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Battle of the Bridge

One of Maine’s greatest interscholastic athletic rivalries, the annual football game between Thornton Academy and Biddeford High School occurs on the eighth and final week of the Class A football season.  Known locally as the “The Battle of the Bridge”, the Thornton Academy/Biddeford game is a highly anticipated event in both Saco and Biddeford, two one-time industrial communities located along the Saco River.  The first “Battle of the Bridge” was played in 1893 when Thornton Academy upended Biddeford by a score of 12-0.  Biddeford’s first victory came in the sixth game of the series, when the Tigers prevailed 13-5.

The Thornton Academy/Biddeford football game features two of Maine’s most storied programs.  Biddeford has won eleven Maine Principals’ Association state championships since 1950 while the Golden Trojans have won five in that same time span.  Some of Maine’s most successful high school football coaches, including Bob Cote and Dick Agreste at Thornton and Maine Sports Hall of Famer Mike Landry and Brian Curit at Biddeford, have patrolled the sideline for this annual classic.  A number of former winners of the Fitzpatrick Trophy, given to Maine’s most outstanding senior gridiron performer, have also played in the rivalry.  Players such as Gerry Gelinas, Claude LeClair, and Bob Parisien of the Tigers and Bob Giroux and Art Leveris of Thornton have shone on this stage.
Thornton Academy plays its home football contests at Dr. Paul S. Hill Stadium.  Opened in the early 1980’s, Hill Stadium was named for a one-time Saco physician and trustee of Thornton Academy.  Biddeford High School plays its home contests at cozy Waterhouse Field, one of Maine’s most exciting sports venues.  Waterhouse Field annually hosts the Maine Shrine Lobster Football Classic featuring senior all-stars from throughout Maine.  Although Waterhouse Field is a lighted facility, the “Battle of the Bridge” is annually played on a Saturday during the daytime.              

The Thornton/Biddeford game is one filled with tradition and pageantry.  Cheerleaders from both schools decorate the bridge connecting the cities on U.S. Route One in their respective schools colors.  Streamers in maroon and gold, Thornton Academy’s school colors, adorn the Saco end of the bridge, while orange and black balloons, the school colors of Biddeford, are tied to the Biddeford end of the crossing.  Since 1982 the student councils from Thornton Academy and Biddeford have awarded the “Battle of the Bridge” trophy to the victorious school.             

At Thornton Academy “Battle of the Bridge” week is a highly anticipated time.  The Thornton Academy student council offers a spirit week in which classes compete for points on dress-up days centered around specific themes.  On the Friday before the contest, Thornton Academy students dress in maroon and gold and participate in an afternoon pep rally.  If Thornton prevails in the annual contest, the head coach presents the “Battle of the Bridge” trophy to the school at the weekly school meeting that follows.              

The two schools have met 98 times during the regular season and three additional times in postseason games.  Thornton Academy leads the overall series with 49 wins.  Biddeford has won 34 contests, and eight games have been played to a draw. 

