All of the hand-wringing about a possible three-way tie atop the Pine Tree Conference Class A football standings was put to rest last Friday night in Fairfield, where the Lawrence Bulldogs edged Brunswick 10-7 to remain undefeated and clinch the division’s regular-season top seed.
But four teams still remain alive for the other three available tickets to the Eastern Maine Class A playoffs that begin Nov. 4.
Bangor, Brunswick and Messalonskee of Oakland are all two games behind Lawrence at 6-2 with one game to play, while Skowhegan is fifth at 5-3.
Brunswick plays winless Mount Ararat of Topsham this weekend, while Messalonskee hosts Lawrence and Bangor hosts Skowhegan at Cameron Stadium.
If Bangor defeats Skowhegan, the Rams will join Lawrence, Brunswick and Messalonskee in the tournament field, though where they would finish would depend on how Brunswick and Messalonskee fare. If Brunswick wins and Messalonskee loses, Bangor and Brunswick would be tied at 7-2 and Bangor would finish second based on its Week 1 win at Brunswick.
If Bangor, Brunswick and Messalonskee all win, a three-way tie for second place would ensue with Bangor having beaten Brunswick, Brunswick having beaten Messalonskee and Messalonskee having beaten Bangor. Messalonskee would gain the No. 2 seed based on the second tiebreaker, Heal points. Bangor and Brunswick would be tied in Heal points under this scenario, but Bangor would earn the third seed based on its head-to-head win at Brunswick.
Should Bangor and Messalonskee both lose while Brunswick wins, Brunswick would finish second and there would be a three-way tie for third among Bangor, Messalonskee and Skowhegan, all at 6-3. In this scenario Bangor would be the odd team out, having lost to both Skowhegan and Messalonskee, while Skowhegan also has defeated Messalonskee and thus
would claim third place over the Eagles.
Should Brunswick, Messalonskee and Skowhegan win, Brunswick would finish second ahead of Messalonskee by virtue of its regular-season win over the Eagles, while Skowhegan would finish fourth and Bangor again would miss the playoffs.
There are additional scenarios involving a Brunswick loss to Mount Ararat that could create as much as a four-way tie for second behind Lawrence, but the likelihood of that looms as remote.
The bottom line for Bangor is that if it defeats Skowhegan, it will qualify for the playoffs with a chance to win a third straight Eastern A championship. If Bangor loses to the Indians, it likely will mark the end of that championship run.
TWO TIEBREAKERS REQUIRED
There were two ties in the final Eastern Maine football Crabtree points that affected playoff positioning, but both were settled before a coin flip was needed.
In the Pine Tree Conference Class B, Hampden Academy (5-3) and Waterville (4-4) tied for fifth place in the Crabtrees, and while the teams did not meet during the regular season Hampden earned the No. 5 seed because of a better divisional record within the conference. The Broncos went 5-1 in northern division play, while Waterville went 3-3 against southern division rivals.
That means No. 5 Hampden will play No. 4 Brewer (6-2) for the second straight weekend this Friday night, only this time the game will be played at Doyle Field in Brewer. Hampden outscored the Witches 35-28 at the Weatherbee Complex in Hampden last Friday.
No. 6 Waterville will travel to No. 3 Gardiner (6-2) on Friday. Gardiner defeated Waterville 23-6 at Hoch Field in Gardiner on Sept. 16.
In the LTC Class C, Stearns of Millinocket and Maine Central Institute, both 4-4, tied for sixth place in the final Crabtree points, but Stearns earned the No. 6 seed by virtue of its 16-14 victory over the Huskies in their Week 2 matchup at Alumni Field in Millinocket on Sept. 9.
Stearns will play at No. 3 John Bapst (6-2) of Bangor in its regional quarterfinal Saturday in a battle of teams that did not meet during the regular season.
No. 7 MCI will play at No. 2 Orono (7-1) on Friday night. Orono opened the season with a 57-32 victory over the Huskies at Pittsfield.