While we’re all looking forward to what should be some unforgettable regional final games this weekend, this is a good time to look back on the season that was, with the top 10 local games. This is just one man’s list. I didn’t attend all of these games, but if that were the criteria, this list would be about one-third as long and I’d have to fill the rest of this space with tales of national anthem performances gone horribly, horribly wrong.

10. Spruce Mtn. 26, Poland 23, Week 5

Brandon Stearns hauled in a tipped pass in the end zone from Peter Theriault with 1:22 left to rally the Phoenix to the victory in a see-saw midseason thriller. Poland had taken a 23-20 lead with 3:10 remaining on Adam Mocciola’s 10-yard run and Corey Cunliffe’s PAT. But Theriault directed the Phoenix on a 70-yard drive, completing three passes to the Knights’ 12 yard line, from where he found Stearns in a sea of defenders for the game-winner.

9. Edward Little 21, Deering 14, Week 7

Ian Mileikis’ 36-yard touchdown run broke a 14-14 tie with 4:44 left, but the Red Eddies didn’t sew up the win and a playoff berth until its defense stiffened in the final seconds. The Rams’ drove to the EL 10 and threatened to send the game to overtime, but Dan Williams sacked QB Mike Marzilli on third and fourth down with 15 seconds to go to clinch it.

8. Oak Hill 8, Dirigo 6, Week 2

A tantalizing appetizer for Saturday’s Campbell Conference Class D final, especially for those who crave defensive standoffs. Oak Hill took an 8-0 lead in the second quarter on a Parker Asselin-to-Luke-Washburn pass and two-point run by Kyle Flaherty. The Raiders blanked the Cougars until Riley Robinson’s QB sneak pulled Dirigo within two with 23 seconds left. Oak Hill stopped the two-point conversion attempt, but the defense had to make yet another stop after Dirigo recovered the ensuing onside kick.

7. Winthrop/Monmouth 18, Oak Hill 13, Week 4

An early battle of unbeatens slugged it out to a decision that put the Ramblers in control of Class D West for the rest of the regular season and tested the Raiders’ resolve. The first half ended on a bizarre, untimed down that gave Oak Hill an extra play with which to take a 13-12 halftime lead. Win/Mon reclaimed the lead for good early in the fourth quarter on a six-yard Zach Glazier TD run. The Ramblers then repelled three Raider forays inside their 30, clinching the win when Brandon Goff knocked down Asselin’s fourth-down pass into the end zone in the final minute.

6. Skowhegan 36, Mt. Blue 29, B East quarterfinals

A high-scoring back-and-forth playoff that came down to a defensive stand. This one kept Skowhegan’s season alive and ended Mt. Blue’s, and the coaching career of Gary Parlin. Kaleb Brown’s two-yard touchdown run with 4:36 to go proved to be the winning score. The Indians stopped the Cougars’ first attempt to answer but gave them another opportunity when Brown fumbled and Brian Durrell recovered at Mt. Blue’s 29 with 1:22 left. Mt. Blue drove to the Skowhegan 25, but the Indians’ D stiffened, forcing a desperation throw by Andrew Pratt on fourth down which Nate Morris intercepted at the goal line with nine seconds left.

5. Lisbon 22, Dirigo 14 OT, Week 7

One of the most physical games of the season only seemed destined for overtime after each team made several key defensive stands in the second half. The Greyhounds rallied after losing multi-purpose star Quincy Thompson to an elbow injury and opened overtime with a touchdown pass from Kyle Bourget to Noah Francis. The Cougars had four downs to extend the game, but the Greyhounds barely gave any ground, preserving the hard-fought win on an Austin Proctor interception in the end zone on fourth down.

4. Dirigo 20, Old Orchard Beach 14 OT, D West quarterfinals

The Cougars are all over the countdown, but none of their memorable contests ended in more unlikely fashion. After forcing a missed field goal by the Seagulls to start overtime, Dirigo decided to go for it our fourth-and-goal from the 2. Brett Beauchesne took the handoff and had the ball knocked loose as he reached for the goal line. It rolled into the end zone, where Kaine Hutchins pounced on it for the touchdown that sent Dirigo to the semifinals. OOB sent the game into overtime on a touchdown pass with 1:14 remaining.

3. Lewiston 31, Bangor 29, Week 6

Lewiston and Bangor have had many wild finishes in their long gridiron history and this was another classic. The Rams rallied from a 25-13 early fourth-quarter deficit to take a 29-25 lead on Logan Lanham’s touchdown run with 42 seconds to go. That’s when Lewiston quarterback Eddie Emerson and running back Quintarian Brown went to work, connecting on two of Emerson’s three completions on the drive, including the game-winner from 30 yards out as the clock wound down.

2. Oak Hill 21, Lisbon 20, D West semifinals

An amazing test of wills between the Route 9 rivals. The Greyhounds came back from a 14-6 fourth-quarter deficit to take a 20-14 lead on Joe Philbrick’s eight-yard TD run and Jordon Torres’ two-point conversion with 2:18 left. Starting from his own 40, Asselin directed an almost too efficient winning drive, quickly completing three straight passes, including a 37-yard touchdown to Alex Mace to tie it with 1:29 to go. Kicker Adam Merrill split the uprights with the game-winning extra point, then the defense clinched it with Ryan Stevens’ interception.

1. Dirigo 22, Winthrop/Monmouth 20, D West semifinals

This gets the nod over the other D West semifinal because it was an upset and because of how it was secured. The Cougars went to a three-headed wildcat of Beauchesne, Heath Hersom and Tyler Frost to control the ball and its usual punishing defense to stay within striking distance into the fourth quarter. That’s when the Ramblers, leading by four, decided to try a fake punt from their own 21 on fourth-and-seven. The Cougars stopped them and took over just outside their own 25. Three plays later, Hersom took the direct snap, bobbled it, picked it back up and scampered to his left on an 18-yard touchdown run to put the Cougars ahead with 1:27 left to go. Beauchesne’s interception ended the previously undefeated Ramblers’ season and sent the Cougars to their second consecutive regional championship.

That’s it. That’s the list. We welcome any of your suggestions. Just know that I’m not making another list.

That is, unless Spruce Mountain, Leavitt, Dirigo and Oak Hill have something else in mind.

Follow Randy Whitehouse throughout the playoffs on Twitter @RawMaterial33 and e-mail him at [email protected]

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