Week 3 of the high school football season features a rematch of last year’s LTC championship game, with defending conference titlist Bucksport visiting Orono in a battle of teams off to fast starts again this season.
Bucksport Golden Bucks (20-0) at Orono Red Riots (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday: Both clubs have yet to be tested, Bucksport having outscored Washington Academy of East Machias and Ellsworth-Sumner by a combined 91-23 while Orono has a 98-8 advantage in wins over Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
The Golden Bucks feature juniors Nic Bishop and Josh Gray, Bishop as a top linebacker on defense as well as the primary power running back while Gray — the LTC’s Week 1 player of the week — provides a speed element as a running back and wide receiver and also is a talented kicker.
Sophomore Matthew Stewart has taken over the quarterbacking duties and completed 14 of 17 passes for 176 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
“He’s done a pretty good job,” said Bucksport coach Joel Sankey. “He’s very poised and he’s very smart.”
Orono counters with a potent rushing attack led by Christian and Cameron Mowrer and Norton Revell. Both Revell and Christian Mowrer have rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the Red Riots’ first two games while combining for 10 touchdowns.
“We’re not where we were last November, and we’re not where we want to be this year,” said Orono coach Bob Sinclair, “but we’re getting there.”
Bucksport defeated Orono twice last season, 35-14 during the regular season and 25-14 in the LTC final.
“They’re the defending Eastern Maine champ until somebody beats them and makes the statement that they’re ahead,” said Sinclair. “But nobody’s done that yet.”
Edward Little Red Eddies (0-2) at Bangor Rams (0-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Cameron Stadium: Each of these teams badly needs a victory to jump-start its playoff hopes.
Bangor may be shorthanded, with starting quarterback-cornerback Carl Farnham and fullback-linebacker Cody Chapman nursing injuries suffered during the Rams’ 42-12 loss at Lawrence of Fairfield last weekend that leave them questionable for the contest.
Both Bangor and Edward Little have struggled defensively, with EL yielding 80 points in losses to Cony of Augusta (41-13) and Lawrence (39-16) while Bangor has allowed 78 points against Lawrence and Brunswick.
“We’ve played two of the best teams we’re going to play physically,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “We’re getting better, but now we’ve got to win.”
While Bangor has been susceptible to opposing rushing attacks, giving up more than 775 yards on the ground in two games, Edward Little relies heavily on its passing attack. Quarterback Sean Ford has completed 23 of 51 passes for 257 yards, with Quin Leary his favorite target.
Mattanawcook Academy Lynx (0-2) at Stearns Minutemen (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, at Millinocket: Stearns has scored 92 points in wins over Mount View of Thorndike and MCI, while Mattanawcook has yet to score in losses to Orono and John Bapst of Bangor.
But strength of schedule has at least something to do with these teams’ starts, as MCI and Mount View are 0-2 while Orono and John Bapst are 2-0.
Stearns has amassed 788 rushing yards in two games, including 275 each by Jordan Morrow and Riley Whitney. Whitney was the LTC player of the week for Week 2 after rushing for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries during a 40-20 victory at MCI, including a go-ahead 75-yard scoring run during the third quarter after MCI had taken a 20-12 halftime lead.
Mattanawcook will seek to get its offense untracked behind junior quarterback Trysten Pelkey, senior tight end Ryan O’Hara and sophomore tailback Holden Kimball, the Lynx’s leading rusher.
Gardiner Tigers (2-0) at Waterville Purple Panthers (2-0), 1 p.m. Saturday, Drummond Field: Two teams lurking in the shadows of 2011 Pine Tree Conference Class B finalists Leavitt of Turner Center and Mt. Blue of Farmington square off in a game that may have playoff home-field advantage implications.
This matchup features two playmaking quarterbacks in Gardiner senior Dennis Meehan and Waterville junior Aiden FitzGerald. Meehan passed for a touchdown, rushed for a touchdown, returned an interception for a touchdown and kicked a 40-yard field goal and four extra points to lead the Tigers to a 31-8 win over Morse of Bath last weekend.
FitzGerald completed 7 of 11 passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers’ 63-10 victory over Oceanside of Rockland to complement a 110-yard, three-touchdown rushing performance by Racean Wood.