The three surviving undefeated football teams in Eastern Maine will enter postseason play as the No. 1 seed in their respective divisions.
Bangor, Leavitt of Turner Center and Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft, all 8-0, earned home-field advantage throughout the regional playoffs that begin Friday night.
Bangor, coming off a 41-13 victory at Brewer in its regular-season finale, will host No. 8 Mt. Blue of Farmington in a quarterfinal matchup at Cameron Stadium in Bangor next Friday night.
Mt. Blue (3-5) earned the final Pine Tree Conference Class A playoff berth on the final weekend, edging Skowhegan 8-0 on Friday night and getting some needed help when Brunswick eliminated Mount Ararat of Topsham 20-0 on Saturday.
Bangor defeated Mt. Blue 44-26 in Week 6 of the regular season on Oct. 2.
Mt. Blue led 20-14 at halftime, but Bangor tailback Lonnie Hackett scored four touchdowns after intermission and finished the night with 378 all-purpose yards.
Other Eastern A playoff matchups have No, 7 Skowhegan (3-5) at No. 2 Lawrence of Fairfield (7-1), No. 6 Cony of Augusta (4-4) at No. 3 Brunswick (7-1) and No. 5 Lewiston (6-2) at No. 4 Messalonskee of Oakland (5-3).
In Class B, Leavitt whipped No. 3 Gardiner 36-0 last Friday to cap off its first undefeated regular season since its 1998 state championship run. Coach Mike Hathaway’s club will host No. 8 Belfast (2-6) in its quarterfinal next weekend. The Lions secured the final playoff berth by defeating Camden Hills of Rockport 12-8 on Saturday.
Morse of Bath, the defending Eastern B champion, edged two other teams with 6-2 records, Gardiner and Hampden Academy, for the No. 2 seed. Morse will host No. 7 Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor (3-5) in a quarterfinal rematch of last year’s regional championship game.
That game also is a rematch of a Week 8 regular-season encounter won by Morse 38-0.
Gardiner and Hampden Academy finished tied for third place in the Crabtree points, but Gardiner won a tie-breaking coin flip for the third seed, said Hampden coach Harry McCluskey.
That means Gardiner will host No. 6 Winslow (3-5), while Hampden will host No. 5 Waterville. Hampden and Waterville met in Week 7 at the Weatherbee Complex in Hampden, with the host Broncos pulling away in the second half for 39-14 victory that ultimately earned them home-field advantage for the rematch.
In Class C, Foxcroft defeated John Bapst 46-15 on Friday night in a battle of unbeatens that determined the LTC’s top seed.
The Ponies, which went undefeated during the regular-season for the fifth time in the last eight years, will host No. 8 Calais-Woodland (3-5) in a quarterfinal next Friday at Oakes Field that marks the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
Calais-Woodland secured its second postseason berth in as many seasons Saturday with a 68-22 victory over Old Town.
John Bapst (7-1) will host No. 7 Dexter (4-4) as it begins the postseason defense of its 2008 state championship.
Dexter, which defeated Mount View of Thorndike 34-0 on Saturday, is back in postseason play for the first time in 14 years.
No. 3 Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (6-2) will host No. 6 Bucksport (4-4) in a rematch of a Week 7 battle won by MA 26-7.
The other LTC quarterfinal sends No. 5 Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (5-3) to Millinocket for the second straight weekend to face No. 4 Stearns (6-2). Stearns won the first meeting 28-13 last Friday, with Stearns outscoring MCI 22-6 after intermission to pull away.
Balance boosts Ponies
Much as was the case when Bangor defeated Lawrence of Fairfield 28-21 in that Class A battle of unbeatens during Week 7 of the regular-season, Foxcroft Academy’s 46-15 victory over John Bapst of Bangor in their Class C showdown Friday night went to the more balanced offensive team.
Bangor rushed for 191 yards and passed for 170 in ending Lawrence’s 36-game regular-season winning streak.
Foxcroft rushed for 171 yards and passed for 205 in ending an 18-game John Bapst winning streak that included the Crusaders’ run to the 2008 Class C state championship.
Senior quarterback Ryan Stroud completed 12 of 22 passes for the Ponies with three touchdown passes and one rushing score as Foxcroft scored 43 unanswered points after John Bapst took a 15-3 first-quarter lead.
“Ryan’s ability to move in the pocket, especially when nothing is open right off the snap of the ball, and his ability to move in the pocket and step up and elude defenders, is some of the best, if not the best I’ve ever seen at this level,” said Foxcroft coach Danny White.
Senior Robbie Harmon caught two of Stroud’s touchdown passes, while senior running back Ian Champeon caught the third among his five receptions for 80 yards on the night.
“They knew we passed the ball,” said Champeon. “I think they did a good job of containing me [rushing] early, but then we completed some passes and balanced the offense pretty good and kept getting first downs.”
Champeon also rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, with 11 carries for 101 yards — including touchdown runs of 5 and 11 yards — after intermission.
“Of course it’s satisfying,” said Stroud of the win, “but we know we’ve got to go out and go back to work. We’ve got to practice the same and get ourselves fired up the same. We can’t have any letdowns. We’ve got to keep our focus week by week and take them down until we get to Portland.”
Hartley to leave EL post
Darren Hartley, the head football coach at Edward Little of Auburn for the past four years, told his players after their season-ending 29-26 loss to Lewiston on Friday night that he wouldn’t be back to guide the Red Eddies next season.
Hartley cited work and family commitments for his decision. He currently teaches in the Jobs for Maine Graduates program at Lewiston High School.
Hartley has been either a head coach of assistant coach since 1988, and his recent head coaching tenure at EL was highlighted by last year’s run to the No. 1 seed in Eastern Maine Class A and a berth in the regional championship game, where the Red Eddies fell to Skowhegan.
With its loss to Lewiston, Edward Little ended the 2009 season with a 1-7 record.