If you are watching Cheverus football this fall, you may notice a few more players on the field. The Stags announced on February 2nd that the program will return to 11-man play for the 2022-2023 season, nearly 2 years after their move to the state’s 8-man division. The Stags spent a mere 2 years playing 8-man but still found great success. 8-man football was first introduced to Maine in the 2019 season. It was made to accommodate teams with decreasing participation in football, letting them play safely with a smaller roster. For Cheverus’s sake, decreasing numbers, as well as a young team, led the program to decide to make the move to eight-man. “When we made the difficult decision to move to eight-man in February 2020, our projections were for 26 athletes. We had not had a JV game in years and we did not know if all of our returning players would actually return,” Athletic Director Amy Ashley stated in a letter to the MPA Football Committee.
The 2022 campaign saw the stags dominate all of their competition, outscoring them 380-48 along the way. Even more impressive, the team scored 248 points over the course of their last 5 games, all while not allowing a single point. The season culminated in November with a win at home for the regional title, and a week later a 56-0 win over Waterville to bring home the Eight-Man Large School state title. While the Stags faced less competition than they would have in 11-man play, the success of the team brought some new momentum to the program going forward. “Eight-man football did everything we hoped it would do for our program. It brought new life and excitement back to Cheverus football and with that came an increase in our numbers…We are grateful we had the opportunity to compete in eight-man this past season,” continues the school's letter to the MPA Football Committee in February.
Cheverus has applied to compete in the Class C South Division, which will provide ample competition for the team next fall. The division currently includes Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Gardiner, Leavitt, Wells, Westbrook, and York. These teams are subject to change since class changes are done yearly. Leavitt and Cape Elizabeth have won the previous two Class C state championships, in 2019 and 2021, respectively. Cheverus’s 8-man Large School South division that they played in this past season is comprised of Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region, Mt. Ararat/Hyde, Spruce Mountain, and Yarmouth. With this increased competition the Stags hope for another competitive, successful season.
Danny McCartney, Co-Editor in Chief