Week 8 of the high school football schedule features one of the state’s oldest rivalries, a clash for top seed in the LTC, and other battles for playoff positioning or survival as the regular season concludes.
Brewer Witches (0-7) vs. Bangor Rams (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Cameron Stadium, Bangor: These teams will square off for the 103rd time, with Bangor holding a 74-20-8 lead in the cross-river series.
Bangor hopes to use Friday’s homecoming contest to secure second place in the final Eastern Maine Class A Crabtree points as well as rebound from its first loss of the season, a 21-14 defeat at top-ranked Lawrence of Fairfield. The Rams were without its starting running back tandem of tailback Josiah Hartley and fullback Jon Fader due to injuries, but both are expected back in the lineup against the Witches, according to Bangor coach Mark Hackett.
Brewer has averaged 19 points per game in its last two outings after scoring just 34 points in its first five games.
The Witches are led offensively by Anthony Jackson (396 rushing yards, four TDs) and Caleb Woodward (276 yards, three TDs).
“They’re pretty quick,” said Hackett, “and as (Rams’ quarterback) Joe Seccareccia said the other day, they’ve hung around for a long time against a lot of good teams.
“We’re not looking by them. We just got our hats handed to us last week, so we need our offense to get going again.”
John Bapst Crusaders (6-1) vs. Stearns Minutemen (7-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Alumni Field, Millinocket: A Stearns win gives the Minutemen the LTC regular-season title. A John Bapst victory would leave the teams tied atop the standings, with the top seed to be settled by other results according to the Crabtree points — with the Old Town at Rockland, Bucksport at Orono and Mount View of Thorndike at Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield games all figuring into the equation.
Stearns boasts one of the state’s stingiest defenses with five shutouts while giving up just 14 points overall — and just eight yielded by its first-team defense.
John Bapst allows just 13.1 points an outing.
Offensively, Stearns features tailback Billy Eurich (925 yards, 12 touchdowns) and quarterback Jared McGreevey (540 yards rushing, 470 yards passing), with Charlie Tapley a blocking force either on the line or at fullback.
“They’re very similar to the strong Stearns teams of old,” said John Bapst coach Dan O’Connell. “They’re very physical, they’re very relentless offensively and defensively, and they’ve got great athletes at key positions.
John Bapst has the conference’s leading passer in Jordan Charpentier (65 of 133, 1,114 yards, 15 TDs) and a fleet of receivers led by Max Andrews, Lucas Philippon and Mark Dieuveuil. Jake Leonard is coming off a 190-yard rushing performance last week against Orono.
“John Bapst is a good team that can mix it up,” said Stearns coach Chris Preble. “They can throw the ball very well, they have three or four different receivers who put pressure on the defense, the quarterback has been doing a great job, and their backs do a good job when they want to run.
“And defensively they don’t give up a whole lot of yards on the ground.”
Nokomis Warriors (0-7) vs. Hampden Academy Broncos (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Weatherbee Complex, Hampden: The records suggest a mismatch, but Hampden must be careful to avoid a letdown after a 21-20 win at Waterville — its sixth straight victory. With a win Hampden could secure the second seed in the PTC Class B ranks if 6-1 Gardiner is unable to upset undefeated Leavitt of Turner Center.
Nokomis of Newport has struggled defensively, but has yet to be shut out and averages nearly 19 points per contest.
Camden Hills Windjammers (3-4) vs. Belfast Lions (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday, Bryant Field, Belfast: Belfast has ridden a three-game win streak into position to host a first-round PTC Class B playoff game with a win over Camden Hills.
Coach Chris Bartlett’s club is led offensively by Brad Reed, Dylan Webster and Lani Eversage. Webster rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-12 win at Morse of Bath last Saturday. Reed rushed for one score and passed to Eversage for another touchdown.
Camden Hills upended Mount Desert Island on Monday, as quarterback Collin Downs returned for limited action after being sidelined by a concussion. Jacob Powers is the conference’s top rusher with 1,285 yards after a 186-yard, four-touchdown performance against MDI, while the team also got a boost from fullback-turned-quarterback Adam Landwehr, who completed 10 of 13 passes in relief of Downs, who was pulled in the second quarter as a precautionary measure.
Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (2-5) vs. Foxcroft Academy Ponies (3-4), 7 p.m. Friday, Oakes Field, Dover-Foxcroft: Mattanawcook is in a must-win situation after losing to MCI last Friday, while Foxcroft may have saved its season by scoring with eight seconds left to edge Old Town 24-20.
Foxcroft is ranked seventh in the LTC Crabtree points, with Orono eighth and Mattanawcook ninth.
This should be a battle of ground games, with Mattanawcook led by Grady Markie (781 yards, four TDs) and Foxcroft featuring Dylan Andrews (559 yards, 6 TDs) and Cody Coiley (319 yards, 4 TDs).
Old Town Coyotes (4-3) vs. Rockland Tigers (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday, Wasgatt Field, Rockland: Old Town, which won just four games in its previous eight seasons, is trying to surpass that win total in Steve Calande’s first year as the coach.
Its opponent is playing its final regular-season game, as next year Rockland merges with Georges Valley of Thomaston as the Oceanside High School Mariners, but first coach Woody Moore’s club could earn a first-round LTC playoff home game depending on the outcome of the weekend’s games.
Old Town has seven different players with at least 200 rushing yards, a contingent led by Ryan Boyington (732 yards, 15 TDs).
Rockland has one of the more balanced attacks in the LTC led by Derek Miller (786 rushing yards, seven TDs), Sam Meklin (747 passing yards, eight TDs) and Dan Hendricks (17 catches, 306 yards, six TDs).