Rams, Witches face tests in Skowhegan, Lawrence

Posted Oct. 02, 2008, at 8:03 p.m.

The Skowhegan High football team spoiled Cony of Augusta’s homecoming in emphatic fashion last Friday night, overpowering the Rams 36-7.

This Friday night, a different school of Rams — from Bangor — would like nothing better than to put a damper on Skowhegan’s homecoming as the 2008 high school football season reaches Week 5.

Bangor Rams (2-2) vs. Skowhegan Indians (4-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Reggie Clark Memorial Field, Skowhegan: Bangor regained its footing last weekend with a 21-13 victory over previously unbeaten Edward Little of Auburn.

Lonnie Hackett paced the Rams with 263 rushing yards and three TDs, while backfield mate Adam Billings added 76 yards and some solid lead blocking. Bangor’s defense also came up big, particularly after intermission when they held a potent EL offense scoreless — thanks in part to a goal-line stand in the third quarter.

“I think we’re getting better all the time,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “The kids have a better understanding of the defense now, and they’re learning how to adjust.”

Lonnie Hackett now has 533 yards — third-best in the PTC Class A — and seven TDs this season, while Billings has 345 yards and four TDs behind quarterback Joe Seccareccia (27 of 59 passing, 318 yards).

Skowhegan brings few surprises to the matchup. The unbeaten Indians have featured a smash-mouth approach under coach Mike Marston, with both the Power-I and double-wing formations in their arsenal.

“I think they’re the most physical team in the league,” said coach Hackett. “They hang their hat on physicality and getting off the line of scrimmage.”

Senior Billy Clark ranks as the leading rusher in the conference with 692 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior fullback Cody Vigue (250 yards, 4 TDs) is another offensive threat.

“We’ll be a better team after this game whether we win or lose,” said coach Hackett, “because they make you become a better team.”

Lawrence Bulldogs (4-0) vs. Brewer Witches (2-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Doyle Field, Brewer: The Witches are coming off a satisfying road victory at Mount Ararat of Topsham, but now faces their toughest challenge to date in the two-time defending Eastern A champions from Fairfield.

Coach Don Farnham’s club has had success generating a rushing offense from its double-wing formation, and ball control will be pivotal if Brewer hopes to upset Lawrence.

The Bulldogs, coming off a 37-0 victory over Brunswick, has shut out three of its four opponents so far this season, and coach John Hersom’s club has been anchored by a veteran line that’s enabled Lawrence to average 30 points per game.

Leavitt Hornets (4-0) at Hampden Academy Broncos (2-2), 7 p.m., Friday at Hampden: Hampden seeks to end a two-game losing streak but faces an elite opponent for the third straight week, as Gardiner, Mount Desert Island and Leavitt currently sport a combined 10-1 record.

The Broncos, who have allowed more than one TD in a game just once this season — in last week’s 13-12 loss at MDI — needs to generate more offense if it is to compete with Leavitt’s spread formation that generates 33 points per game.

Stearns Minutemen (3-1) vs. Orono Red Riots (2-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Orono: Homecoming at Orono means a doubly difficult challenge for Stearns, which had a short practice week after a physical 12-0 loss to Calais-Woodland on Monday night.

Orono has lost two straight since its 2-0 start, though the Red Riots were within 19-14 of Foxcroft in the third quarter before the Ponies broke the game open en route to a 47-20 victory.

Mount Desert Island Trojans (3-1) vs. Oak Hill Raiders (1-3), 2 p.m. Saturday at Sabattus: MDI boasts a three-game winning streak but faces a tough test with a long road trip to face a veteran Oak Hill team that has yet to pull off the upset that might kick-start its season.

Monday’s 28-16 loss to Winslow was a perfect example, as the Raiders held a 16-7 third-quarter lead before yielding 21 unanswered points.

Calais-Woodland Silverados (2-2) vs. Rockland Tigers (1-3), 7 p.m. Saturday, Wasgatt Field, Rockland: This matches the power of Calais-Woodland’s double-wing offense against the quickness of Rockland’s spread formation.

Calais-Woodland is riding a two-game winning streak in during which it has allowed just one touchdown.

Rockland is coming off losses to Bucksport and John Bapst of Bangor, and needs another win soon to regain some momentum or else fall into a situation in which every remaining game is a must-win situation.

Maine Central Institute Huskies (3-1) vs. John Bapst Crusaders (3-1), 7 p.m. Saturday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: MCI has thrived somewhat under the radar, with wins over Calais, Dexter and Mount View of Thorndike around a loss to Bucksport. Coach Tom Bertrand’s Huskies, who ran for 300 yards against Mount View on Monday, could use similar production to keep the ball away from an explosive John Bapst squad.

The lone blemish on John Bapst’s record also came against Bucksport in a 40-39 overtime thriller on opening weekend. Coach Dan O’Connell’s Crusaders continue to blend the pass and run effectively, with quarterback Derek Smith, running back Bill Wetherbee and fullback Chase Huckestein among the chief play-makers.

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