While the Week 7 high school football schedule in Eastern Maine is dominated by Friday night’s Class A clash of unbeatens between Bangor at Lawrence of Fairfield (7 p.m., Cameron Stadium in Bangor), there are several other matchups with varying degrees of postseason status at stake.
Lawrence Bulldogs (6-0) at Bangor Rams (6-0), 7 p.m., Cameron Stadium: One of the most highly anticipated matchups of the 2009 regular season features teams that have met in two of the last three Eastern Maine Class A championship games.
Lawrence of Fairfield won both of those matchups in 2006 and 2007, and has won six straight meetings overall against the Rams, including a come-from-behind 27-24 decision in Fairfield last fall.
This year, the rivals feature the two top offenses and two top defenses in the Pine Tree Conference Class A ranks.
Bangor will get a boost along its front line with the return of senior captain Tom Augustine, sidelined the last month with a knee injury. Center Joey Quinn (broken finger) also may return to battle an aggressive Lawrence defense.
“We’ll play hard, and they will, too,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “They’re the best team we’ve played and we’re both undefeated, and it’s our homecoming, so there are a lot of things going into this game.”
The winner is likely to enter postseason play as the No. 1 seed in Eastern A, meaning any possible playoff rematch would be held on the victor’s home field.
Another subplot is a matchup of two of the state’s leading ground gainers in Bangor’s Lonnie Hackett and Lawrence’s Christian Powers.
Hackett has rushed for 1,261 yards and 14 touchdowns on 134 carries, an average of 9.4 yards per attempt. Powers averages 12.2 yards per carry with 916 yards and 18 touchdowns on 75 attempts.
Yet while both backs are approximately the same size — 5-foot-9, 175 pounds — Mark Hackett sees two distinct styles at work.
“They’re totally different, but that’s one of the great things that makes football unique,” said Hackett. “Powers is a more physical runner, but I think Lonnie’s a little quicker.
“And one thing I can say is that the teams are going to go where those two kids take them.”
Waterville Purple Panthers (4-2) at Hampden Academy Broncos (4-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Weatherbee Complex: At stake in this contest may be home field advantage for the first round of the Pine Tree Conference Class B playoffs.
Hampden and Waterville are among five teams contending for the top four spots in the conference. Undefeated Leavitt of Turner Center looks assured of a top spot, while once-beaten Gardiner and twice-defeated Hampden, Waterville and Morse of Bath also are in position to host a regional quarterfinal in two weeks.
But the Hampden-Waterville loser likely will finish its season with three losses, and a first-round playoff match on the road against one of the other contenders — not an enviable place to be.
Hampden features the PTC’s leading quarterback in junior Jon Haws (48 of 77, 636 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT), with Nolan Turner (16-337) and tight end Cody Miller (11-130) his favorite targets.
Nick Stevens (21 carries, 409 yards, 5 TDs), Ryan Blake (37-352-352, 5 TDs), and fullback Michael Jenkins (31-238, 7 TDs) key a balanced Broncos’ rushing attack.
Waterville is sparked by one of the league’s top 1-2 rushing punches in Kris Huggins (54-526, 8 TDs) and Week 6 PTC player of the week Josh Gaudette (45-404, 4 TDs).
Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (4-2) at Bucksport Golden Bucks (3-3), 7 p.m. Friday, Carmichael Field: Bucksport seemingly has found its groove over the last three weeks in victories over Rockland, Mount View of Thorndike and Calais-Woodland.
Mattanawcook, meanwhile, has lost only to undefeated John Bapst of Bangor and Foxcroft Academy.
The winner likely will earn a top-four seed in the LTC and the first-round home game that comes with that standing.
Foxcroft Academy Ponies (6-0) at Rockland Tigers (2-4), 7 p.m. Friday, Wasgatt Field: Foxcroft must not get caught looking ahead to next week’s showdown with defending state champion John Bapst, the LTC’s other remaining undefeated team.
The Ponies, whose first-string defense has not allowed a touchdown since its first series of the season, must be ready for a rejuvenated Rockland team that enhanced its playoff hopes last week with a convincing 31-3 victory over Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield.
Orono Red Riots (1-5) vs. John Bapst Crusaders (6-0), 2 p.m. Saturday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: The Crusaders must not get caught looking ahead to its Week 8 clash at Foxcroft that should determine the LTC’s top seed and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.
Coach Dan O’Connell’s club currently sports a 17-game winning streak since dropping its 2008 season-opener in overtime to Bucksport.
Dexter Tigers (2-4) at Calais-Woodland Silverados (2-4), 1 p.m. Saturday at Calais: Playoff implications abound in this contest, with these teams battling two other two-win teams in Mount View of Thorndike and Rockland for the final two spots in the eight-team LTC playoff field.
Stearns Minutemen (4-2) at Mount View Mustangs (2-4), 1 p.m. Saturday, Bryant Field, Belfast: Stearns still has hopes for a top-four finish in the LTC by winning out against Mount View and MCI in Week 8.
Mount View has lost its last four games but was competitive in last weekend’s loss at John Bapst. The Mustangs, who end their regular-season at Dexter next Saturday, are in hopes of earning their first trip to the playoffs in their third year of varsity play.