April 06, 2020

Teams jockeying for playoff spots in East B,C ranks

Week six of the high school football season features some showdowns for divisional supremacy and some key contests among other teams seeking to enhance their postseason potential.

Winslow Black Raiders (4-1) vs. Mount Desert Island Trojans (4-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Bar Harbor: When these teams met a year ago at Winslow, the Black Raiders rolled to a 65-6 victory.

Winslow has maintained its high-scoring ways, averaging 55 points in its first four victories before being upset at Gardiner 20-14 last Friday night. In that game Winslow was hurt by three turnovers and a resilient performance by a Gardiner team led by junior quarterback Kyle Stilphen.

Expect the Black Raiders to be an angry lot this week in a game pitting teams that share first place in the Pine Tree Conference Class B northern division.

MDI, seeking its first winning season since 2000, is coming off a stunning come-from-behind 28-27 victory at Morse of Bath last Saturday. The Trojans trailed 27-12 midway through the fourth quarter before scoring twice on fumble recoveries, one defensively by Tyler Crawford that he returned 25 yards for a score, and the second on offense with about 1:30 left by senior tackle Chris Fernald in the end zone. Sean Parady passed for two-point conversions after both scores to give coach Mark Shields’ club the come-from-behind win.

MDI has had success rushing the ball this season behind Jon Hall (84-446) and Odane Gaynor (44-302), and a solid ball-control effort Friday night will give the Trojans their best chance to challenge the favored Black Raiders.

Hampden Academy Broncos (2-3) vs. Belfast Lions (2-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Belfast: These teams share third place in the Pine Tree Conference with Brewer, so a win is important for either team.

Both teams played last Saturday night, with different results.

The Broncos ground out more than 300 rushing yards in defeating Brewer on Homecoming weekend at Hampden, with senior fullback Kyle Ross leading the way with 230 yards and two touchdowns. Hampden also got a solid defensive effort, limiting Brewer to a lone fourth-quarter touchdown.

Belfast dropped a 20-8 decision at Leavitt of Turner Center, ending its two-game winning streak. That game was pushed back from Friday night due to rain – a decision that ultimately might have benefited the Hornets’ spread offense.

Travis Lee rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown in that game, and continues to rank among the PTC B’s top ground gainers with 656 yards in five games.

Belfast defeated Hampden 34-0 last year.

Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (3-2) vs. Foxcroft Academy Ponies (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Oakes Field, Dover-Foxcroft: As the season began this game was seen as a potential battle for first place in the LTC Class C ranks.

But while Foxcroft is off to a 5-0 start, Mattanawcook has dropped two of its last three – including a 7-6 decision to Bucksport last week – to fall into a third-place tie with both the Golden Bucks and Rockland.

Foxcroft has been dominant on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Senior Brad Bellemare has 515 rushing yards and nine touchdowns to lead a deep rushing attack, while defensively the Ponies have allowed just one touchdown in their last four games and have yet to give up a point in the first half of any game this season.

Mattanawcook got 71 rushing yards from Steve Braley and 70 from Brady Vose last weekend, but could manage just one touchdown against Bucksport. MA’s other loss came to reigning Class C state champion Lisbon in Week 3.

These teams played a classic during the 2005 regular season, with Foxcroft using a late goal-line stand to preserve a 14-12 victory. They met again in last year’s Eastern Maine Class C championship game, with the Ponies earning a 28-14 win en route to their third regional title in the last four years.

Winthrop Ramblers (2-3) vs. John Bapst Crusaders (4-1), 7 p.m. Saturday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: John Bapst has ridden a three-game winning streak to its current second-place position in the LTC.

Offense has been a big part of that success, as the Crusaders have averaged 36 points per game in wins over Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, Rockland and Stearns of Millinocket. Junior tailback Nick Smith has been a catalyst having rushed for 363 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two weeks alone.

These teams met in Winthrop last fall, and John Bapst has bad memories of that experience, as Winthrop jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 31-6 victory.

John Bapst will have to make sure any feelings of revenge will overcome the tendency to look ahead, as the Crusaders will face Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln and Foxcroft Academy in the next two weeks.

Winthrop is coming off a 12-6 win at Dirigo of Dixfield last Saturday, as Jake Steele rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries and quarterback Kyle Plossay completed 8 of 15 passes for 65 yards, including a 27-yard scoring strike to Kris Cooper.

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