The Pine Tree Conference Class B football ranks will swell from 10 to 14 teams next fall, and with that will come a new two-division format.
The PTC Class B will add five teams, with Brewer and Mt. Blue of Farmington dropping from Class A due to lowered enrollment, while Oceanside High School — the merger of Class C Rockland and Georges Valley of Thomaston — will move up by enrollment, as will Madison-Carrabec, which also is shifting from Western Maine Class C to the East.
In addition, Old Town is returning to Class B after voluntarily playing a Class C schedule for the last three seasons in a successful effort to save its program.
Winslow High School, a staple in the Class B ranks for years, is leaving the PTC B to join the Eastern Maine Class C LTC, again a move predicated by enrollment changes.
Under the proposed format for the 2011 season, the new PTC Class B North will involve Belfast, Brewer, Camden Hills of Rockport, Hampden Academy, Mount Desert Island, Nokomis of Newport and Old Town.
In the south will be Gardiner, Leavitt of Turner Center, Madison-Carrabec, Morse of Bath, Mt. Blue, Oceanside and Waterville.
“We tried to do the right thing in terms of travel, and we tried to do the right thing in terms of competitive balance,” said Morse athletic administrator Scott Walker, chair of the PTC Class B football committee.
Each team will play its six divisional rivals as well as two opponents from the other division to make up an eight-game regular-season schedule leading to an eight-team playoff format.
“There were two issues, one was travel and the second was from a competitive standpoint,” said Walker of scheduling the inter-divisional games for each school. “Basically we ranked the teams from one to 14 based on the coaches’ input as well as the two ADs involved. Then we took into account at least one of the two factors and in many cases were able to take into account both factors when we finished up the schedule.”
Walker said approval of the proposed divisional alignment and schedule is expected at the PTC’s April 6 meeting.
Powers fourth at New Englands
Jacob Powers, a senior at Camden Hills of Rockport, was one of three Maine high school wrestlers to earn a medal at last weekend’s 47th annual New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships held at New Haven, Conn.
Powers, the Class B state champion in the 160-pound weight class, placed fourth in that division at the New Englands by compiling a 3-2 record during the double-elimination tournament. Powers, who was unbeaten for the season leading into the New Englands, drew a first-round bye and then won his next two matches to reach the semifinals before dropping a 3-2 decision to Connecticut standout Dillon Carter.
Powers went on to win his consolation semifinal before bowing out with a loss in the third-place match.
Joining Powers as a medalist — top-six finisher — from Maine were Michael Cyr of Scarborough, third at 215 pounds, and Connor Sheehan of Fryeburg Academy, fourth at 103.
Among other Eastern Maine competitors who won matches at the New Englands, Brent Waterman of Belfast went 2-2 at 125 pounds, Scott Carpenter of Calais went 2-2 at 130, Skowhegan’s Kaleb Austin finished 3-2 at 140, Wesley Stinson of Foxcroft Academy went 1-2 at 152, Brendan Corson of Skowhegan went 1-2 at 160, Kornealius Wood of Belfast was 1-2 at 171, Zac Ragot of Washington Academy of East Machias went 2-2 at 215, and C.J. Stratton of Penobscot Valley of Howland went 1-2 at 285 — with one of his losses coming to Zach Smerlas of Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.) High, the son of former NFL defensive lineman Fred Smerlas.
Timberlane High School of Plaistow, N.H., won the team title with 133 points, with Mount Anthony Union of Bennington, Vt., second with 76.
Scarborough (26), Fryeburg Academy (15) and Camden Hills (14) were the top Maine teams.
Remarkable run for ‘Jammers
Leave it to the competitive nature of Camden Hills of Rockport boys basketball star Tyler McFarland to consider what might have been rather than what’s already been accomplished during a four-year varsity career in which he and teammate Keegan Pieri won two Class B state championships and three Eastern Maine crowns while compiling an 83-5 record in regular-season and Maine Principals’ Association tournament play.
“It’s pretty good when you can count your losses over four years on one hand,” said McFarland after the Windjammers defeated Cape Elizabeth 68-59 last Friday in the 2011 state final at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.
“But you look back at every single one of those losses and you think of ways you could have won those games, so it’s great to be 83-5 but you’ve got to strive for perfection. I wish I was 88-0.”
Among that handful of losses was a 72-65 overtime defeat to Falmouth in the 2010 state title game, the only thing separating Camden Hills from becoming the first Class B boys team to win three consecutive state championships since reclassification in 1961.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Pieri. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more except for winning the championship last year. But you can’t win ‘em all, so I’ll take it.”
Pieri and McFarland are among six Windjammers who will graduate from this year’s team, along with Joel Gabriele, Adam Landwehr, Nathan Catell and Max Niles.
“It’s been such a privilege to be part of this,” said Gabriele, a three-year varsity player who went 63-3 with the Windjammers, including 22-0 campaigns in both 2009 and 2011.