As the temperatures soared through the eighties over the weekend, Maine high school football’s regular season reached the mid-point. Through four weeks the elite have been separated from the good and the good from the also-rans.
Speaking of separation, in Eastern Maine Class A there has been a clear distinction between the top four teams and everyone else. The four powers met this past weekend in Portland with two stunners. Bangor used their punishing ground attack to rally from a 21-0 third quarter deficit to defeat Portland in overtime on Friday night. The shocker of the weekend came the following afternoon across town on Ocean Avenue. Windham ended Cheverus’ 36-game regular season win streak with a convincing 35-7 victory. Not surprising was the victory but the decisive margin.
Looking forward to the second half of the season, you may find yourself in a situation like mine. You have long ago graduated from the alma mater and don’t have kids playing in the contests. Yet, the Friday night lights and cool autumn afternoons still allure you to the fields. Yes, you still have your favorites and still pull for the hometown team but ultimately, like me, you want to see the best match-ups each week. So, if you don’t mind driving a distance, hopefully you have a fuel-efficient vehicle, here’s what to watch as we go through the season’s second half:
Friday night: Windham at Bangor
Easily the state’s marquee game of the week. Both teams enter the contest undefeated. From what I’ve been told about Windham, they are extremely balanced, they prefer to run the ball but are solid in the passing game as well. Bangor makes no pretense about what they are. They are tough, physical, and want to run the ball right down your throat.
Saturday afternoon: Norwich at Husson
Granted this column is about high school sports but without a big match-up on the docket this is an opportunity to see a number of Maine high school stars. Gabby Price has the Eagles headed back in the right direction opening conference play against the preseason favorite.
Friday night: Winslow at Foxcroft Academy
The Black Raiders have yet to be tested to date. Dylan Hapworth leads the ground attack behind a very athletic offensive line. The Ponies dropped their opener at Waterville but haven’t lost since, although have had competitive games with Belfast and Old Town. Oakes Field in Dover-Foxcroft can be a tough place to get a win.
Saturday afternoon: Cheverus at Thornton Academy
This match-up has lost a bit of the luster with Cheverus’ lost to Windham, however this should prove to be Thornton’s first test of the season. Of interest in this one is how Cheverus bounces back after their one-sided defeat. Hill Stadium in Saco might be the best high school football facility in the state. Kick-off for this contest is 3:00.
Friday night: Thornton Academy at Bonny Eagle
While the Scots suffered an early season setback at South Portland, they seem to have righted the ship. This should be a preview of the Western Maine championship game.
Saturday afternoon: Waterville at Winslow
Actually you have the pick of two potentially great games on this day as Bangor plays at Cheverus that afternoon. Both contests should be throw-back games of sorts as few passes may be found in either game. Should be some good, old-school smash-mouth football wherever you decide to go.
Friday night: Bonny Eagle at Windham
Decisions, decisions. The final week of the regular season features traditional rivalry games. There’s the big game in Windham while in Western B, York and Marshwood tangle in South Berwick. Then there is the Battle of the Bridge for perhaps the final time in the regular season at Waterhouse Field when Biddeford hosts Thornton. The Tigers will be moving to Class B in 2015.
Saturday afternoon: Oak Hill at Lisbon
This contest will also have a bit of an old-school feel as longtime Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan will lead his charges against one of his former assistants in Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette. If you want to experience some good small-town Americana, check this game out. And you’ll see a pretty good football game too.
Thursday night: John Bapst vs. Orono at University of Maine
While the rest of the state prepares for play-off action, Eastern Maine Class D concludes their regular season. This Thursday night clash could have a play-off berth at stake as this league only sends four to post-season. Being the only football played in the state this night should draw a sizable crowd.
Of course with the current four-class system state championship weekend will feature a Friday night state championship game at the University of Maine on November 21st. This year it will be class C’s turn to play under the light’s at Alfond Stadium. The other three state title tilts will be played once again on Saturday, November 22nd at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Enjoy the final vestiges of summer weather but keep the heavy parka and thermal clothing handy for what should be an exciting finish to the 2014 Maine high school football season.