As we begin to spruce up and prepare the house for winter, it’s time to clean the mind of some thoughts taking up residence in the ‘ole gray matter:
The most thrilling game from this past weekend occurred in Farmington where the Brewer Witches rallied from a 30-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to take a 36-30 lead into the final minute vs. Mt. Blue. Rather than a joyful ride east on Route 2, the Witches tasted a bitter defeat as the Cougars’ Ryan Pratt hit Nate Pratt-Holt on an eighteen-yard touchdown pass to tie it up as time expired. Anthony Franchetti’s PAT kick gave Mt. Blue the 37-36 dramatic victory.
Despite the loss, Brewer will still qualify for postseason play with a win this Friday night vs. Hampden Academy. The team has shown steady progress under the leadership of first-year head coach Nick Arthers. Arthers previously served as head coach at Old Town, leading the Coyotes through a football rebirth of their own. Old Town finished 4-4 in the regular season and made their first play-off appearance since 1997 last fall. When Arthers’ phys. ed. position was reduced at Old Town, he was forced to look elsewhere to teach and coach. Fortunately for Nick, a full-time teaching position was open at Brewer as was the head football coaching position.
Nick Arthers is no stranger to success on the gridiron. Playing for his father, Butch Arthers, Nick quarterbacked the Belfast Lions to back to back state title game appearances in 2002 and 2003. The Lions took home gold with a victory over Gorham in the 2003 Class B state championship game. The elder Arthers serves as an assistant coach on the Witches staff.
Like Nick, Butch Arthers faced a resurrection project of his own when taking over as head coach at Belfast in the early 90’s. A former assistant under legendary coach Rod Wotton at Marshwood, Arthers successfully brought a winning atmosphere to a longtime dormant program. Under Butch Arthers, the Lions played in six state championship games, winning three. Brewer is hopeful that level of success will carry over. So far they are off to a promising start.
What a great fall we have experienced weather-wise. Into week seven fans have been able to attend most games with nothing more than maybe a sweatshirt and light jacket. Spectators luckily have been able to stay dry thus far through the season. Usually by this point fields start to show their wear, not so much this year. Last Friday’s rain left many fields wet heading into their games that evening. Most contests were played as scheduled but the Brewer-Mt. Blue game was pushed back to Saturday afternoon to allow their two year old field additional time to dry out.
I used to be in the camp that you play the game regardless of the conditions. People who still cry about postponing football games have undoubtedly never had to repair a field following a game played in inclement conditions. With money being as tight as it is, athletic departments rely on gate receipts as a part of their overall budget. Most fans simply aren’t going to attend games in poor conditions. Couple that with the amount of money spend on their brand new field, Mt. Blue officials made the right call in playing the game on Saturday.
This weekend marks the final week of the high school regular season for all divisions except for Eastern Maine Class D, which still has one more week to go. Numerous rivalry and “battle of the bridge” games will take place such as Edward Little-Lewiston and Portland-South Portland. Friday night will also mark the final time for the foreseeable future Thornton Academy and Biddeford will meet in a countable football game. Kick-off is set for 7:00 at Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field. This will be the 98th meeting between the two schools with Thornton holding a 54-35-8 edge. With shrinking enrollment, Biddeford will be dropping down to Class B next season.
High school rivalries for the most part lack the intensity of yesteryear. Kids from opposing schools seem to interact more these days, many in fact are also teammates on various travel teams in a number of sports. This rivalry, though at one time was one of my favorite games to go see. Both programs have great facilities with Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field and Hill Stadium at Thornton Academy. The two communities couldn’t be any more different, however. Biddeford is a tough, blue collar community, unlike Saco with it’s big Victorian era homes.
It was heartwarming to see such an outpouring of support last Wednesday evening at Mount Desert Island High School for the celebration of life of Scott Phelps. Phelps left this world too soon, having just turned 46 years old. In that short time, Scott impacted countless lives, first as a star three sport athlete at John Bapst and then as director of the Harbor House Community Center in Southwest Harbor.
Scott made a huge impact with MDI basketball. The high school program faces a great challenge as they draw from several smaller middle schools on the island and outside, as well. Through Phelps leadership in the travel program, he did a great job in teaching the fundamentals of the game, enabling a smoother transition to the high school. He will be greatly missed.