, compared to 19 penalties and seven turnovers for their opponents. They also scored a touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half against each top opponent. … The Trojans enter the game with a 22-game winning streak, including a 48-9 semifinal win over Oxford Hills. In the other Class A semifinal, Bonny Eagle defeated Scarborough in overtime, 14-7.

THORNTON’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Thornton must continue to play mistake-free football and rely on its power running game, stingy defense and depth to wear down the Scots. … The Trojans will stick with a heavy dose of interior runs by Isaac Ofielu (142 carries, 850 yards, 17 touchdowns) and Julien BaileyCottle (80 carries, 582 yards, 10 TDs), and look to free up senior quarterback Kobe Gaudette, also a good runner (83 carries, 537 yards), for big plays downfield. He averages 21.6 yards per completion. … Daniel Tarbox, a 6-foot-5 junior, has been a big-game player at defensive end, where he can set the edge and also disrupt the passing game. Thornton’s secondary has been a strength, both in terms of open-field tackling and pass coverage, and that needs to continue against a Bonny Eagle offense that has big-play ability.

BONNY EAGLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Scots need to limit their own mistakes. In the 21-14 loss in Saco, they were penalized seven times for 65 yards, QB Keegan Meredith twice fumbled while being sacked to halt second-half drives in Thornton territory, and two first-half trips into the red zone produced zero points. … If Bonny Eagle can convert more chances into points, especially early, it will take some pressure off its defense, which was unable to stop Thornton’s power running in the fourth quarter of the regular-season game. … Meredith needs to be decisive and accurate with his throws to keep Thornton’s defense honest, which should open running lanes for Zach Maturo (1,144 rushing yards, 174 receiving yards, 23 total TDs) and Nate Ferris (912 rushing yards).

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