The undefeated Wells football team heads to Portland on Saturday with hopes of a championship title.
By Larry Favinger
Two undefeated football teams will battle Saturday in Portland for the 2011 Class B state championship.
Unbeaten Wells and Leavitt will square off at 6 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Stadium for the state crown.
“We’re excited to be playing in the game,” Wells Coach Tom Roche said in a telephone interview early this week.
The Warriors (11-0), the Western Maine Class B champion, are seeking their first state football title since 1997 when they beat Belfast 32-30 for the crown.
Leavitt (11-0), the Eastern Maine champion, last won the state title in 2009 when it beat Cape Elizabeth 35-21.
Roche’s team defeated neighboring rival York 32-7, Westbrook 22-6, and defending champion Mountain Valley 10-0 to reach the state championship game.
In the East, Coach Mike Hathaway’s Hornets were beating Morse High of Bath, 61-12; Hamden Academy, 47-22; and Mt. Blue 22-21 in double overtime.
Playing in the state championship game “was the goal” from the start of pre-season, Roche said in a telephone interview. The Warriors were in the regional championship game in 2010.
He said it was the sixth game of the season where Wells began to understand it was a good football team. In that game Wells defeated Mountain Valley 28-12. Mountain Valley has been in the regional title game in 13 of the last 19 years.
The Warriors feature 17 seniors on this year’s team, backed up by a good crop of underclassmen. Roche said it’s “hard for me to single out key players. We have a lot of good players.”
Looking forward to the game, Roche had praise for Leavitt.
“I think they do a great job up there,” he said. “They’re a tough football team.”
“I think we match up well,” he continued. “We’ll see what happens. I think we can move the ball. If we can just shut them down we’ll be fine.”
Leavitt has shown a powerful offense, scoring more than 50 points five times during the season and more than 60 twice.
On the other side of the ball, Wells shut out four opponents, including the defending state champion Mountain Valley.
This is Roche’s 13th year as head coach of the Warriors, his 19th on the football staff.