October 14, 2012

TRAVIS LAZARCZYK: Enjoy Stags' run

By Travis Lazarczyk tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

In 2012, Maine high school football's favorite number is 31.

That's the number of consecutive victories run up by the Cheverus High School football team. With Saturday's 28-14 win at previously undefeated Thornton Academy, Cheverus tied the Class A state record for consecutive wins, set by South Portland in the mid-1990s. South Portland's coach then was John Wolfgram, who now coaches the Stags. Wolfgram wins more often than Apple.

What the Cheverus High School football team has done since the start of the 2010 season is to be commended. Even the best teams lay down a stinker every once in a while. A couple of fumbles, or a missed tackle or two, and even the favorite gets beaten.

The Stags will try to break the Class A record next Saturday when they host Deering. If Cheverus runs the table and wins a third consecutive Class A state championship, they'll have 36 consecutive wins. But in celebrating Cheverus' achievement, let's give a nod to history. If the Stags walk out of Fitzpatrick Stadium undefeated on the last Saturday before Thanksgiving, they will still be a full season from tying the state record.

From the start of the 1977 season to the second week of the 1982 campaign, the Orono High School football team won 48 straight games. According to scores found in the book, "50 Years of the LTC," by Mike Archer and Ian Braun, the Red Riots had 17 shutouts during the streak, and gave up as many as 18 points just twice.

In 1979, Orono set the bar for domination. The Red Riots outscored opponents 303-20. Orono had seven shutouts. Fourteen of the 20 points allowed by the Red Riots came in one 58-14 win over Maine Central Institute.

While we're talking about all-time great teams, we'd be remiss not to mention the 1992-93 Winslow teams. Those Black Raiders won back-to-back Class B state titles, and their 55-0 win over Wells in the 1993 title game is still the most lopsided football state championship game in state history, in any class.

That Winslow team won 32 straight games. Its streak ended with a loss to Messalonskee in the regular season finale of 1994.

Getting back to Cheverus, it's worth asking, are these Stags the best Class A football team in state history?

That case can be made, easily. If Cheverus wins a third consecutive state championship, it will be the first Class A team to achieve the three-peat. No Class A team has even played for three titles in a row since Bangor did it from 1979 to 1981.

Cheverus won the last two Class A state championship games by a combined score of 95-15. No other high school football team that has won back-to-back gold balls in Maine has come close to doing so in such dominating fashion. Those two wins are the most lopsided Class A state championship games in 27 years.

Cheverus' success has drawn out as many detractors as fans. They're a private school, some complain. Cheverus can recruit the best players from towns across southern Maine.

Those who complain never seem to close the giant hole in their argument. Prior to Wolfgram's arrival seven years ago, Cheverus was awful. The Stags were one of the worst teams in the SMAA. This fact is routinely omitted by those with an ax to grind against Cheverus.

In Cheverus, we're watching one of the great high school football teams in Maine history do its thing. Remember it, and enjoy it.

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

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