Week 4 of the high school football schedule not only concludes the first half of the season but includes some compelling showdowns on Friday night.
In Class A, undefeated Bangor hosts Messalonskee of Oakland while Lawrence of Fairfield treks to Farmington to play Mt. Blue in a battle of unbeatens.
And in Class C, the lone remaining undefeated teams in the 12-school LTC meet in Millinocket where Stearns hosts Calais-Woodland.
Calais-Woodland Silverados (3-0) vs. Stearns Minutemen (3-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Alumni Field, Millinocket: The Stearns defense has yet to allow a point this season — only its second kickoff unit has been scored upon.
Calais-Woodland’s double-wing offense, meanwhile, has 489 more rushing yards in three games than any other team in the LTC — Calais-Woodland has 1,291 yards, Stearns is next at 802.
Stearns features versatile quarterback Jared McGreevey (349 rushing yards, 192 passing yards), running back Billy Eurich (345 rushing yards, five touchdowns) and receiver Brandon McLaughlin (five catches, 103 yards, three touchdowns) behind a line led by senior Charlie Tapley. Tapley and Eurich also anchor the Minutemen’s defense.
“I can see why people have looked at Stearns as the class of the LTC this year,” said Calais-Woodland coach Ian Pratt, a Stearns alumnus and former Minuteman football player.
Calais-Woodland, off to the best start in its three-year varsity history, boasts the top two rushers in the conference in Spencer McCormick (642 yards, LTC-best 11 touchdowns) and Ryan Cavanaugh (443 yards, five TDs).
“Ball control is the key, and Calais is very good at it,” said Stearns coach Chris Preble. “They have a couple of outstanding backs and we’ve got to be patient against them.”
Messalonskee Eagles (2-1) vs. Bangor Rams (3-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: Bangor goes from defending against the spread offense employed by Cony of Augusta last Saturday to the tightly knit double wing used by Messalonskee of Oakland.
“It’s amazing that six inches on a football field can make such a huge difference, but with the double wing it does,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “It’s like playing in a telephone booth.”
Bangor displayed offensive balance in its 28-7 win at Cony, passing for 221 yards and rushing for 208. Senior quarterback Joe Seccareccia has completed 22 of 43 passes for 359 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions this season, with Nick Sherwood (10 catches, 207 yards, three touchdowns) and Josiah Hartley (8-95) his top targets. Hartley also ranks fourth among Pine Tree Conference rushers with 340 yards and five TDs.
Messalonskee will rely primarily on the run and the Pine Tree Conference’s top ground-gainer in Keenan Knox (76 carries, 542 yards, six TDs).
“They always play really hard against us, they’re a tough team,” Hackett said. “This will be a test for our defense.”
Maine Central Institute Huskies (2-1) vs. Foxcroft Academy Ponies (1-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Oakes Field, Dover-Foxcroft: MCI is coming off a 13-7 victory over John Bapst of Bangor that advanced the Huskies as a contender for a deep playoff run, while defending EM champion Foxcroft dropped a 13-12 decision, the Ponies’ second straight defeat, at Bucksport.
MCI leads the conference with 11 forced turnovers, while coach Tom Bertrand’s club also ranks second in passing yardage at 123.7 yards per game behind Craig Reazor, the team’s quarterback and its leading rusher.
Foxcroft counters with the stingiest pass defense in the LTC, but the Ponies have yielded an average of 5.2 yards per rush. Foxcroft’s offense has several productive running backs led by Dylan Andrews (262 yards, 6.9 yards per carry).
Rockland Tigers (2-1) vs. Bucksport Golden Bucks (1-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Carmichael Field, Bucksport: Here’s another LTC crossroads clash, as Rockland attempts to force its way into the league’s upper echelon while Bucksport seeks to build on its first win of the season.
Rockland has the LTC’s most productive passing attack, with sophomore quarterback Sam Meklin (21-42, 343 yards) working with the league’s top receiver in classmate Dan Hendricks (10 catches, 207 yards, 4 touchdowns).
Bucksport has fielded one of the league’s better defenses through three games, allowing just 204.7 yards per contest including just 50 yards per game through the air.
Hamdpen Academy Broncos (2-1) vs. Belfast Lions (1-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Bryant Field, Belfast: Hampden survived a scare from Winslow last week before outlasting the Black Raiders 35-28. The Broncos will welcome starting quarterback Jon Haws (family funeral) back to the lineup this weekend as coach Harry McCluskey’s club seeks its third straight win.
Belfast, coming off a Week 3 loss to unbeaten Leavitt of Turner Center, also owns a narrow victory over Winslow, and coach Chris Bartlett’s club would greatly enhance its own playoff chances by defending its home field against Hampden.
Waterville Purple Panthers (2-1) vs. Camden Hills Windjammers (2-1), 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Palmer Field, Rockport: Camden Hills scored its second victory of the season — and second varsity win in the program’s two-year history — against Morse of Bath last weekend, and the reward is a chance to square off against a perennially solid Waterville team.
Offense has been the Windjammers’ forte, particularly the combination of senior quarterback Collin Downs and senior tailback Jacob Powers.
Waterville, coming off a 32-20 loss to Gardiner, is led by quarterback Kyle Bishop, tailback Aaron Saucier, fullback J.T. Whitten and receiver Tim Locke. Saucier has been nagged by an ankle injury, but returned to rush for 87 yards against Gardiner.