A summary of the scores of the annual “Battle of the Bridge” games is as follows.  
Year                            Score
1893                            Thornton Academy 12, Biddeford 0
1893                            Thornton Academy 4, Biddeford 0
1901                            Thornton Academy 4, Biddeford 0
1908                            Thornton Academy 22, Biddeford 6
1909                            Thornton Academy 2, Biddeford 0
1910                            Biddeford 13, Thornton Academy 5
1910                            Thornton Academy 13, Biddeford 5
1912                            Thornton Academy 12, Biddeford 0
1921                            Thornton Academy 2, Biddeford 0
1922                            Biddeford 10, Thornton Academy 0
1923                            Thornton Academy 19, Biddeford 7
1927                            Thornton Academy 0, Biddeford 0 (Tie)
1928                            Thornton Academy 2, Biddeford 0
1929                            Biddeford 6, Thornton Academy 0
1929                            Thornton Academy 0, Biddeford 0 (Tie)
1930                            Biddeford 7, Thornton Academy 0
1930                            Biddeford 9, Thornton Academy 0
1931                            Thornton Academy 14, Biddeford 6
1932                            Thornton Academy 13, Biddeford 4
1932                            Thornton Academy 0, Biddeford 0 (Tie)
1933                            Thornton Academy 18, Biddeford 0
1934                            Thornton Academy 31, Biddeford 0
1935                            Thornton Academy 41, Biddeford 0
1936                            Thornton Academy 7, Biddeford 0
1937                            Thornton Academy 6, Biddeford 6 (Tie)
1938                            Thornton Academy 26, Biddeford 6
1939                            Thornton Academy 19, Biddeford 0
1940                            Thornton Academy 39, Biddeford 0
1941                            Thornton Academy 25, Biddeford 0
1942                            Thornton Academy 35, Biddeford 0
1943                            Thornton Academy 6, Biddeford 0
1944                            Thornton Academy 6, Biddeford 0
1945                            Thornton Academy 6, Biddeford 6 (Tie)
1946                            Thornton Academy 0, Biddeford 0 (Tie)
1947                            Biddeford 33, Thornton Academy 0
1948                            Biddeford 6,  Thornton Academy 0
1949                            Biddeford 7, Thornton Academy 0
1950                            Thornton Academy 28, Biddeford 0
1951                            Thornton Academy 37, Biddeford 13
1952                            Thornton Academy 53, Biddeford 7
1953                            Thornton Academy 13, Biddeford 7
1954                            Thornton Academy 40, Biddeford 0
1963                            Thornton Academy 20, Biddeford 0
1964                            Thornton Academy 13, Biddeford 7
1965                            Thornton Academy 7, Biddeford 7 (Tie)
1966                            Biddeford 18, Thornton Academy 12
1967                            Biddeford 12, Thornton Academy 6
1968                            Thornton Academy 32, Biddeford 0
1969                            Thornton Academy 35, Biddeford 16
1970                            Biddeford 44, Thornton Academy 19
1971                            Thornton Academy 14, Biddeford 14 (Tie)
1972                            Biddeford 12, Thornton Academy 0
1973                            Thornton Academy 37, Biddeford 13
1974                            Thornton Academy 22, Biddeford 5
1975                            Thornton Academy 21, Biddeford 0
1976                            Thornton Academy 25, Biddeford 8
1977                            Biddeford 8, Thornton Academy 7
1978                            Thornton Academy 14, Biddeford 0
1979                            Biddeford 28, Thornton Academy 7
1980                            Biddeford 7, Thornton Academy 0
1981                            Biddeford 20, Thornton Academy 0
1982                            Thornton Academy 18, Biddeford 14
1983                            Thornton Academy 7, Biddeford 0
1984                            Biddeford 15, Thornton Academy 6
1985                            Biddeford 41, Thornton Academy 19
1986                            Thornton Academy 45, Biddeford 20
1987                            Biddeford 15, Thornton Academy 14
1988                            Biddeford 19, Thornton Academy 14
1989                            Biddeford 35, Thornton Academy 0
1990                            Biddeford 41, Thornton Academy 13
1990                            Biddeford 31, Thornton Academy 19 *
1991                            Thornton Academy 27, Biddeford 21
1991                            Biddeford 29, Thornton Academy 28 *
1992                            Biddeford 22, Thornton Academy 21
1993                            Biddeford 28, Thornton Academy 13
1994                            Biddeford 10, Thornton Academy 0
1995                            Biddeford 27, Thornton Academy 21
1996                            Biddeford 21, Thornton Academy 14
1997                            Biddeford 41, Thornton Academy 7
1998                            Biddeford 43, Thornton Academy 21
1999                            Biddeford 7, Thornton Academy 0
2000                            Thornton Academy 28, Biddeford 19
2001                            Thornton Academy 32, Biddeford 3
2002                            Thornton Academy 20, Biddeford 12
2003                            Biddeford 47, Thornton Academy 8
2004                            Thornton Academy 7, Biddeford 6
2005                            Biddeford 30, Thornton Academy 7
2006                            Thornton Academy 21, Biddeford 14
2007                            Thornton Academy 20, Biddeford 14 (OT)
2007                            Thornton Academy 28, Biddeford 6 *
2008                            Thornton Academy 23, Biddeford 6
2009                            Thornton Academy 42, Biddeford 7
2010                            Biddeford 27, Thornton Academy 22
2011   Thornton Academy 34, Biddeford 0

TA  Biddeford  Ties
50 33 8 Regular Season 
1 2 0 Overall Playoff Record
50 35 8 Total Wins
1246 1064 Points Scored