BANGOR, Maine — After respectively dispatching defending LTC Class C finalists Orono and Bucksport last weekend, the Foxcroft Academy Ponies and John Bapst High School Crusaders will now set sights on each other on Saturday night.
The 2011 semifinalists are both undefeated and have switched the venue from Cameron Stadium to Husson University’s Winkin Complex in Bangor. Game time is 7.
One other battle of undefeated teams will take place in Eastern Maine as Mt. Blue High School of Farmington will travel to Turner to take on the defending three-time Eastern Maine Class B champion Leavitt High School Hornets.
Foxcroft Academy (5-0) at John Bapst (5-0) 7 p.m., Saturday, Husson: The Ponies have rattled off four straight shutouts and have outscored their opponents 281-8. They are coming off a 42-0 win over Orono. John Bapst has allowed only 19 points while scoring 169 points. They topped Bucksport 19-7 last weekend. Despite the impressive defensive statistics, both coaches feel their defensive units will be severely challenged this weekend.
“John Bapst uses the whole field and has multiple athletes. They’ll spread us out. We’re going to have to be athletic on defense,” said Foxcroft coach Danny White. “We’re going to have to make open-field tackles. We’re going to have to make plays in space. It’s going to be a challenge.”
According to White, the catalysts behind Foxcroft’s defense have been their four linebackers: Wes Stinson, Alex Stevens, Corey Bjornson-Weismore and Peter Boyer.
“They’ve been outstanding,” he said.
“I agree with that,” said John Bapst coach Danny O’Connell. “They’re quick, strong and they run to the ball well. They’re aggressive.”
The John Bapst defense has been led by linebacker Nick Jordan, end Kurt Massey and cornerbacks Josh Baker and Andrew Catlin. First-year players Patch Leonard and Charlie Kindya, who are tackles, and end Riley Tapley have also been important.
“We’re going to have to eliminate our penalties, take care of the ball and finish drives,” said O’Connell. “Offensively, they do a great job stretching the field. We’re similar in that regard.”
The offensive standouts for the Ponies have been running backs Donnie Boyer (434 rushing yards, 6.4 yards per carry) and Stevens (250 yards, 9.3 ypc) along with quarterback Hunter Law (246 yards, 11.2 ypc; 23/41 passing, 404 yards, 7 TDs, 0 interceptions) and wide receiver Ryan Rebar (18 catches, 313 yards, 7 TDs).
John Bapst will count with quarterback Austin Spencer (270 yards, 5.7 ypc, 40/80 passing, 642 yards, 6 TDs), running back Brad DeCesere (193 yards, 4.5 ypc, 7 TDs) and receivers Jacob Moore (15 catches, 243 yards), Catlin (11-221 ) and Baker (7-127).
Oxford Hills (2-3) at Bangor (2-3), 7 p.m., Friday, Cameron Stadium: This is like a playoff game for both teams; the loser will have its playoff aspirations dashed while the winner will still have an outside shot if it wins out and gets some help.
“Oxford Hills is much improved over recent years,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “They’re a good football team. They’ve got some big kids. They force you to complete your assignments on defense or they’ll run off a big play on you. This will be a good test for us.”
Oxford Hills’ flexbone offense rattled off 305 yards in its 24-6 win over Lewiston last week behind Dexter Turner’s 81 rushing yards, quarterback Ryan Godin’s 75 and Nick Bowie’s 66 yards. Bangor is getting its injured players back, and running back Cody Chapman returned to the lineup and rattled off 172 yards and four touchdowns on just seven carries in last weekend’s 42-0 win over Mount Ararat of Topsham. Quarterback Carl Farnham and running back Zeb Tuell had also been slowed by injuries but are rounding into shape.
Hackett said he has received quality performances from two-way tackle Greg Duff, two-way end Nick Ashey and wide receiver-free safety Matt Cosgrove.
Stearns (3-2) at Hermon (3-2), 7 p.m., Friday: The second-year Hawks are looking to continue their playoff push against a Stearns team looking to rebound from a 17-0 loss to Dexter.
“We’re finally putting it together,” said Hermon coach Ken Frederick,who expects a stiff test from Stearns.
“They’re good, hard-nosed players. They come at you, and they like to hit,” said Frederick.
Hermon features sophomore standouts David Shepardson, who has rushed for 910 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 8.4 yards per carry.
“He’s a very strong kid and he runs a 4.6 40 [yard dash],” said Frederick.
Cody Reynolds (275 yards, 5.1 ypc) and Kevin Gooley (265, 8.3 ypc) have also been solid, but Frederick feels he may have to diversify his offense, which means quarterback Josh Wilson may have to go to the air.
Linebacker Garrett McIntyre leads the league in tackles, according to Frederick.
Stearns features running backs Jordan Morrow (412, 5.7 ypc) and Riley Whitney (352, 7.2 ypc).
Belfast (2-3) at Brewer (3-2), 7 p.m., Friday, Doyle Field: The Witches have won three of their last four but will have their hands full with a Belfast team coming off a 30-22 win over Mount Desert Island in which it rallied from a 22-0 deficit. Brewer lost to MDI 20-7 the previous weekend.
“We’re still not clicking on all cylinders, but we’re getting better every week,” said Brewer coach Don Farnham, whose Witches rallied from a 15-14 halftime deficit to beat Nokomis of Newport 50-21 last weekend. “We have talent, but we have to play with emotion.”
Brody Valley and Dillon Smith have combined to rush for more than 600 yards for the Witches, and linebacker Valley has been in on 80 tackles. Linebacker-nose guard Jesse Boucher and end Evan Lacey have also shone on defense.
Belfast received 124 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Carl Dodge in its win over MDI, and Zach Collier completed 6 of 14 passes for 68 yards.
Mt. Blue (5-0) at Leavitt (5-0), Friday , 7 p.m.
This has all the makings of a shootout. Mt. Blue has the league’s top quarterback in Jordan Whitney (56-for-79, 839 yards, 13 TDs) and his favorite target is Cam Abbott (24 catches, 359 yards). But Leavitt has two of the league’s premier running backs in Josh Faunce (71 carries, 548 yards) and Brian Bedard (46 carries, 353 yards) ,and QB Tyler Chicoine has completed 27 of 37 passes for 385 yards and 8 TDs.).