Week 4 of the high school football team sees several teams in Eastern Maine Classes A, B and C beginning to emerge from their respective packs, and several other teams facing the reality that their playoff safety nets are disappearing in the wake of some early losses.
One of the teams in the latter category is Bangor, which at 1-2 isn’t in a must-win situation yet as far as qualifying for the eight-team Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs but needs to get back on the winning track after back-to-back losses to Brunswick and Lawrence of Fairfield.
“Thank God eight teams make the playoffs,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett, “but we’ve got to win some games.”
Edward Little Red Eddies (3-0) vs. Bangor Rams (1-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: The Rams gave Lawrence all it could handle for 3½ quarters before the two-time Eastern A champs rallied for a 27-24 victory.
And while Hackett was disappointed with the loss, there was much to like about his team’s performance, including the Rams’ play between the tackles.
“I remember when we played them here a couple of years ago and they beat us 3-0 and we couldn’t get a first down,” said Hackett. “I think the kids know they can play with them now. Before we wondered if they were playing with 15 guys.”
Edward Little, 1-7 a year ago, is off to its best start in recent memory thanks to a high-powered passing attack featuring quarterback Cody Goddard (32 of 55 passing, 566 yards).
“He’s the best thrower I’ve seen so far,” said Hackett. “He throws darts.”
Hampden Academy Broncos (2-1) vs. Mount Desert Island Trojans (2-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Bar Harbor: Hampden is coming off its first loss, but a competitive one at that, in a 7-0 decision to defending state champion Gardiner. Coach Harry McCluskey’s Broncos have played stout defense, allowing just two touchdowns in its three games.
MDI turned on the offensive jets against Waterville Friday night. Odane Gaynor and Terrence Jones each rushed for more than 100 yards as coach Mark Shields’ club rolled to a 35-14 victory. Jasper Cousins added two rushing touchdowns and ranks as one of the PTC’s top tacklers along with teammate Camden Fernald.
Bucksport Golden Bucks (3-0) vs. Rockland Tigers (1-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Wasgatt Field, Rockland: Bucksport is coming off a satisfying victory over Foxcroft Academy last Friday, combining solid defense with the rushing of Nate Warren, Andrew Findlay and Alex Giosia.
Warren has been the most unstoppable force in the LTC this season, as the senior tailback leads the conference in rushing with 706 yards to go with eight touchdowns.
Rockland got a boost last weekend with the return of Nick Baudanza, who caught two TD passes as the Tigers mounted a late rally against John Bapst of Bangor that just fell short in a 33-24 loss.
John Bapst Crusaders (2-1) vs. Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (2-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Curry Field, Lincoln: This game matches John Bapst’s explosive offense against Mattanawcook’s persistent defense.
John Bapst has averaged 32.7 points per game with an attack featuring quarterback Derek Smith and running back Bill Wetherbee. Mattanawcook, meanwhile, has allowed just three TDs during regulation play this season.
A win could go a long way toward earning the victor homefield advantage in the first round of this year’s expanded eight-team LTC playoffs.
Orono Red Riots (2-1) vs. Foxcroft Academy Ponies (1-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Oakes Field, Dover-Foxcroft: Both teams are coming off a loss entering the Ponies’ homecoming contest.
Foxcroft, the defending Class C state champion, has lost two regular-season games in the same year for the first time since 2001, when it fell to Bucksport and Class B Winslow.
The Ponies will be without starting QB Jamie Nason, who suffered a leg injury against Bucksport.
Orono hopes to jumpstart its rushing attack against Foxcroft’s defense after being slowed by Mattanawcook last week. Quarterback Kash Keezer, Blaine Silk, Marcus Leek and Ben Perry give coach Bob Sinclair’s club multiple running threats.
Brewer Witches (1-2) vs. Mount Ararat Eagles (2-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Topsham: The Witches will attempt to bounce back from a rough outing at Mt. Blue of Farmington in their second straight road game.
After piling up more than 400 rushing yards in a 34-0 Week 2 victory over Oxford Hills of South Paris, Brewer managed just 16 total yards out of its double-wing attack in a 27-0 loss to Mt. Blue.
Mount Ararat is coming off a 33-12 win over Oxford Hills that was closer than that margin suggests for much of the contest, as the Eagles led just 7-6 at halftime and 14-12 midway through the third quarter before pulling away.
Stearns Minutemen (3-0) vs. Calais-Woodland Silverados (1-2), 2 p.m. Saturday at Calais: The Silverados are coming off the first victory in program history, a 48-6 win over Mount View of Thorndike fueled by fullback Blake Ford’s 256-yard, six-touchdown rushing effort.
Stearns is off to its best start in several years, and coach Chris Preble’s club has yet to allow a point during regulation play in victories over Dexter, Mattanawcook Academy and Old Town.