So I forgot about Wells.

Each week from late summer to late fall I get a whole page to write about high school football. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve done in my 36-year career in journalism. It’s probably the most notable thing I’ve done besides, when I worked in news, convincing our copy editors to run a photo of then Vice President Al Gore grabbing a downed power line in Auburn during the 1998 ice storm.

Randy Whitehouse

As much as I love doing this, it bugs me when I make a mistake. This year alone, I’ve gotten a couple of matchups wrong in the Weekend Blitz. Thanks to the dedicated readers who caught them when they were posted online on a Thursday night, you may or may not have noticed the errors in print. If you did, I sincerely apologize if you drove to a game that wasn’t being played because of it. My apologies to the readership at large. If it makes you feel any better, I still have a nice big welt on my drive-in-screen-sized forehead from punishing myself.

Last week, I left Wells out of the weekly Top 10. When it comes to high school football, leaving Wells out of a Top 10 is like leaving my friend Tony Blasi out of a conversation about “The Godfather.” At this point, with the Warriors rolling through a historic 31-game winning streak, I should have included them by rote. I sincerely apologize to the Warriors and all of you readers.

I’ve had a lot of time this week to try to figure out why I forgot Wells and I’m pretty much at a loss. Maybe it’s because I have had a lot of my football attention devoted to Class D South this month. And in all honesty, Wells is not missed. They were too good, too deep, too well-coached.

Sure, I subscribe to the idea that one great team can make others in their league at least strive to reach their level, but I’m sorry, no one in Class D was reaching Warriors’ level any time soon. There are maybe two teams in Class C South, Leavitt and York, that will reach their level this year.


I’ve asked coaches in D South about it and while they would all welcome Wells back because of the respect they have for coach Tim Roche and his program, they aren’t mourning their departure. They will be pining even less for them when we reach the playoffs, because they won’t be a foregone conclusion this year.

At least four teams, Spruce Mountain, Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale, Oak Hill and Lisbon (OK, seven schools) can punch their playoff tickets already and a case can still be made for each one to win the region. Lisbon’s games with WMHD and Spruce will sort out somewhat of a pecking order, but, unless the Greyhounds run away in both, they are unlikely to determine a clear favorite.

Over the past two seasons, all of that would have been moot. All of that intrigue would have been for second place.

Wells took all of the suspense of out of Class D football for two years. That — and I can’t stress this enough — wasn’t Wells’ fault. When the Maine Principals’ Association moved them from Class C to Class D two years ago, it did what it thought was best for its program and for high school football. I will remind everyone that it petitioned up to Class B for several years for the same reasons. Kudos to the Warriors for continuing to play at such a high level over two seasons in which they were rarely seriously challenged.

The Warriors are gone from Class D but not forgotten. It’s a lot of fun watching their precise execution and toughness, not to mention athletes such as Nolan Potter and Tyler Bridge (both now at Bates College) and now Payton McKay. I’m ecstatic we will still get to see them in action in central Maine as Leavitt’s homecoming opponent on Oct. 12. Get your tickets and parking space now. Seriously. Could be the game of the year.

I promise I will not forget Wells again. But I’m glad I don’t have to think about them in Class D anymore.

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