The four years Kyle Duguay and Louie DiTomasso have spent in high school are as emblematic of the proud histories of their respective football programs as any one can consider.

Duguay had barely memorized his freshman locker combination by the time he’d experienced his first Mountain Valley state championship.

That same fall, DiTomasso was leading Wells’ freshman team to a perfect season while the varsity program, which in the 1990s stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Mountain Valley as one of the top programs in the Campbell Conference, was shuffling through its third consecutive season without a playoff berth.

Just a few months into their high school careers, those freshmen were tagged as the class that would lead Wells back to championship form.

“They went 8-0 as freshmen and everybody started getting excited about them,” Wells coach Tim Roche said. “I’m like, ‘Guys, they’re just freshmen.’

But it was clear the excitement was justified when DiTomasso and his classmates started infiltrating the starting lineup on a regular basis as sophomores and the Warriors finally returned to the postseason. And when they took the next step as juniors and reached the regional final, it was undeniable that, with the Class of 2012 leading the way, Wells was getting better every year.

Of course, Mountain Valley stood in its way last year. Not just any Mountain Valley team, either, only the most dominant one in the school’s two-decade history. Yet Wells refused to accept the 18-0 loss.

“It gnawed at us every day,” DiTomasso said. “Monday, Wednesday and Friday we had people in the weight room getting after it. In the summertime, it was high intensity. And it all paid off.”

It paid off in the form of a dominating defensive effort that allowed Wells to secure its first Western B title since 1997 with Saturday’s 10-0 blanking of the Falcons. With a starting offense made up entirely of seniors and a starting defense loaded with same, the Warriors fulfilled the expectations that have followed them for the last four years.

Don’t think for an instant, however, that Duguay and the other 13 seniors on the dejected Mountain Valley sideline didn’t fulfill the nearly impossible expectations their pedigree set for them. If you do (and, yes, there are some that do, unfortunately), don’t make those feelings known to coach Jim Aylward if you  value all of your teeth.

“Take a look at our numbers over the years,” Aylward said in a brief postgame statement. “This program has nothing to be ashamed of, and the kids that played this year… We came into this season defending state champions. We lost everyone in graduation. We had a quarterback (Zak Radcliffe) who played all day with a sore shoulder. We are so banged up.”

Indeed, add Radcliffe to an injury list that grew after every game in the last three weeks: Matt Hosie’s ankle, Duguay’s neck, Ryan Glover’s shoulder and numerous other maladies.

“That being said, those are excuses,” Aylward continued. “I’m very proud of our program. We’ve won (four) state championships. I’m no less proud today than when we’ve won those games.”

As they always do, the stubborn Falcons matched their opponent physically and emotionally on Saturday. But an iron will that was enough to overcome a talented, physical Cape Elizabeth team last week wasn’t enough to overcome an unbeaten Wells team that had been waiting and working for its moment for four years.

“They controlled the whole game. They’re a great team. They’re really, really tough,” Duguay said. “And our injuries, I think, finally caught up to us. It’s tough to come in with all of us hurt.”

“Over the last few weeks, we had tried to work through our injuries, practice with our injuries to see how we were going to be for this game,” Duguay said. “Like I said, they’re a great team, and they showed it today. We played them tough. We played them as tough as we could.”

The Warriors would point out, rightfully, that back on Oct. 7, when both teams were closer to 100 percent, they beat the Falcons more soundly, 28-12. 

On Saturday, they beat them using Mountain Valley’s own tenets — stifling defense, opportunistic offense, determination and poise, “which was nice,” Roche said. “I guess I would have liked 40-0, but I’ll take it.”

“We have the utmost respect in the world for a team like that,” Roche said. “It’s a bigger honor for us to be able to beat them than anyone else in our league. It’s just because it’s Mountain Valley.”


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